NUS Alumni Melbourne Chapter – NUS Cares in Support of Asylum Seeker Resource Centre at MerryWell Bar and Dining

20 May

Following our joyous Lunar New Year dinner event in February, the NUS Alumni Melbourne Chapter organised another successful event on 20 May 2023 celebrating NUS Cares in support of the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC) Feast for Freedom project. The event was held at Merrywell Bar and Dining, with 32 alumni members and a delegation from NUS led by Mr Bernard Toh, NUS Director, Office of Alumni Relations.

In early March 2023, we embarked on a fundraising campaign to support the ASRC, a non-governmental organisation dedicated to providing practical assistance to refugees and asylum seekers. The ASRC's comprehensive initiatives encompass essential provisions such as food and material aid, crucial support services, healthcare provisions, advocacy efforts, as well as facilitation of education and training opportunities. Additionally, they offer employment programmes designed to empower individuals, equip them with necessary skills, instil confidence, and enable them to navigate the labor market successfully, ultimately helping them re-establish their careers in Australia.

We are thrilled to announce that we successfully accomplished our objective of providing 200 hot meals to asylum seekers, meeting our fundraising goal of $500! This was made possible by the generous donations from our esteemed alumni, whose heartfelt contributions went a long way in supporting this noble cause.

Morning rain cleared just in time to experience the oasis by the skyline at Crown Melbourne. This was indeed the iconic 'four seasons in one day' by the Yarra River accompanied with excellent Australian pub fare food and drinks. Attendees enjoyed a delectable 2-course bottomless lunch with free-flow alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages as they engaged in conversations and laughter socialising amongst the new and old members.

We were joined by the NUS delegation from Singapore consisting of Mr. Bernard Toh, Director, Mr. Gan Eng Khoon, Deputy Director, Ms. Jacqueline Yong, Associate Director, Office of Alumni Relations, Ms. Phoon Wai Mun, Senior Assistant Manager, Alumni Relations, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, and Mr Wong Peng Meng, NUS Alumni (Science ’82). Our Chairperson Dr. Edna Yeo took the opportunity to welcome our newest NUS Alumni Melbourne Chapter Digital Marketeer and Photographer, Mr Peh Guo Qi (Engineering '11). We look forward to his beautiful and artistic contribution at future events.

Amongst the many topics discussed was the concern with rising costs of living and the consequent delay in retirement which troubled many of us, particularly since Australia has always been perceived as a safe haven for retirement and raising family. As the economy heads into recession, it is paramount to show kindness to people around us. A bittersweet moment arrived when we presented our token of appreciation and card to Mr. Toh who will be stepping down as the Director, Office of Alumni Relations. We expressed our gratitude for his unwavering support to the Melbourne Chapter over the years. We look forward to working with his successor, Ms. Ovidia Lim-Rajaram (Arts and Social Sciences '89). Thank you to all the members who have participated and contributed to the ASRC Feast for Freedom fundraising. We look forward to seeing you at the next event.

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