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

5 March 20190 comments

Minister launches AMES Australian refugee book

Victoria’s Multicultural Affairs Minister Richard Wynne recently launched AMES Australia’s new book ‘Refugee Stories: In Their Own Words’ at a media event in Fitzroy.

The Minister congratulated AMES Australia on the book and on the work the organisation does in supporting migrants and refugees to settle in Australia.

The book tells heart-wrenching and inspirational stories of refugees who have found safety and built a new life in Australia.

It is a collection of first-hand accounts of dozens of refugees who have fled conflict or persecution and begun new lives here.

In thanking Minister Wynne, AMES CEO Cath Scarth told the launch event that AMES Australia was proud to be part of the effort to support new arrivals to Australia.

“With current events in mind, I think the book is timely. We at AMES Australia believe refugees make a unique contribution to Australia and it is important to share the incredible human stories that stem from the largest human displacement crisis in history,” Cath said.

“But the reason refugees come to Australia is not primarily to work and contribute to our economy – although they do – it is because they are in need of protection,” she said.

“For them to remain in their homelands means being subjected violence, persecution or worse.

“So, it’s important that we continue to support and protect our refugee program and promote it to the world,” Cath said.

Funds raised by the sale of the book will go to support refugees and asylum seekers in need.



Campaign to end family violence launched

AMES Australia is launching a suite of powerful digital works to advocate for the prevention of violence against women and children in culturally and linguistically diverse communities on the eve of International Women’s Day.

The advocacy works have been created by community leaders who have participated in AMES Australia’s Prevention of Violence against Women (PVaW) in CALD communities’ course.

The PVaW course equips individuals from culturally and linguistically diverse communities with the knowledge, understanding and skills to lead actions in violence prevention strategies in their communities, workplace and everyday life.

The resources are available to individuals to distribute within their communities and carry the message that everyone can be a part of ending family violence.

The works include a collection of multilingual postcards and a powerful spoken word video developed by community leaders to empower their own communities to speak up and be a part of the change.

AMES Australia Senior Manager Prevention of Violence against Women program, Wendy Lobwein, runs the PVaW leadership course and has been working with course graduates to develop these resources and coordinate the launch event.

“Services to women and children experiencing violence have been provided in Australia since the mid-seventies, however it has only been over the past 10 years that Australia has been at the cutting edge in developing and trialling actions to prevent violence against women (PVAW), before it occurs.  The focus however has been primarily directed to the general community, without tailoring strategies and information to ensure relevance to culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities,” Ms Lobwein said.



Refugee finally finds a life in music

Former AMES Australia client and Iranian refugee Hadi Mohammadi has carved out a “dream role” for himself playing and teaching music to residents in care homes in Melbourne’s north.

Hadi, who was part of AMES Australia’s ‘Voices Without Borders’ choir, struggled to find work in Australia after fleeing his homeland in 2013.

He was jailed and tortured by the Iranian regime for playing western music and offered the choice of either giving up his dream of carving a career and a life out of playing the saxophone or risk ending up in jail – or worse.

The crackdown on secular music by the authorities in his homeland – and the fact that he had been arrested and locked up several times – left Hadi no choice but to gather his family and flee.

Hadi and his wife and child caught a plane to Indonesia and found a people smuggler to take them to Australia by boat.

“I could not stay in Iran after the government cracked down on musicians. The only places we could play were in underground venues – sometimes literally in cellars,” Hadi said.

“I am a musician – it is all I know how to do. Once I had been arrested a couple of times I was a marked man for the government. I knew they might come for me at any time,” he said.

After gaining a work placement at a nursing home through AMES Australia, Hadi has secured regular work as an activities officer, mostly teaching and playing music.

“I love my work and the residents have become like family. I’m very happy, my work means I can help people and play music,” he said.

He has even taught one 82-year-old resident to play solo piano.