Training care for refugees

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Anglicare is running training days aimed at equipping churches and individuals to better serve refugees living in Sydney, particularly the large number of Syrians and Iraqis beginning to arrive as part of the Federal Government’s special resettlement scheme.

The training is part of Anglicare’s portion of the shared approach being taken by the Diocese, with Diocesan organisations and individual churches working in different ways to cover the broad spectrum of need amongst refugees arriving from UN supported camps.

“The idea is to start to paint the picture for people of who refugees are, what their experiences are like, and developing that foundation of understanding that is essential when ministering to anyone, really, but particularly people who are refugees,” says Anglicare’s Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) adviser and refugee outreach worker Cheryl Webster (pictured above). “ We are really concerned that people are able to connect with refugees, regardless of where they come from, and assist with their needs in a way that is effective and also appropriate.”

The training is divided into 2 modules. The first is aimed at developing cultural awareness,  and giving insight into refugee backgrounds, while the second is a more practical class assisting with common issues such as language barriers, practical support for people with backgrounds of trauma and linking in with other support services. Module 2 classes are due to begin in early October, at North Sydney, Wollongong and at St Andrews Cathedral. According to Anglicare, 236 volunteers from Sydney churches have already been trained in Module 1. Both modules will be taught again before the end of the year.
Sue Radkovich is a member of St Michael’s Wollongong and also works as the Anglicare ESL Regional Representative for the Wollongong region. She has attended one of the Anglicare training days, and says it was valuable experience.

“One of the highlights was that we had a chance to hear from a refugee woman from Afghanistan who got here in 2006 after being in a refugee camp in Pakistan.” she says. “It’s very easy to learn things about refugees or have opinions without actually hearing from people first hand To have that voice and to hear those experiences, not just about their home countries but I suppose also the struggles people can have even here in the political climate around refugees, particularly when they’re from Muslim background countries.“

Anglicare is also continuing to work particularly to network with community leaders already in Sydney among the ethnic groups expected to make up a large proportion of the refugees to be resettled here in the coming months. Anglicare is also supporting a number of other initiatives, including an early learning through play program, ESL programs centred in parish churches, as well as more short-term interventions such as trauma counselling support and housing provision. 

The provision of 12,000 extra resettlement for refugees from Iraq and Sydney was a commitment made by the Federal Government in September 2015, in addition to the regular annual humanitarian intake of 13,750 (which includes designated places for onshore and offshore applications). While the additional intake was expected to commence early this year, cohort arrivals under the special scheme only commenced in the middle of this year. According to figures from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, as of September 9, 4086 persons had arrived in Australia under the additional placement scheme. An additional 2772 have been granted visas but are yet to be transferred.



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