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News, Victoria

Melbourne community group supporting LGBTIQ refugees with tech

A Melbourne community organisation is asking for donations of second-hand laptops and tablets to support and connect refugees in crisis.

LGBTIQ asylum seeker group Many Coloured Sky is working to help people across Victoria who have lost their jobs but are receiving no government support.

Donations of laptops and tablets will help keep vulnerable members of the community connected and ensure that they can reach out for support.

Many Coloured Sky supports LGBTIQ organisations with capacity building, planning, and project development, empowering those at the margins and intersections of LGBTIQ communities to create change.

The group works to support asylum seekers internationally as well as locally.

“We work with LGBTIQ refugees in Kenya and internally displaced LGBTIQ young people in Uganda,” said spokesperson Ian.

“We’ve been cofacilitating social and peer support for LGBTIQ asylum seekers in Melbourne for almost two years, as well as undertaking advocacy, delivering training, developing resources, and leveraging the resources that larger organisations can bring to bear in support of queer asylum seekers and refugees.

“A committee of queer asylum seekers guides all of our work in this space.”

Ian said that the coronavirus pandemic has seen refugees disproportionately affected by social and financial difficulties.

“Since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, we’ve seen a number of our members lose employment, and many of them are now socially isolated and unable to access foodbanks and other supports,” he said.

“The government is providing no welfare or income support to people seeking asylum.

“We’re now providing food drop-offs, vouchers to cover internet and data access, and facilitating weekly online peer support.

“The call-out for laptops is to ensure that everyone can stay connected, that those who are studying can continue to do so, and that people can reach out for assistance when they need it.”

Anyone in the Melbourne area is asked to contact Many Coloured Sky via Facebook or email if they can donate a spare laptop or tablet in good working order, that can run recent software and apps, and with a charger.

If you are in need of support, please refer to our list of Australian services and resources.

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