Stories of resilience, courage, love, and hope from people who have sought asylum

Seeking Asylum
Seeking Asylum
Clare Kelly
by Clare Kelly
20 December 2021
The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC) is Australia's largest human rights organisation helping to support and empower people seeking asylum.

Founded in 2001 the ASRC has been championing the rights of people seeking asylum and advocating for asylum policy change for two decades.

Virgin Unite is proud to support the ASRC as they work to create lasting change for Australian asylum seekers.

With the festive season upon us, we are thrilled to share that the ASRC, in partnership with Black Inc, has just launched a beautiful-new book, ‘Seeking Asylum: Our Stories', featuring the stories of 23 refugees, shared in their own words.

Contributors to Seeking Asylum share how they came to be in Australia and explore diverse aspects of their lives: growing up in a refugee camp, studying for a PhD, changing attitudes through soccer, being Muslim in a small country town, campaigning against racism, surviving detention, holding onto culture, and dreaming of being reunited with family.

Accompanied by beautiful portrait photographs, these stories of seeking asylum show the depth and diversity of people’s experience and trace the impact of Australia’s immigration policies.

Liliana - Image by Sam Biddle, ASRC
Liliana - Image by Sam Biddle, ASRC

Liliana Maria Sanchez Cornejo is a storyteller, anthropologist, and activist and has lived the experience of seeking asylum. “Through telling our stories, we have the opportunity to own the narrative about refugees and people seeking asylum. We are not a headline, a statistic, or a slogan, but human beings,” she said. Liliana contributes a leading essay for the book, which speaks to the power and importance of refugee storytelling.

The process of seeking asylum in Australia can be extremely uncertain, complex, and stressful – these challenges are often compounded by the prospect of temporary or ongoing unemployment, mental health issues, and a lack of income support. The emergence of COVID-19 only added to the existing crisis, as more people seeking asylum struggled to meet even their most basic day-to-day needs.

The ongoing support of the ASRC’s frontline services means that people who would otherwise remain at real risk of homelessness, hunger, and health crises, are moved through the refugee determination process.

Seeking Asylum
Seeking Asylum

Proceeds from Seeking Asylum are being re-invested into ASRC projects that focus on building leadership skills and that help participants become powerful refugee advocates. This vital work increases the potential of secure, meaningful, long-term jobs and independence, with the ultimate vision that people seeking asylum will live safely, sustainably, independently, and equally.

‘Seeking Asylum: Our Stories’ is available to order through the ASRC shop ( and through select book retailers. And for those in Melbourne during the month of December, you can purchase the book at the pop-up ASRC shop and cafe located at 175 Brunswick St, Fitzroy.