When you talk to Levi, one of the first things you notice is the gentleness in his voice. It is an appropriate quality for this trained nurse from Kenya, who came to Australia for World Youth Day in July 2008. Victimised in his homeland, Levi was fearful of further persecution upon his return. ‘You can’t sit down and wait when two or three of your neighbours have disappeared in the name of interrogation and you never see them again. You have to move,’ he says.
When his group returned to Kenya, Levi made the painful decision to seek asylum in Australia. He was alone, with no money and no one to turn to for help. He spent his last few dollars on two nights’ accommodation in a backpackers’ hostel, then found himself on the streets. ‘I didn’t have food, I didn’t have anywhere to sleep.’
A chance encounter with a fellow refugee led Levi to JRS, which offered him immediate assistance with accommodation, food and legal referral. As soon as he received his bridging visa, he found a job mowing council lawns. ‘I had my two hands, I could work and pay for my bills and relieve JRS of the burden,’ he says. Levi completed a certificate in aged care, found a job as a carer and recently became a low-level supervisor in an aged care facility. ‘Some of the people I care for always ask for me,’ he says with pride. ‘They won’t allow anyone else to help them!’
While Levi awaits the outcome of his application for permanent residency, he hasn’t held back in giving back to the country he hopes to soon call his own. ‘Here, you can live your life the way you want to,’ he says. And he is grateful for the help extended to him by JRS. ‘Just think what would happen to people if JRS was not here. We would be on the street. If there comes a time when I am capable of being a donor, I will definitely donate to JRS in a big way.’
JRS supports Levi, and many others like him. With your help, we can continue make a world of difference in their lives.