Serving South Africans
by Cheryl Goodenough
Many South Africans arrive in Australia and live well and prosper, but unfortunately some immigration experiences are not smooth sailing, and some people face immense difficulties or traumatic incidents in a country where they have little support as a result of having
recently relocated. Since being contacted by Mark Elsing (see Never Give Up, Article 1502), and with an increase in people being made redundant, Sabona has been called on to assist more and more Southern Africans living in Australia. Many of the appeals are job related, and the response from Sabona has been to put a database of job seekers onto the website so that anyone looking for employees can search for suitable candidates. In addition, Sabona currently puts information about jobs available on the website free of charge. However, the Sabona experience is that people often need more assistance than simply finding a job.
Some of the unemployed that we have been in touch with have reached a point where they are unable even to buy food and some need the support of someone to chat to over a cup of coffee. Sabona has also been asked to assist families that have been through traumatic incidents. We previously reported on Rick and Marcus Fortier (The Fortier Family, Issue 13), who were injured in a fire accident on the Queensland farm where they live.
As a result of such appeals, Sabona recently launched the Sabona Appeals Network. Anyone who is part of the Network will be notified of people in need in a particular state. The request could include almost anything; possibly meeting someone for coffee; visiting someone in hospital; providing accommodation, groceries or cooked meals; donating furniture that is no longer needed; providing transport to the airport or elsewhere; providing a listening ear over the telephone, and so on.
Sabona CEO Philip Scott says that any assistance offered in response to such appeals is welcomed, and, as is evident from some of the letters that we receive, means a tremendous amount to people and families in need.
In conjunction with the Sabona Appeals Network, Sabona has started Project Fish. This initiative comes from the concept that you can give someone a fish and feed them for a day, or teach them to fish and feed them for a lifetime.
Says Sabona CEO Philip Scott: The ultimate goal of Project Fish is to assist people to meet financial needs, but it is not a charity. It will be run as a business to help others set up a business. The idea is for people to support the project financially as an investment that will hopefully show a return.
Sabona will ensure that businesses that assist with this project will be rewarded through advertising and promotion.
To Sabona. I recently lost my wife, and my son was critically injured, in a motor accident. It happened not far from the gate of the farm on which I work, approximately 40 kms north of Goondiwindi, Queensland. I was summoned and was on the scene before the emergency services arrived. They got there not long after me and I readily admit that I have not seen the care and respect that I received from them all the way through from the ambulance service to the Goondiwindi Hospital, the Royal Flying Doctor and the Mater Childrens Hospital in Brisbane. It was truly magnificent. All these services far exceeded any that I have previously encountered on my travels throughout Africa where I was born. Two days after the accident the dust started to settle when my son was moved off the critical list. Thats when I realised what a mess I was in: 500 klms from home, just settling in to a new country and a strange environment and with no way of letting family and friends know what had happened. In stepped the Sabona Network, as well as some good friends, to give us an enormous amount of help and support. I will always be in debt to all those people who went out of their way to help us and I have been enriched with new friends along the way. As we start to remake our shattered lives we offer our heartfelt thanks to all those good Samaritans who so unselfishly came to help us. God bless you all. Wayne and Johan Hutchison
To Sabona. We arrived in Australia at the beginning of December 2008 full of hope and starry-eyed, but soon realised that the promised accommodation and the jobs were all lies and we were in serious trouble. Brandon managed to get a job in Perth and so we sold nearly all of our possessions to raise the money to get to Perth, where we moved into a little flat. We were so relieved that Brandon was working. Then came the death blow: After less than two months, Brandon was retrenched. At this point we just didnt know what to do. Leeann had managed to find a job collating pamphlets for $100 a week, if she was lucky. That money was feeding us. Our rent was due and car payments, lights and gas bills were all piling up. Then Mark Elsing told us about Sabona.
We didnt have much hope, but we were overwhelmed by the awesome response. Through Sabona we had people sending supermarket vouchers, bringing us food and at one point a kind soul paid our rent so that we would not be evicted. If Sabona had not stepped in our whole family would have been on the street. We have two little girls who have learnt so much about the kindness of others. We have been so humbled by the help we have received and by the number of people who phoned us or who tried to help connect us to others for employment. The Sabona Network is incredible and as we are now on our feet , we will be offering our help to others too. Thank you Sabona and to all those who extended their help and prayers to us, we could not have done it without you. Regards and best wishes. Brandon, Leeann, Micahla and Tanith Evetts