Working with Refugees

Australia is a major re-settlement country for refugees, offering re-settlement to people requiring humanitarian protection. For many refugees this can be a very difficult time, with feelings of homesickness, isolation and culture shock compounding people's abilities to start a new life in Australia.
This committee addresses the special needs for vocational and social assistance for groups with various disadvantages.

Significant issues include:
  • High unemployment.
  • Housing issues.
  • English language barriers.
  • Effects of torture and trauma.
  • General health issues.

Some ways that Rotary can work with refugees, via local Non- Government Organization groups, is by:

Mentoring families
Becoming a trusted friend (a mentor). Rotarians can give advice with budgeting, assist in understanding school reports or helping to interpret letters from a government organisation.

Helping with homework/study skills programs
Parents are often not able to give help to student children because they have not had a high level of education themselves or because their English is at a lower level than their child's.

Driver support
Assistance in achieving the number of driving hours necessary to getting a car license.

Citizenship classes
Assisting with the study required to pass the test for citizenship in Australia.

Furniture, household goods, clothing
Organizing to provide good second-hand items when needed.

Mentoring for small business

Assistance with essential travel
Assisting refugees in travelling to medical, legal appointments and job interviews.
It is important and far more effective that Rotarians work through their local Non- Government Organisation.

Rotarians have a great opportunity here to assist, mentor and become involved in helping refugees and new arrivals to our country to become part of the local community. Perhaps it should be remembered that as leaders of the community we are guardians of these people.

"Refugee families require assistance in adapting to meet the challenges of entering the Australian workforce."

For more information contact the District co-ordinators.

Jan Macdonald & PP Andrew Treadwell
Rotary Club of Bundoora
Working with Refugees District Co-ordinators