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

22 June 20190 comments

Refugee Week event celebrates refugee businesses 

AMES Australia and not-for-profit microfinance organisation Thrive staged an event at Federation Square this week to showcase the talents of refugee entrepreneurs.

Titled ‘Thriving’, the Refugee Week event was a result of the two organisations collaborative work supporting refugees to find work, educational pathways and to start businesses.

In the past two years we have seen hundreds of businesses started by refugees in Melbourne and Sydney.

Featured at the event were refugee entrepreneurs: Barat Ali Batoor, a freelance photographer; Rastegar Fathi, who runs the Chubby Chef Kebab Shop; Iman Tajirishi, the owner of Aryan Hair Salon; and, Mojtaba Paktinat, pet grooming and training provider.

Performing on the main stage at Federation Square was South Sudanese singer, songwriter Ajak Kwai.

AMES Australia CEO Cath Scarth said refugees were more likely to start businesses than other migrants or native-born Australians.

“We have supported a significant number of our refugee clients to start their own businesses to achieve economic participation and independence. In many cases they have started businesses when they have been unable to find permanent and durable employment,” Cath said.

The most common areas of refugee enterprise were: retail, retail hospitality (restaurants), catering, carpentry, clothes making, tiling, painting, salvage, dog walking, home maintenance, transport-freight, transport-personal, photography and labouring contracts.


PVaW graduates recognised

The 65 visionary multicultural leaders who have graduated from the Prevention of Violence against Women (PVaW) Leadership course are being recognised for their achievements in creating positive social change. 

For the past five years AMES Australia has joined with culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities in a specific program of work to contribute to the prevention of violence against women.  

In 2017, this was enriched by joining with White Ribbon Australia in a two year project to support the graduates of the AMES Australia’s leadership course to implement some of the ideas and actions they developed in the course.  

The graduates have been doing prolific advocacy work in communities across Australia to change the narrative and show that violence is not a fixed part of any culture. 

This has included the distribution of multilingual postcards, media interviews, videos, events and many other important activities.

All of this positive work was be recognised on Friday 31 May at a celebratory event in Melbourne paying tribute to the incredible passion and determination of the PVaW graduates to change attitudes towards violence in their own communities and wider Australia society. 

Wendy Lobwein Senior Manager Prevention of Violence against Women said globally six women are killed every hour by someone they know.  We know Australia contributes to this global number. 

“Violence against women occurs in all cultures and linguistic groups, and these diverse leaders are saying we need cultural change, by individuals, by communities, as a nation and globally.  They are part of the change”, Wendy said.