STARTING SCHOOL IN A NEW COUNTRY TAKES
Over 2,000 children from refugee and migrant backgrounds start school in Victoria every year, at both primary and secondary school levels.
It’s not just the school that’s different.
The language, culture, education system, friends and expectations are usually different too.
And if you have gaps in your prior education, or experiences of trauma and financial hardship, it’s harder still.
YOU CAN MAKE THEIR FIRST DAY
You can write a note to a child starting school, encouraging them for the year ahead and letting them know you believe in them.
We’ll put it into the backpack of learning materials that we provide to hundreds of kids from refugee and migrant backgrounds each year, to ensure they’re not at a material disadvantage to their classmates.
The child that receives your note of encouragement will be excited to read your words and know that there’s someone in their community cheering them on.
How will you write your note?
- Keep your note simple and within one page. Often simple messages mean the most.
- Remember that refugees come from a variety of backgrounds and aren’t refugees forever. Don’t assume anything about their faith or culture. Keep it light and focus on encouragement and support.
- Avoid writing ‘welcome to Australia’ because some kids might have been in Australia for a while already.
- Presume they speak English; most of the kids RMCC supports are bilingual or trilingual!
- Create as many notes as you like, and encourage others to get involved. We have hundreds of kids we want to reach.
- Have fun! Feel free to decorate your note or add pictures to it. The brighter, the better!
RMCC (Refugee Migrant Children Centre) is a Victorian not-for-profit organisation supporting school-aged kids from refugee and migrant backgrounds to overcome the barriers they face as they settle into life in Australia. These barriers can include learning a new language, adjusting to a new culture, overcoming significant gaps in education, and living with experiences of trauma, racism and financial hardship.
Providing necessary learning materials and building kids’ confidence and sense of belonging is just a small part of RMCC’s work. We provide ongoing support through weekly after-school mentoring programs that are tailored to kids’ evolving needs. By working with the key figures in a child’s life – their school, teachers, family, community – we create a network of support to help the kids achieve positive educational and social outcomes.
THESE NOTES WILL HELP THEM TO FEEL CONNECTED TO THEIR NEW HOME.
IT’S ALSO A WAY OF CHEERING THEM ON TO VENTURE INTO THEIR DREAMS, THEIR PASSIONS, ALL THE THINGS THEY WANT TO DO IN SCHOOL.”
Soheila and Vivian
RMCC Program Leaders