Media Release: Asylum seekers want safety for their kids
Australia is witnessing a small asylum seeker baby boom as couples who have fled danger or persecution in their homelands feel safe enough to start or extend their families.
Settlement agency AMES has reported more than 150 babies born to asylum seeker families in the past year and 24 more due to give birth in the next two months.
Other agencies report a similar boost in births.
“What we are seeing is women saying that for the first time in years they feel safe enough to start families or have more children,” said AMES CEO Cath Scarth.
“Many of these women have gone through terrible times and, in the circumstances they found themselves in, having children was just not an option,” she said.
“Despite the challenges and difficulties they face, they are all really grateful to be safe and, more importantly, to have a level of safety and security for their children,” Cath Hagan said.
Asylum seeker mum Arezoo and her husband and eldest child fled their home in Iran last year because of religious persecution.
She said having a child in Australia has been a “wonderful experience”.
“The nurses were very kind and helpful and the hospital provided a baby sitter and playroom for my older son while I was giving birth – everyone was very kind. We had no family here and we knew no one,” she said.
“My husband was able to be present at the birth to give me comfort and peace of mind – this would not have been allowed in Iran.
“The surgery was much easier than back home and the surgeons, doctors and nurses were very kind and friendly and the medical facilities were much better than they are at home.”
Arezoo told of her flight from her home and extended family.
“We had some problems in Iran; were in danger because of our religion and it wasn’t safe for us. I was stopped and questioned by the religious police on my way to work,” she said.
“We decided to leave so went to Indonesia and came by boat to Australia. We arrived last year.
“We came to Australia because we wanted our children to grow up in a safe place without any fear. Here we can live as a family without being afraid all of the time.
“My sons are the same as any other children – they have the same right to a safe and happy life.
“My oldest son is going to school and mixing with Australian children and he is happy now despite the difficult things he has been through,” Arezoo said.
Arezoo and her family are on bridging visas.
“But we are managing and at least my children are safe – that is the most important thing.
“The safety of my children is everything to me,” Arezoo said.
For images, interviews and more information please contact AMES Media Advisor, Laurie Nowell at firstname.lastname@example.org or 9938 46031 or 0498 196 500.