April crowdfund for phone credit

The April crowdfund for credit can be here:




15th February 2017 – SBS article by Nicola Heath



An Australian charity is crowdfunding phone credit for asylum seekers living on Manus Island and Nauru to help them stay connected with loved ones.


Nicola Heath

Phone credit is a luxury for the nearly 1,300 asylum seekers currently living in Australian offshore processing plants on Manus Island and Nauru. Asylum seekers currently spend an average of 450 days in detention, a record high. Over 20 per cent have been detained for more than 750 days. For these people, phone credit offers a precious line of communication to the outside world, a means to call family, read the news, seek legal advice and find answers to concerning health questions.

Gifts for Manus and Nauru runs monthly crowdfunding campaigns to provide phone credit for 1270 people currently on its database, all of whom have passed a stringent identity check. The January campaign brought in $12,000. “It’s really good, but it barely scratches the surface of what we need,” says Annie Molenaar, the organisation’s vice president. “If we were able to raise enough money each month to top them all up regularly, we would need to raise over $42,000 a month.”

Asylum seekers on Manus Island were officially allowed to have mobile phones only after Papua New Guinea’s Supreme Court ruled in April 2016 that the processing centre was unconstitutional. Before that the mobile phones that inevitably found their way into the camp were considered contraband. “Once they got access to mobile phones, their whole worlds opened up,” says Molenaar.

Many detainees rely on the top-ups they receive from Gifts for Manus and Nauru to keep in touch with their family and friends, sometimes waiting 48 days for fresh credit. “We would love to get to a point where we’ve got them on a monthly cycle, so they don’t have to go through the anguish of ‘When am I going to get my next top-up?’” she says. “So much of the mental anguish that they experience is because of the uncertainty in which they’re living. Their detention is indefinite, and they have very little that they can rely on. They’ve all lost faith in people, and who they can and can’t rely on, and this is one service that they’ve really grown to depend on.”

Life in the offshore processing centres is difficult, lacking most of the comforts we take for granted, like hot water and privacy. There is little to do to alleviate the daily boredom that marks life in the camps. On Manus Island, the only mode of transport is a minibus that ferries the detainees to and from town. People start lining up at 5.30am for the 8 o’clock bus, and many miss it because it is too full.

It was a desire to help break that daily tedium that prompted Molenaar to contact detainees in the first place. “I had a friend who was working on Manus Island, and she mentioned to me that some of the guys there were looking to have pen pals… something to keep their minds occupied.” In their letters, Annie’s correspondents wrote of their boredom. When she learned they were interested in things like reading and drawing, she sent them parcels containing e-readers and art supplies.

Gifts for Manus and Nauru started as a small Facebook group of people who, like Annie and the organisation’s founder Ali Murdoch, was sending care packages to asylum seekers. They pooled their resources to reduce postal costs. Their number grew and in 2016 the organisation registered as a charity. While phone credit is their focus for fundraising, they still send parcels. Popular items include sporting goods like runners and skipping ropes, external hard drives filled with movies and TV series, clothes, hats and sunglasses.

The group also sends snacks and vitamins. “They often run out of food in the mess,” she says. “If they’ve got an appointment with a doctor and they’re not around when their food is served, then they just miss out.”

It’s Molenaar’s observation that mental illness is endemic among asylum seekers living offshore. “There’s not one person that I’ve spoken to that hasn’t at some point experienced extreme depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, all of those things.”

A new service offered by Gifts for Manus and Nauru aims to address this problem. If an asylum seeker is believed to be struggling with their mental health, the organisation will refer them to a professional trauma counsellor or psychologist. They can talk to the medical professional by whatever means they decide, says Annie. “If they’re more comfortable communicating via text, through some type of a messenger service, they can do that, or if they would like to speak to them directly via phone, they can do that as well.”

Phone Credit Crowdfund – Dec 7 to Dec 21 2016


Here is the link to our December crowdfund for phone credit.
The wait time has reached record length, at 47 days from when people’s month of credit expires to when they get their next top up.

As of 7.12.16 we have 536 people needing to be topped up immediately, and more being added back onto the waiting list each day as their month of credit runs out.
It would be great if we could try to catch up on many of these top ups before Christmas.

Please help us to do some much needed top ups. Donate if you can, and please share.


Phone Credit Crowdfund – October 29 to November 14 2016

Hello everyone.

Our November crowdfund is now up and running.


A tax receipt is issued automatically when you donate this way.

Please contribute if you can, and please share widely. We know there are more people who care about the people being held offshore in PNG (Manus) and Nauru….but we really need your help to reach them and let them  know there is this way to help.

We’re aiming to raise at least $3000 on the crowdfund by it’s end date of November 14, but more would be awesome.
(total phone credit cost for a month, if each of the 1100 or so people currently on our list is to get a $30-35 top up, exceeds $35,000)

Thank you!


There are various ways to contribute to parcels for those on Manus and Nauru.

You can ask for details of a person that you can buy for yourself, which involves buying various needed items depending on the person’s needs, and arranging postage to him/her. (it’s a considerable cost though).

If you cannot afford a whole parcel you can also buy needed items and have them delivered to us to be included in parcels we send.

You can also contribute financially by donating money towards the parcels our group are putting together for people or groups (bank details on the ‘How to Donate’ page). There are always at least several parcels (usually more) on the go needing donations to complete and get sent…and a long list of people waiting for parcels.

If you want to know more please join our Facebook page:https://www.facebook.com/groups/1646607628911452/

Or email us at: giftsformanusandnauru@outlook.com.au.

Phone Credit

Contributing to phone credit for people at Manus and Nauru is another way of helping. This is an ongoing and urgent need.

Please let us know if you would like to help in this way.

If you would like to do a top up directly to a person at Manus or Nauru we can send you the phone number at the top of the waiting list that is needing topping up, and the instructions of how to do the top up.

One month of phone credit is $35 for Manus numbers and $30 for Nauru numbers.

Donations for phone credit, of any amount, can also be made into the ‘Phone Credit’ bank account or via Paypal/credit card (details on the ‘How to donate’ page), and we then use the donations to complete the top ups.

If you want to know more please join our Facebook page:https://www.facebook.com/groups/1646607628911452/

Or email us at: giftsformanusandnauru@outlook.com.au.