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AMES volunteer recognised

30 May 20140 comments

Beth Dooleyx400AMES volunteer tutor Beth Dooley has been nominated for a Deakin Community Award for the work she does in Croydon’s community garden and among many of AMES Karen refugee students.

“Many of the Karen come to the garden and are supported by Beth,” said AMES VTP Coordinator Gitta Clayton.

In 2008 Beth first made contact with the newly arrived Myanmar refugee community settling in the Maroondah area and, through volunteering with AMES, began to help them learn English.

“She established a warm and caring relationship with them and soon discovered they loved to learn by doing, and the doing could easily be connected to their previous experience of farming and growing their own food,” Gitta said.

“Word spread – “Wednesday mornings, meet Beth at the local community garden”. Slowly the crops took on the character of their home country.” she said.

The gardening led to work experience opportunities with a local landscape business which had heard about reliable keen Karen workers. This has led to full time work for some.

The gardening also led to community sharing with other garden plot owners.

“Beth created not just a productive garden plot but a community connection space where all feel truly welcome and learning English has an edible outcome.” Gitta said.

For more information on this story, contact Gitta Clayton on: 9847 0405