I am asking for donations to support Arzu, an asylum seeker who has been living in Melbourne for several years without work rights or government support. Arzu was raised in the tradition of the Antiochian Orthodox Church (or Rûm Orthodox) and comes from Hatay, a region in south-east Turkey which has been in dispute with Syria for more than a century.
Until the Australian government completes its assessment of her refugee status, she must continue to depend on the generosity of Australians to survive. Asylum seekers living in Australia currently receive no access to Centrelink, Medicare or any other taxpayer funded programs. Please consider contributing to this inspiring woman’s struggle to re-build her life in Australia.
Despite the challenging situation she has found herself in, Arzu has managed to contribute greatly to our community. She is a talented musician and educator and has a deep passion for working with children. Soon after arriving in Australia, Arzu joined the Essendon Symphony Orchestra as a violinist and before long began work as a volunteer music teacher in the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra’s ‘Pizzicato Effect’ Education Program.
Inspired by this program, she implemented a similar free music education program at Corpus Christi primary school in Glenroy. In 2015, she took on a voluntary role as the language and diction coach for Turkish songs in the Australian Chamber Choir’s 2015 ANZAC Centenary program. She has also become a valued member of the Melbourne’s Scots’ Church Choir, where she continues to sing soprano.
Arzu is an incredibly dedicated and hard-working individual. Arriving without English-language skills, she has now progressed to an academic level and is one-third of the way through completing a Master’s degree at RMIT University, achieving this without the right to work. She is also being charged the full international student rate by RMIT as they currently have no assistance program for asylum seekers.
To pay for the first semester of her studies, she organised, arranged and performed a Classical music concert. However, Arzu now needs to raise $30,000 to pay for her final two semesters. There is a very real chance that she will be forced to discontinue without our help.