Students from Victoria Park Christian School in Perth are celebrating the news that two of their classmates will now be able to stay in Australia.
Aaryan Kollikkara, 10, his sister Aaryasree, 8, and their parents, Aneesh Kollikkara and Krishna Aneesh, were facing deportation to India this week after being denied permanent residency visas. They were knocked back the visas because Aaryan lives with Down syndrome, a condition deemed to be potentially costly for Australia’s health system. However, last Wednesday (March 8), Immigration Minister Andrew Giles intervened in the case, confirming that the family would be granted permanent residency.
Aaryan is in year 4 and Aaryasree in year 3 at Victoria Park Christian School, an Adventist school in Perth’s south-eastern suburbs. News of their imminent deportation saw their classmates spring into action. They wrote letters to the Immigration Minister, appealing to him to intervene and allow the family to remain in Australia.
School principal Felicity Drinkall is proud of the students’ efforts.
“The children are so caring, very accepting and have beautiful kind hearts,” Mrs Drinkall said. “The classes had also been praying for Mr Giles because they know he has a difficult job and it’s hard to make these decisions.”
Aaryan’s mum Krishna said she is thankful for the love and care shown to her children by the school community.
“I’m proud to say that these are the values taught and spread by the teachers and school community at Victoria Park Christian School and really glad that we are part of such a great community,” she said.