One in four young people in Australia are from a refugee or migrant background (1). Unlike their peers, they often face significant and complex challenges that impact both their chance and ability to reach their full potential. Trauma. Financial burden. Language, cultural and social barriers that impede their learning ability and lead to isolation and loneliness which, in turn, impacts their mental health (2).
These obstacles keep them from successfully and confidently settling into the place they now call home. They also put them significantly behind their peer group, often throughout out their lives, including opportunities in the workplace.
You can play a role in helping them integrate into Australia, harness their untapped potential to make the great contributions to your communities and Australian society. By supporting RMCC through monetary or material donations, you enable us to give them ongoing, tailored support so they can overcome these barriers.
In addition to financial contributions, there are other ways you can support.
1. Be aware
The most impactful and considered way of supporting children and youth from refugee and migrant backgrounds is understanding the challenges they face. Follow us on social media or subscribe to our newsletter where we unpack these challenges. There are many other online educational resources – for example, here is a list of resources about refugee crisis that Amnesty International has compiled.
2. Make them feel welcome, heard and supported
If you notice a refugee or migrant family just moves to your neighbourhood, say hello and welcome them to the community. Show them around and share some tips about the area, including local services, events and attractions. Introduce them to other families.
You can also show your support by asking them “What can I do to help you?”, because everyone faces unique challenges and has different needs. Often kids from these families are left alone or have to take on adult responsibilities as their parents are busy navigating this new life or working. You can help them pick up grocery, watch their younger siblings, or cook a meal. If you speak their language, offer to translate legal or financial documents and accompany them to appointments.
3. Build their sense of community
You can make them feel included and form friendships by inviting them to social events or after-school sports. If there’s no community activities in your area, host a multi-cultural potluck, create a tree planting project, or plan regular family picnics/playdates.
If you are passionate about working with children and youth from refugee and migrant backgrounds, join our volunteer mentor squad! Any time you can spare, whether hours or days, helps prepare our kids for their future career, helps them build a sense of community and belonging, find their own voice and become the best version of themselves.
5. Raise awareness
You can help spread the word about issues affecting refugees and migrants by engaging with our content, talk about it on social media, and fundraise. It’s also important to discuss this topic with your friends, co-workers and family, and challenge their biases and prejudices. This helps promote the value of diversity and social inclusion, and encourage empathy and understanding in our community.
(1) Centre for Multicultural Youth, 2014, The CALD Youth Census Report 2014: The First Australian Census Data Analysis of Young People from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Backgrounds.
(2) Australian Institute of Family Studies, 2022, Understanding and defining loneliness and social isolation.