Dear Valued Readers,
A very warm welcome to the June edition of our Newsletter from AFFMA’s newly elected President. Following our Annual General Meeting on Wednesday, 22 June 2016, AFFMA is proud to announce that our Board is now filled with talented and committed members, fit to steer AFFMA as it expands its services for refugees seeking asylum in Australia. I take this opportunity to congratulate our own CEO on completing his Juris Doctor Law degree. We are all proud of his achievement. We cannot wait to welcome him back to the “foreground” of AFFMA, as we all miss to see him there with his vibrant personality without which AFFMA would not be AFFMA.
Apart from providing pro bono legal and migration services for refugee applicants, AFFMA aims to contribute to the discussion of refugee intakes and settlement in Australia by shifting public perceptions of refugees. Since AFFMA was founded, it has had a 100% success rate in refugee visa approvals. AFFMA is now starting a new project in which we will follow up with former clients and, with their approval, share their achievements since entering Australian society. In this way, AFFMA hopes to positively contribute to the discussion on the successful resettlement of different cultural groups within our multicultural society that is fast becoming a model to the rest of the world. My vision for AFFMA is for it to become a beacon of light in the darkness of fear, for it to inform and advise influential stakeholders as well as the public, changing their perspectives on migration.
Australia is about to vote in a general election. It is worth reflecting on the direction that the people of Britain have recently chosen. Britain, Australia, in fact, any country in the world that is privileged to choose its own direction owes it to itself to do so responsibly. There are numerous examples in history where fear provided sufficient cover of darkness for the truth to remain hidden, for popular opinion to be manipulated.
I encourage you all to take a walk in the park and clear your mind before you vote. A stressful mind cannot make life-supporting decisions; and voters who vote in that state of mind wake up the next day working on a petition to reverse their vote such as the Brexit. Focus on what you want for Australia and let your thoughts expand. Then sit and listen to your inner voice. Trust your instinct, not your fear. If you focus instead on what you don’t want for Australia, you are more likely to end up with a headache than a right decision. When a country makes a choice based on what it does want, by focusing on the positive, on what possibilities there could be, the decision will always be powerful and expansive, as will be the future.
On that note, please focus on the positive examples of migration that you see all around you, the vibrant, bustling, bursting energy that Australia is with its multitude of cultures. Should you know someone who came to Australia as a refugee and who turned his life into a success story, please nominate this person for AFFMA to interview her or him so that AFFMA can publish and celebrate their success, as we would like to keep in our consciousness the valuable contributions that refugees make to Australian society.
Back to business: please be aware that AFFMA receives a number of local and overseas inquiries every week from clients who are not refugees or asylum seekers and who enquire about services from commercial migration agents or legal practitioners. If you are interested in referrals from AFFMA, please send us an email to <firstname.lastname@example.org> with your background and area of expertise as well as a membership form if you are not a member. AFFMA would be happy to refer clients to you in return for a valuable donation to our charity.
Finally, our office will open again on Monday, 04 July 2016 as our volunteers and students-at-law return from their exam period. We congratulate them on surviving this stressful period and on returning immediately after to continue their unpaid services at AFFMA.
Sabine Lorenz, B.A.,LLB, Grad.Cert.Migration Law, M.Linguistics, Certification in Leadership and Transformational Coaching