Gifting Hope: Supporting Refugees this Christmas

03 December 2018

Topics: "gifts for peace" refugees

Act for Peace CEO Janet Cousens talks with Ayesha, a Rohingya refugee mother who sought shelter in Jamtoli refugee camp, Bangladesh.
This Christmas, there is so much we can do to welcome those who have fled their homelands seeking a brighter future. With war and violence behind them, now refugees need our support to build a new life in a new land. Here are some unique and practical ways to show refugees that we stand with them this Christmas:

Go straight to the source

Take the time to buy gifts that support the artists, craftspeople and business owners. There are HEAPS of incredible artisans, bakers, jewellers and entrepreneurs in your own community.  Check out your local markets, or have a look at two that we have found: 
  • Kaavah is an Iranian artist and photographer who has been imprisoned on Manus Island for over five years. He takes incredible photos that capture the loneliness and isolation of his island prison. You can check out his online store here.
  • SisterWorks is an amazing social enterprise set up by two incredible refugee women. Their online shop supports more than 170 female migrants, people seeking asylum and other refugees including 88 ‘Entrepreneurs’.  Order their beautiful gifts online here.

Walk in the shoes of a refugee

There are some amazing books that you could consider giving this year. 
  • Where have I come from? From the land of rivers, the land of waterfalls, the land of ancient chants, the land of mountains... Check out ‘No Friend but the Mountains’, written by Behrouz Boochani, an asylum seeker detained on Manus Island. You can buy it here.
  • Looking for your kids? Check out these children’s books where your kids can read extraordinary stories of resilience and strength, while learning more about the challenges facing refugees and asylum seekers.

“Bring a plate”

Taking the time to say hello and starting a conversation with new Australians is one of the most simple and powerful ways to connect and bring people together. The Welcome Dinner Project brings together Australians and newly arrived migrants to share stories over a pot-luck dinner.
Host your own welcome dinner or find a dinner near you.

Give a gift for peace

Not sure what to give someone who has everything? Consider giving a virtual gift this year through our Gifts for Peace program. Check out our range of gifts supporting refugees, including shelter for a Rohingya family in Bangladesh or food for a Syrian family in Jordan. When you buy a ‘Gift for Peace’ we’ll send you a beautiful card to give to your friend or family member that tells them the story behind how their gift is making a difference.  

Love fashion?

Fashion enterprises such as the Social Studio and the Social Outfit provide pathways for refugees and new migrants to work in fashion. Organisations such as these provide training and employment in the fashion industry through retail, design, clothes making and marketing. These labels provide an ethical buying option while helping create jobs. 
Buy your next outfit or gift piece to someone special

“Lean on me”

Volunteering your time is a meaningful way to welcome and support the newest members of our community. By creating connections, sharing knowledge and developing mutual understanding, volunteers help to empower new arrivals.
The SSI Volunteer Program provides friendship and practical support for recently arrived refugees. Volunteers have a choice of several programs which they can support, from helping with the groceries to facilitating recreational activities.
Join Settlement’s Services International volunteer program
Join Australian Refugee Volunteers program

Donate a Christmas dinner

Donating groceries is an immediate way to help newly settled refugees and asylum seekers. You will also be giving them a hand up by giving them the ingredients and knowledge to make the best choices for their nutritional, social and emotional wellbeing.
The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre’s Foodbank in Footscray accepts food and essentials donations from the community. Not in Melbourne? Don’t worry – you can order the groceries online and have them delivered!
Donate foods and goods to ASRC
Donate goods through the Refugee Council of Australia’s site (State based)

Party with purpose!

Having a work Christmas party or an evening with friends?  Consider having it catered by people who are building new lives for their families here in Australia. 
Here are just a few in Melbourne and Sydney, but be sure to have a look in your area as well!
Sydney area:
House of Welcome
Syrian Kitchen Australia
Melbourne area:
ASRC catering

Your ideas! 

You can email us on – we’d love to know what you’ve found as well!

Please note – we are not affiliated in any way with the organisations listed above, and are not receiving any financial gain from listing their products or services.  References to external sites are provided as an information service only and should not be construed as an endorsement.

Janet Cousens talks with Jamila, in Jamtoli Rohingya refugee camp.