THE COMMUNITY is rallying behind a Wagga-born child and her mother, set to be banished to strife-torn Kenya in a matter of days.
Angela Aseka and her seven-year-old daughter Esperanca have been given their marching orders by the Department of Immigration and will be deported from Australia on April 14.
A visa debacle will force Ms Aseka to abandon her nursing career in Wagga and withdraw Esperanca from her Ashmont Public School education.
The single mother – who has lived in Wagga for 14 years – will have to rebuild a life for her daughter in the African country.
However, president of nursing at the Loreto Home of Compassion Amit Gupta has spearheaded a last-ditch effort to save his employee from exile.
His petition, “Angela should remain in Australia”, has garnered 500 signatures in just 24 hours.
Mr Gupta will deliver the final result to federal member Michael McCormack next week.
“Angela has built a life in Australia and her daughter was born here, but now they’ll be sent to a war-zone country,” Mr Gupta said.
“She’s such a kind lady and she treats her clients with so much compassion and care.
“Regardless of what the government says, she has become part of our community.”
The Kenya native arrived in Australia in 2003 with a study visa to take a nursing course at the Canberra Institute of Technology.
Due to language barriers, Ms Aseka had difficulty with her coursework and failed multiple units – dragging her studies out several more years than planned.
When she became an assistant in nursing at the Home of Compassion and her study visa expired, she was noticed by authorities.
Ms Aseka – whose husband “walked away” when Esperanca was born – said she is terrified of life outside of Australia.
“I can’t imagine how difficult it will be for my girl,” she said.
“It will be like starting to wean a baby at the age of seven.
“I love this city and I love this country and I don’t know how Esperanca will cope with such a change.”
While the Department of Immigration and Border Protection declined to address the specific circumstances of Ms Aseka’s situation, it clarified that all non-citizens must comply with their visa conditions.
“People who are unsuccessful in their request for Ministerial Intervention, have no ongoing matters before an appeals tribunal and do not have other matters before the Department, are expected to depart Australia,” a departmental spokesperson said.
“All Australian non-citizens must meet, and continue to meet, their visa conditions.”