The Vietnamese Community in Australia New South Wales Chapter. Facebook photo
The Vietnamese Community in Australia New South Wales Chapter. Facebook photo

A Vietnamese group in Australia, formed by ex-refugees and their children, has been raising funds to help Rohingya refugees from Myanmar.

The Vietnamese Community in Australia, who in the past ten years have already raised A$2 million (US$1.45 million) for charity, set a target to to raise A$100,000 for their “Australia for UNHCR’s Rohingya emergency appeal“. After a fundraising concert held at the Collingwood Town Hall in Melbourne, the group has so far raised about AU$88,000 (US$63,900), ABC Australia reported.

Fleeing from post-war Vietnam, Hanh Do, a current member of the Vietnamese Community of Australia, boarded on an 11-meter vessel with his wife and brother-in-law alongside 53 other refugees headed for Malaysia in 1981. They were robbed by Thai pirates, battered by storms, starved and dehydrated before they reached Malaysia six days later. Do said he has sympathy for other refugees and wants to help them.

His son Andrew Do, founder of the Vietnamese Community of Australia, said people in the Vietnamese community had first-hand experience of being refugees so they know what it is like to flee from violence and persecution in your homeland.

Do added that the aim of their movement is to help make life easier for Rohingya communities settling in a new environment, as they are facing the same hardships that the Vietnamese did during their journeys to Australia.

“I think it’s a Vietnamese cultural thing that we feel a great sense of gratitude as well as a responsibility to give back,” said Do, who was born in Australia.

The extreme violence and persecution in Myanmar’s Rakhine State last year saw about 720,000 Rohingya Muslims fleeing the country and seeking shelter in Bangladesh, where they live in fear of landslides and monsoon floods.