Decade celebrated Ben Smith
MILESTONE FOR SETTLEMENT PROGRAM
SAVE The Children’s It Takes a Village program has celebrated 10 years of helping refugees settle in Australia.
The program has been operating in Perth’s southeast metropolitan region since 2007 and has helped about 2500 people in the Gosnells and Armadale area feel comfortable in their new home since it began.
Regional manager Liza Beinart said establishing social connections was critical to immigrants feeling at ease in their new home.
“Once families have a connection to somebody who lives outside the family home, there is an ability to solve problems which doesn’t exist otherwise,” she said.
“Whether that be an issue around domestic violence, their children being bullied at school, not understanding how to read a recipe or how to take money out of the bank, if you have a friend you can phone who can assist you, it increases wellbeing enormously.”
Ms Beinart said women in particular struggled to adapt.
“The women in particular are extremely socially isolated. It’s very difficult for them to navigate public transport by themselves, enrol their children in schools, communicate with their teachers, deal with the trauma they’ve experienced and make friends and social networks,” she said.
Ms Beinart said she found it personally rewarding to be a part of the program and share in the joy of each new success.
“I find it extraordinary to see each person’s individual story a success, whether that ends up in them joining nursing, just becoming more confident in English or navigating a bus system by themselves so they can go visit a friend,” she said.
It Takes a Village volunteers and participants at their 10th anniversary celebrations.