Sunday, 19 June is the first day of Refugee Week in Australia. It’s a time for us to come together as a community, recognising and celebrating the contributions of refugees and people who speak out against injustice, to Australian society.
So, who are refugees? According to the United Nations Refugee Agency, they are “people fleeing conflict or persecution”. There are currently over 20 million around the world.
The theme of this year’s Refugee Week is: with courage let us all combine. At YSAS, we’ve worked with and supported young refugees, from diverse backgrounds facing diverse challenges for many years.
The One Community Program in Dandenong and Emerging Communities Program in Sunshine are two programs that support young refugees in Melbourne to tackle particular issues they face while transitioning to their new community.
In the spirit of this year’s Refugee Week, we’ve met with a couple of people supporting and providing leadership to young refugees.
Andrew, an outreach worker from Dandenong helps run the YSAS One Community Program. Workers like Andrew play a vital role in building positive relationships with young people and ensuring they have the support they need to thrive in their new home.
Anita* arrived ten years ago in Australia from South Sudan. She accessed the support of the Emerging Communities Program to overcome some significant personal challenges including homelessness and pregnancy. She is now studying to become a Counsellor and role model for other young South Sudanese in Melbourne.
Keep an eye out this week for our two blogs from Andrew and Anita.
There’s a lot happening around the country for Refugee Week, check out the campaign website for events and notices, or follow #RefugeeWeek through social media.
*nb: Anita’s name has been changed for privacy reasons.