Over the years Diversitat has provided a range of options to assist Geelong residents with a refugee background be reunited with their family. This year we have had remarkable success with family reunification through our Fee for Service program run by Grazia Shrimpton, and our Community Support Program Coordinated by Taniya Wader. All migration services are managed by Casey O’Brien.
17 Karen/Karenni families have been granted Special Humanitarian Program (SHP) Visas this financial year, with 13 of them already reunified with their families in Geelong. These families have previously lived for over 20 years in Thai refugee camps. We have also had the arrival of two Afghan families through The SHP. Finally, Afghan men who have had their partner visa applications suspended for over six years are finally have applications reinstated and we have seen the arrival of two families to date.
SHP family: Brothers Abdul Khaliq and Abdul Walid Bahaduri, together with their wives and children were reunified with their sister Latifa and her five childrenin April last year, after several years of separation. Latifa arrived in Geelong five years ago as a woman at risk.
“Hi Taniya, I hope you are feeling well. I just wanted to thank you and let you know that my brothers arrived, and today we have our breakfast together, it is only thanks to your effort”. Latifa
“Greetings, we arrived last night. Thank you so much, your efforts made it possible for us to live and breathe in this beautiful country”. Abdul
The Community Support Program (CSP) currently has over 100 active cases, seven of which have been granted their visas, with four families already reunited with their relatives in Australia. The majority of these families are Afghans and Christian Iraqis.
CSP Family: Jafar Jafarzaden with wife Elahe Hosseinian and their two daughters, Maeede and Mahia. We reunited with Elahe’s parents, two sisters and a brother who have resided in Australia since 2010.
“Thanks a lot Taniya. Every night when I get back home and that little girl jump and hug me it takes all the tiredness away, I still can’t believe that they are here in my house which I’m telling them every night when we sit for dinner. Thanks heaps from all your time and help it means the world to us. We are so glad to be living in such a great country that give us lots of opportunities We will work hard to pay back all these kindness”. Majid
“Thank you Taniya for following that up, we all appreciate that. You are helping many people out there who just need a chance. That’s the reason why you are the most successful APO” Surror
We are also now starting to see the results of a program sponsored by the Shine on Foundation two years ago. Their generous funding allowed us to give free information sessions and prepare Special Humanitarian Visa’s for the Syrian and Iraqi clients who arrived in 2017.
Syrian refugee Shoghig was reunited with her mother (Lucin) and brother (Hagop) in March this year; and with her sister (Ani), brother in law (Hagop), and nephew (Viken) in May 2019. Shoghig’s husband George, will also be reunited with his sister in a months’ time. There are several more Geelong families that are awaiting the arrival of their relatives through this program,
“This reunification comes at a really special time in our lives after the birth of mine and my sister’s babies. Before we arrived in Australia there was no thought of bringing new life into the world, but now that we are safe we can create the families that we hoped for”. Shoghig
“To be living together with all my children and grandchildren is a miracle”. Lucin