A story of hope

One of the positive things to come out of this lockdown craziness is the opportunity that an increasing use of technology gives us to meet amazing people. 

One of our Lions, who is very interested in helping the Afghan refugees that supported our defence forces, introduced me to Doug Abdiel, an ex-US Marine who now lives and works in Australia.  Like our Lions, Doug saw a need and rather than sit back, decided to do something about it.

Doug spent most of his career as a military officer which took him to Afghanistan and Haiti.  After coming to Australia with his Australian wife, he felt compelled to reach out to the people he had worked with in those countries who were fortunate enough to make it to Australia.  With the help of his very understanding wife, he purchased a paper tube manufacturing company in Melbourne that has employed 25 refugees in the last four years and put over $1M into their pockets.

Although this is not a Lions project, I thought it may be of interest to some Lions members who are close to this issue.

Through the Not-for-profit organisation, “Purpose and Growth”, Doug’s project has three elements to help Afghans that now call Australia home.

Firstly, they have an initiative to provide a simple, discounted laptop to each new family, simple technology to help the family engage with the community for education, business and support.

Secondly, to help newly arrived refugees to get a job.  They provide free, multilingual induction courses, and Purpose and Growth will cover 75% of the cost of certifications required for employment (e.g. forklift tickets).

Thirdly, Purpose and Growth directly helps refugees through employment in a small paper factory in Victoria.

Purpose and growth would love to tell this story of how they employed 25 refugees in the last four years (read here in The Australian). This might be a great opportunity for the next online meeting of your club.


Rob Oerlemans

Executive Officer