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about 7 years ago

Themes and issues

Themes and issues

Themes identified by refugee young people (Source: SSI & Youth Collective The Global Refugee Youth Consultation Report - “Amplifying the voices of young people from refugee and asylum seeker backgrounds”)

Community awareness and understanding of refugee young people’s learning needs as well as health, social and other needs
Making new connections/meeting new people, fitting in
Hurdles of mental journey
Awareness and understanding of refugee young people’s learning needs as well as health, social and other needs
Having your overseas qualification recognised
Negative community perceptions
Parents: child safety and protection rules
Understanding new laws
Culture shock – Understanding the new society”

Access to education & supported learning, compounded by language barriers
Accessing tertiary education
Shortage of resources e.g to buy books and learning materials was another issue identified by young people
Overseas qualification and skills recognised
Difference in age between refugee students and Australian kids in same class
Parents: child safety and protection rules
Employment and jobs
Racism and Discrimination, mostly in schools
Shortage of resources e.g to buy books and learning materials was another issue identified by young people

Challenges for young people

Language support
Education and employment
More resources to support young people
Mentors from same background to help them navigate Australian systems
Counsellor to help adjust mentally to new country
Transport – car/recognition of overseas licenses
Various workshops – English Learning, local experience programs, assistance with bills
Connect individuals to family back home
Affordable and accessible housing
Access to healthcare support
Access to Legal information
Financial support
Human rights abuse faced by asylum seeker youth
A place where they belong
Extra co-curricular activities while studying

1. Safety & wellbeing
Most young people felt that support in the area of psychological health is often access by the head of the family but youth are less involved in this process.

There is a need for a range of services available to support young people with their mental and physical health. But most importantly, stigmatisation of the psychological support services is a big issue to young people.

Accessing mental health services is seen in a negative way culturally, which puts off young people from accessing support.

There are also other aspects of safety and wellbeing including sports, health life style, positive settlement experiences and many more that impact on the young person’s health and wellbeing.

2. Language acquisition
Many young people identified that one of the key issues of concern to them is access to education and supported learning, compounded by language barriers as one of them noted that maybe 50% of Intensive English Centre (IEC) students don’t feel ready to go to high school due to lack of confidence.

Young people mentioned on numerous occasions that the issues of language barrier relevant to local context links back to poor result in education experiences overall.

3. Community connection and links
Refugee young people noted that making new connections or meeting new people was very difficult as you were perceived strangely.

Young people also felt that they find it difficult to navigate the system due to lack of awareness of available systems, support and services e.g. Leisure activities refugee youth.

There is a need for connect groups that could help young people navigate the systems, make links to community and support them when needed.

4. Recognition of prior learning
Some young people stated that having your overseas qualification recognised presented too difficult to achieve in the context of Australia. There are those who came to Australia as University students, those who had completed university or other tertiary studies but having that properly assessed and recognised is quite expensive and ineffective leaving young people to struggle to transition into studies, employment or other positive activity.

There is a need for simplification of this process to say the lease.

5. Employment
The process of finding employment/job is too complicated and foreign for young people from refugee backgrounds.

Young people tell us there is a need for engaging in programs that support them to understand local job markets, linking to work placements for local work experience and post-employment support.

Overall, young people stressed the need for offering opportunities for young people to access education, better job prospects and career progression.

6. Identity & belonging

Young people found that discrimination and/or labelling, Bullying and racism were and still are major issues faced both at school and in the community.

Young people voiced a need for programs to foster acceptance in the society e.g establish Connect Groups to link young people with local community where they can share their stories.

One young person suggested there need a platform where young people could use articles, songs, art activities to provide awareness on experiences of those affected by this discrimination, racism and share positive experiences.

7. Knowledge of and access to support services

Young people felt that they find it difficult to access support they need specifically around legal services, social support, volunteering services, financial support services etc.

There is continued need for streamlined support services where young people can access 24/7 support should they need that information.


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