RISE: Refugees, Survivors and Ex-Detainees is the first and only refugee and asylum seeker welfare and advocacy organisation in Australia, entirely governed by refugees, asylum seekers, and ex-detainees. As such, we view those who seek assistance from RISE as members, not clients.

RISE: Refugees, Survivors and eX-detainees is the FIRST eX-detainee, Refugee and Asylum seeker self-determined grassroots organisation in Australia which is unique and unprecedented in Australia as we continue to be managed and staffed entirely by people from eX-detainee, Asylum seeker and Refugee backgrounds. Founded by offshore and onshore eX-detainee Ramesh Fernandez.

RISE had its humble beginnings in the library of RMIT in January 2009 and was officially launched in March 2010. RISE was established to advocate for the abolition of Australia’s cruel Refugee policies including mandatory detention as well as global policies that adversely impact our members.Soon after, many young and adult community ambassadors and youth leaders joined the RISE team. Importantly, each member of our Board of Directors comes from diverse refugee backgrounds with strong connections within the community. Many of our workers and volunteers also experienced the difficulties of settling in Australia and have in-depth knowledge of the political, legal, social and community welfare system in Australia.

RISE’s growth made it necessary to move, and in March 2010, RISE was able to secure office space at Ross House, right in the heart of the CBD. Computers and office equipment were generously provided by different organisations and refugee community groups.RISE represents over 30 refugee community groups in Australia. Throughout the year, RISE runs over 10 projects within our many departments: Advocacy, Support Services, Education, the Drop-in Centre, the Resource Library, the Foodbank drive.

What do we do at RISE?

  • Projects and campaigns run to advance our voices, independence and dignity
  • We run projects and campaigns that support our members’ long term sustainability
  • We run over 10 projects within the Advocacy, Settlement Support and Arts portfolios
  • Our projects, campaigns and services are managed, developed and run by people from eX-detainee, Refugee and Asylum seeker backgrounds who have first-hand experience of settling in and outside Australia.
  • RISE represents over 30 Refugee community groups in Australia and runs campaigns on behalf of its members, provides welfare and advocacy services, educational programs and workshops throughout the year.
  • We eX-detainees, Asylum Seekers and Refugees work on long term structural changes to support our freedom and self-determination

What we don’t do at RISE

  • It is a policy that we don’t take any State or Federal government fundings
  • We don’t accept money from anyone who invests in the upkeep of detention centres, prisons, land grabbing or any unethical conduct.
  • We don’t compromise our values and our freedom of expression
  • We don’t use images of our members as poverty porn to accumulate fundings
  • We don’t tailgate politicians or give them platforms
  • We don’t call ourselves independent while becoming the servants / pets for politicians
  • We don’t target small wins and Band-Aid root of white supremacy behind refugee policies
  • We refuse to be add-ons or entertainers of others while experiencing our own trauma.

RISE is beyond a charity- it is about the self-determination of eX-detainees, Asylum seekers and Refugees that we are proud of and continue to do so.