There are over 15,000 Latin American people living in Melbourne – sadly many of these people will experience a sense of hopelessness, helplessness, isolation, or personal tragedy. The immediate sense of being a long way from home, feeling overwhelmed and with limited support networks is pervasive.

Through the Latin American Immigrants and Students Program (LAISP), Refuge of Hope aims to ensure immigrants, international students and refugees are supported in times of crisis – providing emergency support to people who are facing personal struggles and adversity, but do not have the skills, knowledge or cultural understanding necessary to overcome them.

Refuge of Hope works to connect with those in need by participating in public events, community activities and by presenting to international students at universities and other education institutions. Then, new arrivals are connected with the community via regular activities and events such as picnics, dinners and excursions.

As necessary, people are referred to external support agencies including medical, legal, migration, financial, housing, mental health, welfare and financial issues. Pairs are also formed with established members, who provide advice, support and guidance during the adjustment to life in Australia.