Young people in transition from school to work find it hard enough, but when you throw a new country, a new language and trauma into the mix it can seem insurmountable.
To help those struggling, the Refugee Youth Mentoring Program is being set up in Wagga to match local refugee youth with peer mentors that can help them.
The program is youth-led, meaning that an Advisory Group of representatives from the Yazidi, Afghan, Burmese and African communities have been engaged in helping to identify and design the program.
Abbas Ali, one of the members of the RYMP advisory committee, was born in Afghanistan, but his family had to flee to Pakistan due to the civil war.
After coming to Australia in 2015, Mr Ali has worked hard to study and give back to the country he has found a home in.
“I did a course at TAFE and did my studies at Kildare and graduated last year and now I am doing a diploma of nursing,” he said.
“The reason I think this project is important is to set Australia up for the future.
“I want to help them become good Australian citizens to help better the future of Australia.”Abbas Ali
“Australia and Wagga has a very multicultural society and a lot of the refuges are uneducated and unable to speak English so I want to help educate them and stabilise them.
“I want to help them become good Australian citizens to help better the future of Australia.”
Bryce Allen, the project officer of the Refugee Youth Mentoring Program said they were in the process of looking for mentors that have similar lived experience, such as refugees and international students.
“We hope to starting matching mentors with members by the end of the month and kick the program off,” he said.
“The idea was to have a program to help young refugees in regional areas to become more active citizens especially in regards to study and employment.
“We hope to have a unique match of one mentor and one mentee.
“The most common things people are looking for is help with English, job and education pathways and developing passions.
“It can also include aspects such as getting your driver’s licence.”
If you are interested in becoming a mentor with the program please contact Bryce Allen at firstname.lastname@example.org.