Kostas Karapanagiotidis is a Greek man who founded the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre in Melbourne. He received a special distinction by the Australian state during the Australia Day Awards. The Australian press characterized him as the “Advocate on Refugees’ Rights”. He has been awarded the medal of the Order of Australia for his distinguished services to the Australian community regarding humanitarian efforts. Karapanagiotidis was a lawyer, social worker and university lecturer when a Red Cross worker referred a Turkish boy refugee who had suffered torture, to him for counselling. On weekends he and his mother, Anastasia, traveled Melbourne’s food outlets to stretch donations for the foodbank further. Ten years later, the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre has new premises in West Melbourne and fills gaps in twenty-three other organizations for asylum seekers, including medical needs and English classes.
It draws around one-thousand clients a year. The centre survives mainly on donations and goodwill with the compassion of seven-hundred volunteers, “everyday Australians,” as Karapanagiotidis calls them.
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