Did you know that Geelong is a priority location for the resettlement of refugees in regional Australia, including Women at Risk?
This Refugee Week, the Give Where You Live Foundation is highlighting a program it has funded that supports young refugees within our community to access education and employment pathways.
Thanks to generous donations from the community, the Give Where You Live Foundation have provided a $40,000 Education and Employment grant to CatholicCare to fund a new Job Readiness Worker.
Give Where You Live Foundation CEO, Bill Mithen said the Foundation is proud to fund this important new role to support our refugee community.
“We know that people thrive when they have access to educational opportunities and the support they need to gain quality employment.”
“The Give Where You Live Foundation is proud to fund CatholicCare to support young people with a refugee or asylum seeker background, into further education or meaningful employment pathways,” said Bill Mithen.
Arreeda Nor Wab, who lived in a refugee camp in Thailand for more than 25 years, has recently joined CatholicCare in the new position, funded by the Give Where You Live Foundation.
Arreeda says after arriving in Australia and finding employment as a Bilingual Support Worker she wanted to help support others in similar situations to herself, who don’t know where to begin.
“When I first came to Australia, I felt like I couldn’t do anything. But when I started as a bilingual worker, I felt that I could get a connection and I could help my people and I love that.”
“My role at CatholicCare is really helping empower refugee women to find work and also support young people and families.”
Areeda said having a refugee background has helped her connect and support the community.
“When I first started as an interpreter there was not much engagement in my community. But because I speak both Karen and Karenni and I already have connection with the community, the community always came to me and asked when they needed help.”
“One of the best outcomes from the program has been seeing women in my community getting a job after receiving support from this program.”
Sarah Cunningham who works alongside Arreeda at Catholic Care, says this new role is bringing many benefits to the local refugee community.
“Funding from Give Where You Live has enabled us to employ Arreeda to support families directly. Her multilingual skills means that she can get information and deliver workshops and programs to our clients in their language, so they understand our systems,” Sarah said.
“I couldn’t do my job without Arreeda. She has made everything so much more efficient because she has the language skills that I don’t have. We really complement each other, as I understand the systems and the structures, and she understands the community. So, we’re a really great team,” Sarah added.
Over the past six months, the focus for CatholicCare has been keeping young people engaged in education.
“Arreeda has really been able to communicate to the families how important it is for young people to stay in education. She’s also been able to reengage some young people back into education and support families to understand why that’s so important,” Sarah said.
Refugee Week runs from 19-25 June 2022, and the week is a celebration of the wonderful ways in which people from refugee backgrounds enrich their new communities.