4 June 2020 I Desperation among jobless international students is such that a charitable organisation established by one of Australia’s biggest recruiters of international students had to spend cash above and beyond it’s originally announced support fund of $200,000.
A Tax Invoice from Woolworths shows Expert Foundation, charity wing of Expert Education and Visa Services (EEVS), spent $175,000 on grocery cards alone.
According to EEVS’s Mannie Ghimire, the Foundation spent nearly $230,000 within the month of May alone and the process of dispensing cash assistance hasn’t stopped as students continue to call out for help.
The figure includes $20,000 donated to various state branches of the Non-Resident Nepali Association (NRNA) Australia.
A further $32,140 was donated to various community organisations as EEVS boss Badri Aryal had promised back in April.
Altogether, the Foundation has paid $52,140 to not-for-profit organisations working in multicultural environment across different states.
Since registration for support began on April 15, EEVS received 702 applications through its portal and another 200 via emails. However, only 502 received support while the rest were either rejected or considered for “other forms of assistance”.
Any international student who came to Australia after October 2019 via Expert Education were eligible to apply for Expert Education’s COVID-19 assistance.
The assistance was open to all nationalities.
Although the original fund of $200,000 is long spent, some international students continue to contact the Foundation through emails. Unable to turn down those who genuinely need assistance, the organisation is handing out $100 cash, Mr Ghimire told southasia.com.au.
“This, grocery voucher received from your end, what I believe is the symbol of inspiration and act of kindness in this challenging time where COVID-19 continues to impact the communities around the world,” (sic) wrote “Ghimire Prakash” on Facebook after he received his $300 Woolworths gift card.
Anusha also wrote to EEVS to express her gratitude for the assistance she received. She arrived in the country late February and was unable to land a job due to the then unfolding COVID-19 situation. “I don’t know when I’ll get a job, so the assistance would be very useful. I am grateful to have picked Expert,” a screenshot shows her as saying.
Another student, known only by first name Pemba, writes, “Thank you expert education and visa service for supporting me during this tough time.” (sic)
Saroj Gurung writes, “Thank you all of the expert team and people trying to help us in Australia all the way from Nepal.” (sic).
Expert Foundation is no more accepting applications for support through its portal. Mannie Ghimire said students however are still reaching out for help and the organisation is paying $100 to those deemed needy.
EEVS promoters established the Expert Foundation in the aftermath of the 2015 Nepal earthquake and has since been carrying out various philanthropic activities.