Working to help refugees rebuild their lives

World Refugee Day (20 June) is an important time to reflect on the contribution refugees make to Australian society.

For many refugees, a new start is made possible by the hard work of dedicated Department of Human Services staff who provide immediate and ongoing links to services.

World Refugee Day is an opportunity for Australians to celebrate the courage and contribution of refugees as well as those who speak out against persecution and injustice.

Multicultural Service Officers and Refugee Servicing Teams are an integral part of the department, providing help to newly arrived refugees and people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

The department offers tailored services to help refugees receive timely assessments and attain relevant qualifications to help them find a job quickly.

Staff such as Multicultural Service Officer Ibrahim Nduwamungu work closely with local community organisations to help new migrants build the skills to gain employment as soon as they can.

Ibrahim arrived in Australia in 2005 after fleeing his home in war-torn Burundi, in 1998. He spent seven years in refugee camp in Tanzania before being offered residency in Australia.

“As a refugee myself, I understand what it is like to leave everything you know and love and start again in a new country with no family and no belongings,” Mr Nduwamungu said.

“I find it immensely satisfying to assist new migrants and other refugees to settle into Australian society.

“I work closely with Humanitarian Settlement Service providers to connect newly arrived refugees with appropriate government programs and support. This support is crucial in helping refugees settle and successfully rebuild their lives in Australia.

“It is really exciting to be able to partner up with local community organisations to make it easier for culturally and linguistically diverse customers to develop new skills and find work.

“At the moment I’m working on increasing the use of online services, debt prevention and family and domestic violence awareness with newly arrived refugees and humanitarian entrants.”

Online options like the Express Plus Lite mobile app mean many people can now report their employment income in their preferred language – Arabic, Chinese, Persian (Farsi) and Vietnamese – straight from their tablet or smartphone rather than calling or coming into a service centre.

To find out more about the department’s Refugee Servicing Teams, Multicultural Service Officers, products and services for multicultural customers visit humanservices.gov.au/multicultural

Take a look back at last year’s celebrations in Blacktown where the whole community came together to recognise the courage and contribution of refugees here.