Residents have the chance to see asylum seekers as people, rather than a political issue, with a visit to the south-west planned for next month.
Katherine Stewart, from the Rural Australians for Refugees Warrnambool branch, said a meeting would be held at 3pm tomorrow at Brophy Family and Youth Services in Timor Street to organise the event.
The visit steps away from the politics of the refugee issue and takes a humanitarian view, giving the asylum seekers a break from the anxiety of their wait for a decision by authorities on their applications.
It follows a successful visit in January, during which about 26 asylum seekers, most of them Tamils from Sri Lanka, spent up to two weeks in the south-west.
Ms Stewart said the next visit would again involve asylum seekers living in the community in Melbourne.
It is being organised through the Melbourne group Home Among the Gum Trees, which co-ordinates trips for asylum seekers.
Ms Stewart said people interested in billeting the asylum seekers, or hosting them on local sightseeing trips during their visit, should attend Saturday’s meeting.
She said the asylum seekers faced an agonising time in Melbourne while they waited for authorities to decide their fate.
They were uncertain about their future, had little money and could not work.
“They are in limbo,” Ms Stewart said.
“This is about providing some connection (for asylum seekers) with country people.
“They are real people.This is about showing them compassion regardless of the politics.”
People wanting more information can contact Ms Stewart on 5562 0633 or firstname.lastname@example.org