13th December 2023

Face to Face After Thirteen Years

A Tamil refugee father was reunited with his son after 13 years thanks to assistance from Now and Not Yet café – a BUV social enterprise community – and a Carey Baptist Grammar School scholarship.

Nigethan (Nige) was forced to escape civil war in Sri Lanka in the middle of the night in 2010 leaving behind his wife and 3-year-old son. He fled to Malaysia where his money and documents were stolen, before managing to get to Indonesia and then Christmas Island in Australia.

He spent more than six years in detention before the High Court ruled in favour of his release, along with several other Tamil refugees.

Once in Melbourne, a partnership unfolded between Now and Not Yet and Baptcare’s House of Hope programme, (a progamme that provides housing and assistance for asylum seekers and refugees) which enabled Nige to move into a house leased by Now and Not Yet in Warrandyte. For the past six years, Nige, supported by the community of Now and Not Yet, has worked tirelessly towards reuniting with his family. Happily, we can report that after 13 years of being apart, Nige has finally been reunited with his son. Now and Not Yet’s founder, Derek Bradshaw, said the happy reunion occurred in August after Carey Baptist Grammar School offered Nige’s son a scholarship paving the way for the student visa and long awaited reunion. “The reunion was incredibly special with many from the Tamil community joining us at the airport. The sense of joy and justice being served was so palpable and the smiles have not disappeared.”

Now and Not Yet will continue to support Nige’s son’s education and integration into the Australian environment and culture.

“As with all of the beautiful refugees we have supported, whatever is needed to help we will do… Our motivation is to stand up and fight for the rights of all humanity, not just those who were fortunate enough to be born in a particular place and time. We believe as a faith community the imperative of the gospel requires us to do all we can with all we have to support the ‘least of these’. Our aim is to just give people the start they badly need in their journey of seeking asylum.

“How do you get a job if you don’t have a fixed address and how do you get a rental if you don’t have a job? So we provide free housing, training and employment opportunities for around six months and then ongoing assistance to help achieve long term employment, stable housing and legal assistance to secure appropriate visas.”

Nige, his son and Derek are all hoping that Nige’s wife might soon be able to move to Australia too. Nige will speak about his culture, hope against adversity, and his journey to be reunited with his family, at the café’s Tamil Feasts, which begin again next year. Proceeds go towards the café’s ongoing work with asylum seekers. To find out more about Now and Not Yet’s 2024 Tamil Feasts, follow their social media

To find out about Baptcare Houses of Hope programme –https://www.baptcare.org.au




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