CatholicCare Expands Refugee Program in Blacktown

CatholicCare Expands Refugee Program in Blacktown

Thanks to a very generous donation from the Irish Famine Memorial Committee, a new program to help refugee families will begin later this year in Blacktown. Project Afriq will provide a space of safety and trust in which African and particularly Sudanese women can explore issues of parenting in a new culture.

The members of the Irish Famine Memorial Committee in Sydney see their involvement in refugee assistance as a contemporary expression of their founding intent: the well-being of women displaced from Ireland about 150 years ago as a result of the devastating famine.

Many of our existing African clients did not experience a peaceful childhood and adolescence in a family unit in their own countries. You could say that civil war robbed them of that experience. Men in the family were often away from home fighting in wars and then women and surviving male relatives spent many years in refugee camps. The first phase of the project enables participants to explore the memories of their childhood, painful as they may be.

Other topics to be explored are: individual human rights Australia in human relationships; domestic violence – where to report it and where to find support; relationships with authority figures e.g. the police and the practicalities of living in a dramatically different culture.

The involvement of ‘graduates’ of the refugee service in Mamre will be a feature of this program. Many of these women have moved into TAFE programs and earned certificates which have opened a rewarding career path for them.