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Lasallian outreach to asylum seekers

Posted on 30 October 2015
Lasallian outreach to asylum seekers

A group of De La Salle Brothers in Melbourne have been playing a major part in a volunteer program teaching English to adult asylum seekers on bridging visas.

The program at St Mary's Parish Centre in Dandenong and the Noble Park Aquatic Centre was established in 2005 to help asylum seekers who can not access government English classes because of visa restrictions.

Brothers Peter Gilfedder, Lawrence King (pictured) and Calixtus Cusack have been teaching in the program for the past two years.

Brother Alf Zoanetti and Brother Hilary Walsh have also spent some time as volunteers under the program.

The Brothers have assisted countless asylum seekers from countries such as Afghanistan, Sudan and South Sudan, Iraq, Iran, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Myanmar and Vietnam.

Brother Lawrence said it was extremely rewarding work helping the asylum seekers adapt to new lives in Australia.

"No-one chooses to be an asylum seeker and many suffer from trauma from being persecuted and tortured", he said.

"This program helps the students to feel welcomed, safe and supported."

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