With many part-time jobs impacted by COVID-19 restrictions, international students across Queensland have found themselves thousands of kilometres from their family and unemployed, without any financial assistance.
TAFE Queensland International Executive Director, Janelle Chapman said that with many sectors in limbo, the knock-on effect meant students were struggling.
“State-wide, TAFE Queensland trains more than 2,400 international students and nearly all of them are facing financial hardship, but providing them with food is one worry we can take off their minds,” Ms Chapman said.
“Since the start of April, TAFE Queensland staff have been sourcing non-perishable goods, and I'm overwhelmed and so grateful for the response we've received.”
As word of the drive spread, TAFE Queensland’s campuses have been bombarded with acts of kindness and inundated with donations in support of international students from their communities.
“Many in our community are struggling to make ends meet right now, and it’s humbling that people are generously sharing what they can to support those in need,” Ms Chapman said.
The latest contribution saw a load of tomatoes, capsicums, chicken portions, cakes, bread, milk and and rice to TAFE Queensland’s South Bank campus. This donation was quickly followed up with a local bakery delivering baked goods for the steady stream of international students who visit the campus to collect food parcels.
“We’re receiving everything from tinned food, fresh produce, personal care items and frozen meals and have distributed it to over 400 international students so far,” said Ms Chapman.
TAFE Queensland overseas student health cover partner Allianz Global Assistance has also contributed $15,000 in funding to the cause, which will enable TAFE Queensland to purchase food vouchers that can be distributed to struggling international students across the state.
Chief Sales Officer for Allianz Global Assistance, Leigh Sellers said the organisation was eager to help international students who are isolated and without employment.
“While our health cover products give students access to medical services, some students are struggling to get the basic essentials,” he said.
“Allianz Global Assistance is pleased to work with TAFE Queensland to broaden our support for International students by contributing $15,000 towards basics, such as groceries, in these challenging times.”
Other community groups and businesses are also helping with OzHarvest, A Touch of Compassion Inc., and Community Friends all sourcing and donating hundreds of pre-packaged meals and groceries.
TAFE Queensland is accepting food donations at various campuses across Queensland and is encouraging those with anything they can spare to please contribute.
To find out where and how you can donate, contact TAFE Queensland International on International.Enquiry@tafe.qld.edu.au