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

1 July 20200 comments

Refugee client supported into work and study

Syrian refugee Raed Hamoud Alshaar is leaving no stone unturned in his determination to establish a new life in Australia.

Since fleeing the horrors of the conflict in his homeland, the 23 year old has been working hard to secure his family’s future through study and work.

He is currently enrolled in the VCE at Box Hill Institute and has recently found a job at a warehouse in Keysborough.

Raed has a wife and daughter and is desperate to support them, so he is happy to combine work and study and put in long hours.

He has been supported by AMES Australia Case Manager Muhammad Raza, Work Broker Jane Tierney and AMES staff at Noble Park. 

He had to flee his home in Sweida, in south western Syria, in 2018 because of the conflict there.

“We had to leave because we had a war and so many problems. Also I couldn’t study and it was not safe for my wife and daughter,” Raed said.

After spending time in the relative safety of Erbil, in Iraq, Raed came to Australia as a refugee eight months ago under the Humanitarian Settlement Program (HSP) funded by the federal government’s Department of Social Services.

He was client of refugee and migrant settlement agency AMES Australia in Noble Park and studied English there as well as pre-employment course.

Raed is optimistic about his future and has been able to find work despite the COVID-19 crisis.

“I am very happy and grateful to be in Australia, where it is safe for my family. And I grateful for the opportunity to study and to work. I want support my family and also study so we can have a better future,” he said.


AMES student shares his story to mark Refugee Week

AMES Australia AMEP student and Congolese refugee Butoto Kifindo has marked refugee by writing an account of his life and sharing it with everyone at AMES. 

Butoto, pictured in the orange T-shirt, is an AMEP student at AMES’ Mildura site who is currently studying from home during the COVID-19 crisis along with some members of his family, who are also AMEP students.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, AMES Australia staff and students in Mildura had planned to celebrate the week with a gathering of students, teachers and volunteers sharing culture, food and stories.

However, during the pandemic, the celebration is being marked through the sharing of stories in writing. Here is Butoto’s story: 

“I was born in Congo but our family moved to Tanzania when I was five years old during the peak of the civil unrest in Congo.

My family was settled by UNHCR at Nyaruguso Refugee Camp in Kigoma, one of the largest refugee camps in Africa.

We were 10 in our family – my parents and 7 other siblings. I was educated at the camp and I finished Year 12.

I really enjoyed my childhood even if we did not have enough. I loved singing Gospel songs and playing soccer with my friends at the camp.

During special occasions like birthdays, my mum would make a special bread called “bugari” and some vegetables and meat.

When I was a boy, my dream was to work as a security guard because my father worked in the military before.

In December 2018, I was granted a refugee visa together with my younger brother, my twin sister and her family and we were settled in Mildura.

Apart from the climate and the red soil in Mildura, everything around me was different from Kigoma.

Life changed for the better for me and my family. For the first time my family and I lived in a house and we have decent furniture, including a fridge and a microwave.

None in our family could speak English then, so we mainly relied on the AMES Australia Community Guide to help us understand how to live in a different society.

As soon as we arrived, we enrolled in an AMEP class and I was very happy because I had the chance to learn English and I will no longer ask for my friends to interpret for me.

I started in the low level class. In a few months’ time I was moved to a Certificate 1 and now I’m in Certificate 2. I made it my goal to learn English well and fast as I cannot wait to get a job here in Australia. 

I’m still learning English now in a different way. My teacher is very good and she helps us to learn English using technology – ZOOM, WhatsApp, myAMES and workbooks.

Although I miss being at school with my friends, the new way of learning enabled me to complete my Security course at the same time learn English.

My brother says the same too. He works in the farm in the morning and attends Zoom sessions in the afternoon and do his homework in the evening.

As for celebrating Refugee Day, tonight, my sister and my wife will cook a special meal for the family and that will include a homemade “bugari, then we will sing our favourite Swahili and English songs. 

I am very thankful to the Australian government and to AMES for the help they have given not only to me and my family, but to all refugees who now live in Australia.

It’s because of the refugee program by UNHCR that many of us who thought that life in a camp was the best the world could offer are made to realise that there is a better life out there.

I will not waste the opportunity I have been given to make my family’s life and the life of many refugees around the world better. 

Thank you Australia!!!”


IPP program puts another refugee into work

Iraqi refugee client Mohammed Al-Aboosi has been supported into work through AMES Australia’s IPP-Building Skills of Work program.

Mohammed was referred to the Individualised Pathway Plan IPP) by his Settlement Case Manager Sui Len at the end of February when he expressed his interest in getting a job.

He attended an initial IPP appointment and said he was very keen to get into any kind of work despite having a Bachelor’s Degree in Dentistry and almost 10 years of work experience in his home country.

Mohammed said he was willing to work in farms, supermarkets and warehouses to support his family.

He was then assisted to get an early activation to Jobactive services by IPP staff and linked to AMES Employment in Werribee. Mohammed was also booked and agreed to participate in Refugee Mentoring Program consisting of an individualised and intensive mentoring program for refugee clients to assist with their career planning and pathways.

The IPP speeds up the settlement and employment journeys of refugees by identifying gaps between employer expectations and client’s current competencies and supporting them  to learn how to apply their skills and experience in the workplace.

The IPP also finds opportunities to upskill or reskill in the Australian Labour market as well as preparing refugees with knowledge and confidence to communicate in the workplace.

AMES Australia Work Broker Said Sultani said Mohammed showed great commitment and engaged in ACFE training as well as following up on job referrals.

He was assisted with his resume writing and interview techniques. He was referred to Cornerstone HR vacancies, participated in their Pre-Employment Program and secured casual employment as a warehouse worker.

He turned-up to work for his first shift on 5th May 2020 by car-pooling with another job seeker starting the same job.

“This shows that by hard work, commitment and guidance one can achieve goals in life!” said AMES Work Broker Prasant Modi.