When the conflict in Syria began in 2011, James Richardson watched on in disbelief.

He had fond memories of his childhood, surrounded by family and friends in Heidelberg, Victoria, and was devastated that children were growing up surrounded by war just because they were born in the wrong place at the wrong time.

“When I saw the crisis in Syria, it was just horror to the extreme to see these children who have the exact opposite to my childhood,” James says.

“You see children in the refugee camps and you look at their eyes, their clothing, the background environment that they are living in and you think, well I could have been one of these people if I was born in a different time or place.

“But I was born in a safe place with no concern when it came to food, clothing, education, holidays or anything.”

“I thought, I have to do something.”

The former engineer says he first understood the concept of equality when he attended his local state school. At the time, there had been a divide not only between differing classes but also between people of Catholic and Protestant backgrounds. 

Many Catholics attended a school attached to the church, while many non-Catholics – including children of Protestant background – attended the state school where children of all classes and backgrounds were welcomed. 

“It is where I developed this notion of equal rights that anyone – independent of their income level or background – should have the same opportunity,” James says.

“That was an important message for me.”

James Richardson, a former engineer, has decided to leave a gift in his will for Australia for UNHCR. © Image Supplied

Now retired after working as an engineer for more than three decades, James has decided to leave a gift for Australia for UNHCR in his will to ensure refugees receive the care they need for many years to come.

“Since becoming involved and meeting UNHCR people, I am becoming more and more convinced of the good work of the organisation,” James says.

“We can’t solve the whole thing, but we can do something.”

James says his decision to leave a bequest in his will wasn’t a difficult one. He had always been inspired by the generosity of his parents who had been involved in community and volunteer work for those in need.

“My parents came from wealth on both sides and while some people who are well-off tend to say, ‘Well we worked hard to become wealthy and if everyone else did, they too would become wealthy,’ my parents didn’t take that attitude,” James says.

 “They thought we should use that to help people who are not well off and who can’t get beyond their situation without some form of assistance.”

“That is something they have passed on to me and my siblings, and I am extremely grateful.”

James says his decision to leave a gift in his will wasn't a difficult one. © Image Supplied

By remembering Australia for UNHCR in your will, you too can make a lasting impact on the lives of families forced to leave their homes in search of safety. You can ensure they receive vital support, even beyond your lifetime, providing protection, food, water, shelter, education and healthcare to some of the world’s most vulnerable people.

Leaving a gift to Australia for UNHCR, no matter how large or small, can create a legacy that saves lives.

Find out more


For more information about leaving a gift in your Will please contact our Planned Giving Manager Aylin Salt on (02) 9276 6871 or [email protected] or download your free bequest guide here

Share this:

facebook twitter

You can help

Make a donation

Every donation makes a real and lasting difference in the lives of refugees.

Organise a fundraiser

Host a bake sale, climb a mountain or do a fun run to raise funds for vital aid.

;