Asylum Seekers at Darwin’s Wickham Point Knit for Charity

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They Say It Helps Them With Warding Off Depression

Being detained while their requests for visas are processed can get tiring and depressing for the asylum seekers stationed at Darwin’s Wickham Point. Gan Mei Wah, one of the people detained at Wickham Point, came up with the idea of doing something productive during the waiting period.

The chosen activity is knitting, and the purpose of the asylum seekers involved is to make clothes and toys for charity organizations in Australia.

In this lengthy visa-processing period we have no freedom but we want to devote our skills to contribute to society,” Gan Mei Wah declares.

She also adds that doing something that is important to others helps the detainees, as well.

During the two years spent at Wickham Point, the project organizer says she has seen a lot of disturbing things. Incidents reported at the center include self harm and suicide attempts.

Since plenty of people detained there are handy with knitting needles and such, Gan Mei Wah thought of a clever way to chase away negative thoughts.

Harming ourselves and suicide is not a solution. We have to look at the whole world and the people outside might need more than us,” she adds.

The operator in charge of the detention center Serco lent a helping hand, as well. 15 extra knitting machines were bought, so that more detainees can get involved with the project. The organizers also receive any donation in wool and fabric.

Several charity organizations have been approached, and the response was positive. One of the organizations received a lot of such donations last Christmas and could not receive the gifts. However, those in charge say that this does not exclude the possibility to accept them in the future.

Gan Mei Wah has spent her last two years at Wickham Point with her husband. Their request for visa rejected, they appealed and are waiting for the result.


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