The coast has four support groups dedicated to helping and protecting the rights of refugees and asylum seekers - Buderim Buddies , Australian Homestay Network, Amnesty International Community group and Amnesty International USC Campus group.
These groups engage residents in activities to educate them on issues facing this minority group and also rally support for these people. Buderim Buddies Spokeswoman Bronwyn Bell said these events have been well received by the community.
“The last forum we did was in 2012 at the University of the Sunshine Coast and over 300 people attended. There are a lot of people on the coast that are supportive but it takes something like that to draw them out.”
This group has also been able to document their growing support within the community.
“Our numbers (buddies) continuously grow not rapidly but just slowly. About 5 years ago we had around 200 people on our mailing list well that’s doubled, now we have over 450” Mrs Bell said.
Australian Homestay Network (AHN) Sunshine Coast/Toowoomba Supervisor Anne Jacobson said Over 50 sunshine coast families have taken refugees into their homes since August 2012 and a further 100 have under taken the training through the Australian Homestay Network (AHN).
The Sunshine Coast is now also the first community to be involved in the new AHN program.
“AHN Sunshine Coast has now started arranging standards based Homestay accommodation to both Australians and asylum seekers in the new Homestay Helping Hand (HHH) program, global first in this sector.”
The new program not only helps asylum seekers but other minority groups as well such as Women in need, Homeless, Youth in crisis and Seniors etc.
AHN has found that the Sunshine Coast community has been very open and supportive of the programs.
“Both AHN’s CPN and HHH programs