Helping Young Refugees Make a Start

Through your donations CatholicCare have been supporting young people from refugee backgrounds to settle successfully in their new home, Geelong.  Funded in part by a $30,000 grant from the Give Where You Live Foundation the Settle Well project aims to address the complex issues faced by young refugee teenagers navigating the challenges of adolescence, re-settlement and trauma.

The project provides a comprehensive support program that includes: Specialised therapeutic assistance (counselling), Family Counselling support (if appropriate), access to support groups, case management support to ensure that participants are linked with relevant community services when needed, and education and training support to optimise school engagement and provide pathways for employment and enhanced opportunities for community participation.

The number of young refugees settling in Geelong has seen a sharp increase in recent years. The program is co-located at North Geelong Secondary College where one in five students is from a refugee background. This co-location provides easy access to young people who need this help.

Ramzan is one example of a young refugee receiving assistance through the program. Ramzan is a 17 year old asylum seeker who has been living independently for a year, sharing a flat with another Afghani young man. From time to time he becomes depressed and wonders if he will ever see his mother again and to help with this, through the program he has received counselling support. He has also been connected with a local employer who has given him a part time job improving his quality of life and allowing him to connect and participate in social activities. He says the program has offered him kindness and acceptance as well as helping him to get food when there was no money to buy some, and get a job from someone who would never otherwise have known about him.