Compelling news from the refugee and migrant sector
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News from AMES Australia

1 September 20170 comments

Read about the latest news, research and initiatives from migrant and refugee settlement agency AMES Australia…

UNHCR visits AMES Footscray

The UNHCR’s Representative in Lebanon Ms Mireille Girard visited AMES Australia’s Footscray centre last week and met with staff and clients.

Ms Girard was on a week-long visit to Australia to see first-hand the progress of refugees referred for resettlement after seeking refuge in Lebanon. She was accompanied by the UNHCR’s representative in Australia Mr Thomas Albrecht.

The group visited an employment job club and toured the education facilities at Footscray.

They also met settlement staff and, over afternoon tea, discussed Australia’s refugee settlement programs with AMES Australia CEO Cath Scarth.

Ms Girard and Mr Albrecht met a group of Syrian and Iraqi refugee clients who talked about their journeys and settlement experiences in Melbourne.

The group told Ms Girard and Mr Albrecht that coming to Australia had given them a chance to rebuild their lives and that they had been overwhelmed at the welcome they received.

The visit was part of AMES Australia’s strategy to engage with local and international agencies in the settlement/humanitarian sector to make them aware of the work we do and to discuss ways to improve outcomes for our clients.

AMES volunteer honoured by AFL for community work

An Iraqi refugee and AMES Australia volunteer has been recognised by the AFL for his community work.

Osama Butti was honoured as the Carlton Football Club’s ‘Community Champion’ during the AFL’s Toyota AFL Multicultural Round for his work as a volunteer with AMES Australia working with refugee communities in Melbourne’s north.

Mr Butti and his family attended the Carlton vs Geelong match at Etihad Stadium as a special guest.

“I was very honoured and humbled to be recognised and it was a great experience to go to the game,” he said.

AMES Australia CEO said Mr Butti’s work with refugee communities embodied the desire most refugees have to contribute to Australia.

“Osama is typical of so many of the refugees we see. They are all grateful to be here and want to give back to the nation that has given them a safe haven,” Ms Scarth said.

Carlton Football Club Community and Diversity Officer Matthew de Poilly said the Multicultural Round gave the opportunity to celebrate the diverse cultures that make up AFL.

Mr Butti and his family fled Iraq in 2016 after life became intolerable for he and his family. As Christians, they were the target of threats by extremists.

“After the dramatic circumstances when ISIS entered my country, a lot of things came to the surface. There was a fear among a lot of people in my country, especially the Christians, of what would happen,” Mr Butti said.

Mr Butti said he was happy to volunteer to help others because he and his family have been given “a second chance” in Australia.

Refugee grateful for the opportunity to shine

An Iraqi refugee is carving out a new life for herself in Australia through work and study.

Dalal, 24, arrived in Geelong with her parents in December last year on a humanitarian visa. She had spent six years living in Syria after being forced to flee her home in Iraq.

Despite the dangerous security situation and social challenges in Syria, Dalal managed to complete a Diploma of Business Management with an international education institution.

She also worked as a sales developer at an international banking equipment company in Syria, and also volunteered at a local community centre in Damascus, teaching English to refugees.

Now in Australia, she has recently received a HEPPP Support Scholarship to support her in studying a Bachelor of Commerce degree at Deakin University. She has also just completed a Certificate III in Hospitality and is currently doing placement work at a local café.

Dalal says she is grateful for the opportunities she has in Australia and also to staff at Diversitat, in Geelong, who have helped along the way.

“Despite the difficulties that I faced in starting a new life in a different country and speaking a different language, in three months I was able to start studying Bachelor of Commerce at Deakin which was my dream,” she said.

Volunteers recognised for helping to restore Kororoit Creek

AMES Australia volunteers from Somalia who have helped in a conservation project at Kororoit Creek in Melbourne’s west were recently celebrated at a graduation day.

‘Revegetating the Kororoit Creek, Sunshine Project’, a partnership between AMES Australia, Melbourne Water and Conservation Volunteers Australia, saw the volunteers clear weeds and revegetate the area with native plants.

Eight Somali migrants and AMES Australia volunteers participated in the project over a 17 week period.

Their hard work was celebrated at a graduation held in the area along the Kororoit Creek that the team has been helped to restore.

Izumi Ishikawa from Conservation Volunteers Australia said it had been a pleasure working with the volunteers from AMES Australia.

“The volunteers have just been simply amazing to get to know and to work with,” Izumi said.

AMES Australia volunteer Khalid Osman, who spoke at the graduation on behalf of the volunteers, said the program had helped them to form valuable connections to the local community.