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

29 January 20180 comments

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


From refugee to Park Ranger 

A young refugee and former AMES Australia client has recently been appointed as a full time Ranger with Parks Victoria, in what is believed to be an Australian first.

Hsar Thein is originally from Burma and now part of Werribee’s local Karen community.  He arrived in Australia eight years ago at the age of 16, after growing up in a refugee camp on the Thailand Burma order.

Through a partnership program between AMES Australia and Parks Victoria, which supports young refugees, Hsar started at Werribee Park four years ago as a horticultural Internship student.

A keen gardener and hard worker, he excelled in both his work and studies, as well as showing exceptional practical and leadership qualities. This led to Parks Victoria offering him a traineeship for the next three ears.

After recently completing his traineeship, Hsar successfully applied for a ranger role.

“His journey from refugee to Park Ranger in such a short time is an outstanding achievement,” said Area Chief Ranger at Werribee Park, James Brincat, who’s been a mentor and supporter for Hsar.

Hsar’s new role as ranger will focus on developing links between local communities and horticulture programs

“Getting a full time job as a ranger is a dream come true. Working with nature – with plants and wild animals – is my passion and I’m very grateful for this opportunity,” Hsar said.


AMES 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 helping 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 be volunteers, 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.

“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.


AMES students learn to play and coach softball

Students from AMES Australia’s Werribee centre participated in a series of events run by Softball Australia as part of their ‘Strike Out Barriers to Sport through Softball’ project.

Funded by the Victorian Government and held in the last term on 2017, the aim of the project was to give the students the skills to be part of softball clubs and coaching groups and also to give them opportunities to participate in the wider community into the future while keeping fit.

First up there was an information session at the school, where students learnt about the game. Then, students went to the Werribee Softball Association fields for two sessions.

They learnt the skills needed to play softball – warming up, catching, throwing, batting, running bases and fielding – and then they played a game.

This program was run over two constructive, fun days organised and facilitated by people from a number of organisations.

Thanks to: Tim from Softball Australia who was the organiser/photographer; trainers Jenny from Softball Victoria and Jo from Softball Australia; staff from Wyndham City Council who ferried the students in buses to and from the softball club and John, Jake, ay and Shaun from the Werribee Softball Association who generously opened their club rooms and playing field for the students.

One of the students has already decided to play softball with the club in 2018.


AMES represented at African cultural festival

Staff members from across the organisation helped to run a stall at the African Cultural and Music Festival, as part of AMES Australia’s sponsorship of the annual festival.

The African Music and Cultural Festival is the largest annual African festival in Australia, showcasing an amazing array of vibrant music, dancing, diverse arts, cultural performances and authentic African food that transports visitors to Africa.

Having a presence at the popular event at Federation Square on December 9 was a good opportunity to promote our educational, employment and settlement services available to people from CALD backgrounds.

As a free, family-friendly event, visitors came from far and wide to enjoy the atmosphere.

Many thanks to the staff who volunteered to run the stall on the day. With such a wide variety of expertise on hand no questions from visitors to the stall were left unanswered!



Laurie Nowell
AMES Australia Senior Journalist