During Refugee Week (Sunday 14 June to Saturday 20 June) we will share with you some inspiring stories from our refugee communities. Some of these families started their journeys supported by the BUV Refugee Airfare/ Car Assistance Loan Scheme (RAALS) and today, they are growing and flourishing as people of God with stories to tell.
Story of Pa LT
“My name is Pa LT of Chin Baptist Church. I am married and have one child. We were Chin refugees in India fleeing the Myanmar army’s persecution and were resettled in Australia under the Community Pilot Program in 2017. I got a job four days after my arrival in Australia but I did not have a car or a driving license. I depended on friends to drive me to and from work. I also relied on friends to take us for my daughter’s ongoing medical appointments.
My wife and I always felt guilty about being a burden to our friends. When these friends moved to their new home, they could no longer drive us around and I felt really helpless.
Around that time, I received good news that my application for the BUV’s RAALS Car Loan was approved. I felt that my burden was lifted.
My wife and I now feel confident as a happy independent family. We no longer feel guilty being a burden to our friends.
Our family express our heartfelt thanks to God and the provision of RAALS. We feel welcomed and feel like Australia is home and we are part of the Australian community.”
Story of Sui CS
Sui CS and his family arrived one and a half years ago from Burma. They are active members of Melbourne Chin Church and Sui is a Sunday school teacher. One day, his social worker informed him that he had not been successful in being employed because he didn’t have a car. Through the church, BUV provided a RAALS car loan to Sui and he now has a job and can support his young family and also others within their community who are going through a tough time.
About the BUV Refugee Airfare/ Car Assistance Loan Scheme (RAALS)
RAALS was first setup with a gift from Canterbury Baptist church by a committee of concerned Baptist members in 2003. Over the years, other churches and individuals (including many from our Languages Other Than English-speaking communities) provided loans and donations to the RAALS. These loans are interest-free and are repayable within a two year period. All repayments go back into a revolving pool of funds for future loans.
The first people assisted by RAALS were refugees from the Sudanese civil war. These South Sudanese Baptist families were separated from the rest of their family members who were still in refugee camps. Over the years, persecuted Chin and Karen people of Burma, who were granted refugee status by the United Nations, were supported with airfares loans to come to Australia.
Within a few years, RAALS expanded from providing just airfare loans to also providing car loans. Car loans are welcomed by many new refugees and offer great practical assistance to them settling in Australia.
Since 2003, RAALS has brought over 120 families from refugee camps to Australia. Last year, the scheme provided 12 car loans and four airfare loans to support BUV refugee church communities.
RAALS continues to provide assistance to refugees and the BUV is very grateful to many Baptist churches and individuals for ongoing donations. Each of these families supported by RAALS has an inspiring story to share. Many are giving back to their communities and helping others who are going through a tough time. It’s amazing how a small provision of loan can help new arrivals grow and flourish as people of God.
If you wish to support the BUV RAALS, please donate via direct debit:
Name: BUV RAALS Gift
All donations to RAALS are tax deductible.
For further information on how to help, please contact Multicultural consultant, Meewon Yang