Supporting refugee youth in Geelong

Thanks to your donations, young refugees in Geelong are being better supported as they face the complex issues around settling into our community.

A grant of $30,000 from the Give Where You Live Foundation allows CatholicCare to implement their ‘Settle Well’ program, a school-based counselling and support program focusing on meeting these young people’s career aspirations and aims to give them the best chance of successful settlement in Australia.

Establishing bases for the program at North Geelong Secondary College and Northern Bay College has allowed CatholicCare to respond to a range of needs of students from refugee backgrounds.

One young person who has been a participant of the program is Seira. Through conflict in Afghanistan, Seira has no choice but to make a perilous journey to Indonesia with her family. From there she lived at Christmas Island Immigration Detention Centre before finally resettling in Norlane, Geelong.

Last year she completed her Year 12 VCE at Northern Bay College’s Goldsworthy Campus, where she met Nestor Estampa, a Refugee Child and Family Case Worker with CatholicCare.

I was grateful to Nestor for helping me come up with clearer education pathways after leaving school. I am now doing a Certificate IV in Ageing Support at The Gordon Institute of TAFE. With Nestor’s advocacy, I have been able to access government funding for the course. After finishing the course, I would like to further my studies by taking up a Diploma of Nursing,” she said.

Livingstone is another beneficiary of the program, and a Karen refugee from Burma. He came to Australia with his parents and siblings on a Humanitarian Visa after living in a refugee camp in Thailand for over 10 years.

After leaving school, a low level of English limited Livingstone’s ability to look for work, but with support throughout the program, has been successful in beginning further training.

He is now about to finish a 12-week Certificate II in Construction Pathways at The Gordon Institute of TAFE that covers bricklaying, painting and carpentry. After this, he looks forward to doing a painting apprenticeship through Centrelink.

Learn more about the Geelong Settle Well program.