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Why We Do What We Do: the RMCC story

Making new friends, keeping up with the curriculum and feeling understood in a classroom of 30+ are all common struggles we experience when growing up. But for refugee and migrant children this is just the beginning.

Every year, 2,000 children from all corners of the globe are resettled in Victoria. This is their chance to start a fresh and create their own opportunities — but it doesn’t come without its challenges.

Language barriers, social changes and education indifferences can all trigger an overwhelming sense of detachment and insecurity.

“There is limited understanding and knowledge about the unique challenges refugee children and youth face once in their new country of settlement, making it a silent battle they are facing with inadequate short to long-term services to help them overcome these barriers and reach their full potential”
— Alice Wojcik, CEO and Founder of RMCC.

It’s because of this, RMCC exists. Together with our amazing network of volunteers and supporters, we tackle the unique barriers faced during the settlement journey to help make sure no kid is left behind.

Our Impact

From humble beginnings in 2012 to now, RMCC has empowered over 650 kids across multiple programs that target 4 specific areas: education, identity and belonging, life skills, and mental health and wellbeing.

These target areas create confidence, increase independence and prioritise wellbeing, so that a sense of belonging, value and identity can be developed within their direct and greater communities.

“You can see something shifts in the kids after some time with RMCC. Often, I first see them struggling with their challenges or reality, but over time they start gaining hope and looking to the future knowing they can become the best versions of themselves, and can take on or become anything” — Alice Wojcik

Why We Need Your Help

It’s black and white. We need your help because we know we’re making a huge difference to the lives of refugee and migrant children, and physically don’t have the capacity to reach more.

By joining in with our 30by30 campaign this month, you can help us get at least 30 children off our waiting list, and enrolled into programs that will help them develop a true sense of belonging.

Click here to learn how you can get involved — from hosting a school or corporate fundraising event, to becoming a regular donor or contributing a one-off donation, there are so many ways you can help!

5 Steps to Make Your School More Inclusive

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More than a quarter of Australians are born overseas, making Australia one of the most multicultural countries in the world. With so many new Australians, many of us are eager to make our society more welcoming, but might not know where to start.

Inclusion in the classroom and the schoolyard are vitally important for kids who are arriving in Australia at a formative time of their lives, as well as for their families who are getting their bearings in a new country. Luckily, there are plenty of things you can do to help them settle in.

1. Do your research. Spend some time developing knowledge about the different cultural backgrounds of children in your school, to help guide your approach to new students. Be mindful that within every group is a rich tapestry of difference and it’s still crucial to treat students as individuals, rather than representatives of their culture.

2. Use plain English and large print. By using plain English on handouts, notices to parents and classroom displays, you’re making sure you have the best chance of communicating with everyone. Plain English is not only easier for English learners to understand, but also has the advantage of accommodating students and parents with different learning abilities.

3. Where you can, offer an interpreter. Offering a professional interpreter to students’ parents can help increase their involvement and help them to feel part of the school community. It’s also thoughtful to offer an ‘open door’ policy, setting aside certain hours for parents and carers to come in and share their thoughts and concerns.

4. Teach kids about our diverse community. Use classroom projects as an opportunity to expose students to other cultures and the fascinating ways different people live and express themselves. Some project ideas include: asking students to interview members of the community, starting a book club with texts from a variety of sources, or establishing a pen pal program with other children overseas.

5. Instill the idea of social responsibility. Encourage students to understand their rights and the power they have as citizens to advocate for the kind of world they want to live in. Teaching kids to write letters to politicians, attend community meetings or run small-scale fundraisers for causes they believe in helps them to feel confident in their ability to shape a future that includes everyone.

The items on this list are just a starting point – ultimately making your school a caring, welcoming environment for new Australians is a collaborative project that requires everyone’s help to succeed, but there is still plenty we can do as individuals. T

he schoolyard can be a big, scary place for a young person in a new country, and it can be the little things that make it that bit easier to feel at home!

Back to school with the tools to succeed!

Our annual back to school drive has ensured over 120 kids started 2018 with the right tools they need succeed at school.

With many individuals, businesses, schools and community groups banding together over the last few months we've been able to help more kids then ever at this time of year. Unfortunately, demand has been higher than expected, meaning that there are still kids going to school without the basics.

Back to school costs can be a stressful time for most families, but for some it isn't even possible to send their child to school with the basics. One of the kids that received a school pack this year is a bright young man who has been working hard at learning the English language and catching up at school. His teachers say he's extremely bright and want to help him realise his dream of finishing his VCE in the next few years. But this kid didn't even have a pen he could bring to school.

That's why this annual RMCC initiative is pivotal in the success of kids realising their potential, because if you don't even a pen or exercise book to do your work within then how are you going to keep up with your peers at school or achieve your dreams?

To everyone that has supported this initiative, we thank you for making an important difference to the lives of these kids. It has been so exciting to watch these come together and overwhelming recognising the amount of support we have received.

Shout out to the following legends!

  • Green Collect
  • Visy Carer's Hub of Brimbank
  • Altona KMART
  • Officeworks Footscray
  • Officeworks Yarraville
  • Officeworks Richmond
  • Officeworks Altona North
  • Officeworks Maribyrnong
  • Brenbeal Children's Centre
  • Footscray City Primary School
  • Derrimut Coles
  • Surf Dive 'n' Ski Emporium
  • RMCC office staff and volunteers
  • All individual or anonymous donors!

Thanks for the support and for changing these kid's lives. We can't wait to make next year even bigger and better!!

Crime in Victoria

CRIME IN VICTORIA. LET’S LOOK AT THE FACTS.

CRIME IN VICTORIA. LETS LOOK AT THE FACTS.

In recent times, there has been a lot of talk about migrant communities and their over representation in crimes being committed in Victoria.

This has created a backlash against some of our communities from diverse backgrounds living in Victoria, such as the Sudanese and Somalian communities. Sources such as the media have been shaping people's opinion on crimes, often driven by emotion rather than facts, and pointing to certain communities rather than addressing the larger issue as a whole.

As a result, the general Australian public are forming bias involuntarily, with it almost becoming automatic to our senses that the moment we hear the word crime, we correlate that to a whole community based on ethnicity rather than to those individuals guilty of committing these unwanted offences.

So, what do the statistics say? 

  • The overall crime rate in Victoria fell to 6.2% in the last year, the biggest drop in 12 years
  • Among the crimes committed in 2017, people born in Sudan only make up 6% of recorded offences, compared with 71.5% born in Australia and 5.2% born in New Zealand
  • For some offences, proportionally numbers for these groups do indicate a higher offending rate
  • Statistics show a Victorian is 25 times more likely to be seriously assaulted by someone born in Australia or New Zealand than someone of African descent
  • 2015 report on racial bias by Victoria Police found young people born outside Australia are routinely stopped by police due to racial profiling

Why do these stats matter?

These statistics (taken from Victoria's Crims Statistic Agency) illustrate that migrant community over-representation in media is exaggerated and misleading. However, calls for harsher punishments and even deportation have materialised a negative narrative that seeks to blame and neglect youth from diverse backgrounds within our community based on their ethnicity, rather than support and guide those committing crimes toward positive pathways to adulthood. Rather than turning to these reactive “solutions” post-offence, it is far more sustainable for the wellbeing of everyone in our Victorian community to highlight preventative solutions that will facilitate meaningful change.

Moving forward

The situation occurring in Victoria today is as an opportunity to recognise the disadvantage and hardship of certain groups within our community, and acknowledge that we need a long-term solution of understanding, acceptance and support.

As Ahmed Hassan, Director of Youth Activating Youth perfectly sums up "We seemingly don’t have an African gang problem – what we do have is young people who are disadvantaged, who are disengaged, a young cohort who are coming together that are causing this mischievous activity”.

Therefore, for young groups, community or educational engagement is vital. Conversely, for the wider community, education and awareness are crucial to combat misunderstanding and unfair bias against certain groups within our community. Discussions about any group should always include an open dialogue about the countries and circumstances that many of our migrant groups have faced and the hardships that exist post-settlement, such as PTSD and isolation.

Your role?

Let’s change the conversation. No cultural background condones crime and it is misleading tying a whole demographic with the words crime or gang.

Such efforts toward engagement and awareness will assist us in identifying circumstances that may affect certain youth in Victoria. As a community, let’s move past the emotive reactions of frustration, misunderstanding and resentment and start to dig deeper together to create proactive and sustainable change.

For more info:

https://www.crimestatistics.vic.gov.au/media-centre/news/correction-of-country-of-birth-data-incorrectly-reported-and-attributed-to-the

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/jan/03/is-melbourne-in-the-grip-of-african-gangs-the-facts-behind-the-lurid-headlines

https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Joint/Migration/settlementoutcomes/Report/section?id=committees%2freportjnt%2f024098%2f25141

https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Joint/Migration/settlementoutcomes/Report/section?id=committees%2freportjnt%2f024098%2f25141

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/jul/14/racial-discrimination-and-harassment-still-rife-in-victoria-police-study-finds

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-01-02/street-gangs-are-a-problem-in-melbourne-police-admit/9297984