Queenslanders band together to support struggling international students

TAFE Queensland has been inundated with donations in support of their international students, after setting up food drives at campuses across the state and encouraging those with anything they can spare to contribute.

TAFE Queensland International Executive Director, Janelle Chapman said that with many businesses currently feeling the pressure of restrictions, many students who have travelled from across the globe to further their education have found themselves thousands of kilometres from their family and unemployed, without any financial assistance.

“State-wide, TAFE Queensland trains more than 2400 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.

“TAFE Queensland staff have been sourcing non-perishable goods, and we are so overwhelmed and grateful for the response we have received.”

Ms Chapman said as word of the drive has spread from staff to their networks, TAFE Queensland’s Brisbane, SkillsTech, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Bundaberg and Cairns campuses have been bombarded with kindness 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 – $15,000 worth of funding from TAFE Queensland overseas student health cover partner Allianz Global Assistance – 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.”

Meanwhile, several community groups have jumped at the opportunity to help, including OzHarvest, A Touch of Compassion Inc. and Community Friends, who have all sourced and donated hundreds of pre-packaged meals and groceries.

Janelle with Mark from Community Friends
Jarred Hopkins (the staff member who inspired the drive)