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The Common Social – Our Most Exciting Campaign Yet

Did you know that coffee can change lives?

Here at Tomorrow Foundation, we’re all for equal opportunities and every week we have a team of volunteers that help bring this vision to life. Tomorrow Foundation has successfully established Victoria’s first Refugee Migrant Children Centre where kids can learn and develop various knowledge, life skills and become empowered members of our diverse community. Our programs receive no government funding and are operated by volunteer mentors and administrative staff. But this time, we need a bit of extra help.

Tomorrow Foundation has already succeeded in helping young kids break the barriers of disadvantage at school. The Common Social cafe project is our next step to help these kids transition to the working world. We are planning to launch a social enterprise café – The Common Social - that will provide hands-on training, work experience, support and guidance to refugee, migrant and asylum seeker youth predominately between the ages of 15-19 years. The Common Social will enable these young individuals to build a place for themselves in the workforce and the community, through training and network building.
Why refugee and migrant youth?

Young people suffer the highest unemployment rates across the whole of Australia. Unfortunately, of this 15-19-year-old age group, those from lower socio-economic backgrounds and newly arrived migrants are the groups that suffer from an even greater disparity in unemployment rates. Across the city of Maribyrnong, Braybrook has the highest rate of youth unemployment at 29.8% - nearly one-third of youth - and this is closely followed by Footscray, West Footscray and Maidstone.

Recent studies showed that “adolescent refugee and migrants often experience unemployment at higher levels than other young people”. They are likely to encounter employment barriers such as low literacy, limited social networks and insufficient access to support and information. Tailored to these needs, Tomorrow Foundation will offer programs through the Common Social to eligible individuals to help them overcome these barriers.

Why a café?

Cafes and restaurants are Australia’s largest employing industry sector and this is only expected to grow in the future. This can surely be attributed to Melbourne’s foodie culture and our love of coffee! A café will offer an excellent opportunity for youth to get the hands-on experience and support that they otherwise wouldn’t have access to. The programs will include but not be limited to Coffee and Food Handlers course and accreditation, guidance sessions with industry mentors, paid work experience opportunities, resume writing and interview skills workshops and English Language classes.

As well as providing this support to disadvantaged youth, cafes are typically a place associated with social inclusion and interaction. In Australian culture, cafes have become a popular meetup venue where people can chat with friends over a hot cup of coffee. The Common Social will also act as a social hub for youths and multicultural community of the area. Social inclusion and relationship building is so important to thriving in any community.

Another advantage of opening a café is that it operates as a business. As a social enterprise, the project ensures self-sustainability through reinvestment of profits into Tomorrow Foundation programs, as well as allowing more participants to experience the hospitality industry first hand. Profits from the Common Social can help us to keep building better futures for refugee and migrant children and youth within Victoria.


How can you get involved?

We have got heaps planned for this campaign. During the next 60 days, you can expect to see a pop-up coffee cart where we’ll be serving up some delicious coffee, we’ll be running a takeaway coffee cup design competition for budding designers to have their work plastered all across town plus loads more stuff for you all to get involved in. You can keep up to date with all events related to the campaign through our social media pages – Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

You can also donate directly to our online crowd funding campaign. Every $50 donated to the campaign will generate enough money to support one child within our programs indefinitely so you know you’re money is being well spent.

If you’ve already donated or you’re unable to donate at this point in time, don’t worry because you can still get involved. Spread the word, tell your friends and family, share the campaign and don’t forget to tag #CoffeeInCommon. Together we can bring this incredible idea to fruition and make a difference to children’s lives in more ways than one.

Click below to visit the campaign

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Malala Yousafzai spends 19th Birthday at world’s largest refugee camp

Image courtesy of Associated Press

Nearing the end of your teenage years is usually a cause for celebration, our defiant teenage years have (hopefully) come to pass, high school graduation has become a distant memory and we are faced with decisions and new expectations that were once, rather simplistic.

Malala Yousafzai chose to spend her 19th birthday at the world's largest refugee camp. During her time in the Dadaab refugee camp, Kenya, Yousafzai voiced her concern that Kenya's plans to close the camp could result in worsening circumstances for those residing in the camp.

The Kenyan Government has announced decisions to close the Dadaab refugee camp by the conclusion of this year, claiming the situation has become a security liability.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Yousafzai reaffirmed her commitment to highlighting the plight of refugees and said returning any of the 300, 000 refugees to Somalia should be voluntary.

"They should not be forced to move," the advocate for girls' education said in an interview with The Associated Press.

The complex opened in 1991, as a temporary shelter for those seeking refuge from civil war. Due to prolonged unrest and violence, the camp has become a virtual city.

Kenyan's interior minister spokesman, Mwenda Njoka, has denied allegations that Kenya would be 'dumping' the refugees back in Somali and has taken measures to assure humane resettlement on 10,000 acres north of Kismayo.

"I am here to speak for my unheard sisters of Somalia striving for education every day,"

Malala arrived at the camp on her birthday to draw attention to the refugee crisis and highlight the detriment of neglecting female education.

Words by Lucy Davidson

A conversation on the refugee experience

(Image source: https://www.multicultural.vic.gov.au/resources/news/news/346)

In celebration of Refugee week 2016, the Victorian Multicultural Commission organised a discussion event on the social, economic and cultural benefits of our humanitarian arrivals in Victoria. The event was hosted by chairperson and noted Australian journalist Helen Kapalos. Guest speakers for the evening were Hugh de Krester, Sam Almaliki, Barakat Rezaie and Nyadol Nyuon.

Read more "A conversation on the refugee experience"

End of term 2. That was a blast!

In March 2016, we opened our doors to Victoria’s first Refugee Migrant Children Centre in Footscray. Term 2 of this school year saw us launch our independently run programs and launch 6 key partnerships with referring organisations in the community.

Our Learning Support Program (LSP) runs every Wednesday at 4pm and aims to  overcome both educational and social barriers. The first 45 minutes of the program focuses on educational needs such as reading, comprehension, numeracy and homework. The last 15 mins of the session is dedicated to social engagement through games and bonding time.

Some of the games available are Twister, puzzles, and Snakes & Ladders. Also my personal favourite, Uno! Some children become restless easily whilst learning, thus we’re well-prepared with snack time! Chocolate muesli bars seem to be the children’s favourite, with the classic Le Snak not far behind.

Some children are there because they need the assistance with their learning. Others are more confident with their learning and requires assistance with their social development. These are some of the issues faced, and the programs are tailored to their individual needs,” says Bobby, Tomorrow Foundation’s Project Manager.

Our monthly workshops focus on fun out-of-school activities, building knowledge and various life skills. We believe in equipping the children with the right tools to help them engage with one another and develop various skills.

As an introvert at the age of six socialising wasn’t something I enjoyed so much, however excitement always arises within the children when a workshop is coming up and they always feed of each others energy. Our first workshop, a basketball clinic, aimed to get our children active and build endurance. It was great to see the quieter children come out of their shells! Also the Hip Hop dance workshop that was held last month was a big hit and had everyone dancing like professionals by the end!

‘Bricks 4 Kidz’ will be running our next workshop in July. The workshop is based around building basic engineering skills in a fun and dynamic environment using Lego. ‘Bricks 4 Kidz’ build models designed by engineers and architects with various exciting themes such as space, super heroes and amusement parks. This will provide an opportunity for the children to express their creativity and be innovative.

The RMCC team is also currently developing a school holiday program. It will be four action packed days spread over two weeks, with the program being an extension of our monthly workshops. Each day will have different activities allocated - with morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea to break the day up. As always parents’ are engaged in developing our school holiday program, with them having a big influence on what the children get out of our programs. We’ve been consulting and working with them in developing the program and they are just as excited about it commencing as we are!

These programs are not made possible without our dedicated team of volunteers. Our children are constantly learning, and most importantly enjoying themselves whilst doing so.

Looking forward to another exciting term!