As Australians commemorate Refugee Week, the Baptist Union of Victoria has approved a $10,000 loan to assist a Myanmar family moving to Australia after 27 years living in a refugee camp.
Six people will be able to fly to Australia thanks to the loan approved last week by the BUV’s Refugee Airfare Assistance Loans Scheme (RAALS) committee.
The refugees are related to Youth Pastor Bless Paw Hsar of Werribee Karen Baptist Church, who was born in the refugee camp in 1995 but came to Australia after her visa was granted in 2019.
The loan makes it possible for her to assist her widowed mother Deh Poem, brother Gee, sister Pie, nieces Tha Ka and Say Htoo, and nephew August to follow her here after they received their visas in May.
Bless Paw was married in March to a seminary graduate who teaches at a mission school near the Myanmar-Thailand border. She hopes her new husband will also be able to immigrate to Australia soon.
RAALS was developed in 2004 in response to the many difficulties faced by refugees trying to bring their families to a new life in Australia as their communities have been destroyed and homes lost through the violence of war.
Visas may be granted to come to Australia but unless there is money to pay for the airfare the visas will lapse.
The scheme aims to respond to the needs of Victorian Baptist refugee communities by providing no-interest airfare loans, car loans and other financial assistance after visas have been provided.
To date, more than 140 airfare and 30 car loans have been granted. Donations are made to the scheme by individuals and churches, then the committee approves applications for the loans. As each loan is repaid, the funds are used again to assist another refugee.
For more information visit: https://www.buv.com.au/services/church-health/raals/