Compelling news from the refugee and migrant sector
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

News from AMES Australia

28 February 20180 comments

AMES Australia SA staffer makes history

AMES Australia Client Support Worker Rupananda Roy has become the first woman from one of Bangladesh’s 50 ethnic minority communities to earn a doctorate.

She recently gained her PhD in Development Studies from the University of Adelaide.

Rupananda, an ethnic Chakma, who is part of AMES Australia’s Humanitarian Settlement program (HSP) team in South Australia, says she is in two minds about her historic achievement.

“Of course I feel good about having achieved this – being the first woman from my community to get a doctorate – but at the same time I’m thinking why did it take so long?” Rupananda said.

She came to Australia in 2009 on student scholarship and has always had an interest in the area of migration.

“I have always been interested in migration; voluntary or skilled migration and also in involuntary migration which many of our clients have experienced as refugees,” Rupananda said.

“And my PhD, which was titled ‘The Political Economy of Labour Migration from Bangladesh: Power, Politics and Contestation’, is consistent with this focus,” she said.

Rupananda says her work with AMES is also in keeping with this theme.

“My PhD was focused on some theoretical aspects of migration so now it’s refreshing and rewarding to be involved in the work that AMES does in providing practical support to new arrivals in Australia,” she said.

She says the choice of her thesis topic was sparked by trips back to Bangladesh.

“Whenever I would return home, I would see a large number of migrant workers queuing up at the immigration desk. We would get through easily, but they would have to wait interminably. They would be yearning to see their loved ones, and the wait was painful. I wanted to get to the bottom of this problem,” Rupananda said.

She said she wanted to thank her parents, her husband and her in-laws, as well as the Australian Government, for their support on her academic journey.

“My family and my husband and his family have been very supportive. Without this support, it can be quite difficult for women from my culture to pursue higher education,” Rupananda said.

She now plans to publish further articles and perhaps a book on labour migration in collaboration with her PhD supervisor.

Outside of work and academia, Rupananda has her hands full with her one-year-old daughter Pernita.


Getting a job a life-changer for AMES Australia client

AMES Australia client Vu Nguyen struggled for years to make a success of his life, even spending time locked up.

But his life has now turned around thanks to the support of AMES Australia staff at Preston.

Vu has been helped into a job in home maintenance and is looking forward to the future and he credits AMES Australia with the turn around.

“AMES Australia opened up every path for me. They helped me get my life together again. They assisted me with licences and work clothes for whatever I wanted to pursue,” Vu said this week.

“I didn’t know that a job service provider could ever provide this much help and assistance,” he said.

Vu said he was with another Jobactive provider before coming to AMES Australia.

“They didn’t give me much attention or care but when I went to AMES Australia, the first thing they asked me was, ‘how can we help you to find a job?’ AMES Australia actually listened to what I needed,” he said.

Vu says he is very happy and feels blessed.

“Everything is now different to me, I had to start from zero again. I tried out a few different types of jobs but they didn’t go too well. Finally I am happy in a secure job in the home maintenance industry,” he said.

Vu says he has discovered things about himself through the process of finding work.

“I found out that I have a high tolerance for whatever comes my way and hopefully I’ll be very busy at work in the future,” he said.


Geelong celebrates its rich cultural diversity

Pako Fetsa, regional Australia’s largest free multi-cultural celebration of diversity, took place in Geelong on Saturday February 24.

The 36th iteration of this unique, colourful event saw an all-day program of exhibitions, events, entertainment and food, representing 35 international communities living within the region.

Attracting over 100,000 spectators and participants, the huge street party was hosted by Diversitat, a Geelong-based, not-for-profit association, representing 40 affiliated ethnic groups and over 60,000 people of non-English speaking background in the Geelong region.

Held in Geelong’s ‘multicultural heart’ Pakington Street, Pako Festa was an outdoor spectacular featuring an enormous street parade with 80 floats representing Geelong’s diverse cultural mix.

After the parade, the street became a huge alfresco dining strip with a myriad of traditional international foods on offer.

This year, 36 separate communities came in a festive spirit together to celebrate their cultures and their common humanity.

The 2018 Diversitat Pako Festa was delivered by Diversitat and supported by major sponsors The Victorian State Government, Victorian Multicultural Commission, Channel 7 and the City of Greater Geelong.


AMES Australia volunteer shares his passion for helping

AMES Australia volunteer Karabet Baghdasar was the star speaker at a recent event focusing on youth volunteering in Melbourne’s south east.

Karabet told the ‘Youth Active-Citizenship Through Volunteering’ workshop at the Chisolm Institute in Dandenong how he has gained some good experience, new skills and improved communication skills through volunteering with AMES Australia.

He also told of his pride in trying to help people in the community through his volunteering and especially those who are newly arrived to Australia.

Karabet, originally from Iraq, told the gathering he encourages other young people to volunteer, saying it has had a very positive impact upon himself and on the people he meets every day.

“It makes really a broader network for you in the community and this will open many windows in the future,” Karabet told the workshop, held last October.

AMES Australia Youth Engagement Specialist Namatullah Qasmi said Karabet’s participation came as a result of AMES Australia’s great connection with the City of Greater Dandenong council and its Youth Services.

“We have been working together to support young people in South East of Melbourne.” Namatullah said.

Namatullah worked with AMES Australia Volunteer Coordinators Lisa Accadia and Koonie Karinsen to identify Karabet as a potential speaker.

“It was really an honour to have Karabet with us at the event. Of course, it was not easy for someone to speak in front of hundreds of people for the first time but Karabet presented an excellent speech,” he said.

“He was very confidant and absolutely fantastic with sharing his personal experience being a volunteer at AMES Australia.

“He said, it felt great to contribute as AMES Australia helped him with his settlement when he arrived in Australia and started learning English at AMES Australia Noble Park; and now the organisation has given him the opportunity to begin volunteering,” Namatullah said.



Laurie Nowell
AMES Australia Senior Journalist