Canberra’s Captain Cook Memorial Jet, Lit Blue For World Refugee Day, 2005 (Photo courtesy of Lannon Harley Photography)

Supporting the settlement of refugees in our National Capital

You can visit us on twitter – @CRS_Refugee

or email us at – actrefugee@gmail.com

Who are we?

We are incorporated in the ACT and publicly accountable as a result. We are a not-for-profit organisation and all of the members work on a part-time basis in a voluntary capacity. We do not have an office or employees so our overheads are very low. Canberra Refugee Support is a member organisation of the Refugee Council of Australia.

We are recognised by the Australian Tax Office as a charitable organisation and donations are tax deductible. We are not funded by government but we do raise funds to help asylum seekers and refugees.

We work with a wide range of refugee stakeholders (see our Links page).

What do we do?

The role of Canberra Refugee Support is to provide support to refugees including:

  • assisting refugees to settle in Canberra;
  • providing advocacy; and
  • providing policy advice.
  • Canberra Refugee Support considers the achievement of these tasks as important and we:
  • conduct training courses;
  • conduct settlement and provide support to asylum seekers and refugees in Canberra;
  • provide advocacy services to assist refugees through the “maze” that has been created around visas and other Australian institutions; and
  • provide ongoing contact with policy makers and their advisors so that we can improve the level of equity and access for asylum seekers and refugees.
  • We also help others to make connections with refugees. This includes fostering activities and programs such as providing refugee scholarships and refugee mentoring programs. We provide practical support to assist with accommodation, the provision of furniture, linking into local services, access to schooling and English language training, health care, jobs and networking in the Canberra community.

We have sponsored a Refugee Mentoring Program at Calvary Hospital and this is assisting refugees to orient to an Australian work-place and decide what future study is best for them.

We assist to provide the stability and security many families have been denied in their country of origin. This is one of the more important tasks that we undertake and it is especially important for the people who have been traumatised.

We also help to support refugees financially where we can. We make judgements as to our involvement with refugees on the basis of their need and our capacity to assist but not on the visa type that may be involved.

Our Aim

Our aim is to help asylum seekers and refugees become as independent as possible as soon as possible.

That is sometimes difficult for people who are living with the uncertainty of a temporary visa and those who are denied the right to work. Nevertheless our members are able to offer compassionate support and help to work towards a positive outcome.

Our People

Our members are concerned humanitarians. We come from all walks of life and circumstances. The common thread is that we care about other people and want to help them to establish themselves in our community.

Some Statistics

Each year we provide thousands of hours supporting refugees. In recent years we have provided tens of thousands of dollars each year to the many refugees, or former refugees in Canberra. Most of that money is donated from members of the Canberra community and some from other parts of Australia. We do not receive any government program funding.


We have about 250 members.

About our Logo

Designer: Fiona Cran

The bluebell motif, the floral emblem of Canberra, is a symbol of the community in which the support group operates. The flowers have other significance. They are symbols of new life and happiness and therefore embody the idea of a new start in life for the people that CRS and the citizens of Canberra welcome into the community. Flowers are also a kind of shared treasure or beauty, just as cultures and communities can be enriched by sharing and understanding. The flower is a gift, a universal symbol that everyone understands and it is a simple gift that doesn’t exclude people because of language or money or situation.

The background colour of Navy Blue is formal without being hard. Navy Blue also is a calming colour, recalling the sea and the sky, linked with the idea the idea that we are all on the “blue” planet together under the same sky and joined by wide oceans. The block of Navy Blue represents the new city or structure that the refugees have been welcomed into.

The enclosed Circle has many meanings. It is firstly a symbol of hope, in the way that the rising sun brings new life each day. The white circular hollow also represents the support group and community that support the refugees. The circle is also a symbol of the cycle of learning, sharing, and growing. It symbolises the world – including both a small local “world” or family and the larger global world.

2 thoughts on “About

  1. Hi there,

    I have recently joined as a volunteer with Barardos forstering agency as a mentor. I have started mentoring a primary school aged girl with her schooling helping with English, reading, writing, math.

    I would like to volunteer through one of the services you work with for a similar mentoring program. If there is anyone you could put my in contact with?

    I have a police check and working with vulnerable people clearance.

    Kind regards, Pearl.


    • Hi Pearl,

      Thanks for your inquiry. As a start point, I suggest that you contact Companion House (whose link is on our webpage). CRS does not offer a mentoring program as such – our support of refugees and asylum seekers is more like ‘good neighbour support.

      Good luck!


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