Last year I judged a Youth Literacy Competition for schooled aged refugee children in Dandenong, Melbourne, Victoria as a part of the STAR Club (Students Taking on Active Role) at the Southern Migrant and Refugee Centre. The STAR club provides support to students with literacy, numeracy and study skills, help build confidence, self-esteem and feelings of connection to school and the wider community and they provide a safe place to study. They can also assist families to gain greater knowledge of the education system and provide opportunities for families to explore practical strategies to support their children’s learning at home.
The City of Greater Dandenong has the largest numbers of people seeking asylum in the country. The area has a population of approximately 152,000 people, more than 60% of whom were born overseas, with 64.% of households speaking a language other than English.
The students are from Afghanistan, Iran, Ethiopia, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Iraq, Syria and Sudan.
I would like to share with you some stories that myself and author Fleur Ferris judged from these wonderful children, and who, despite the intention and behaviour of others, will prevail and become the voices of the next generation.
Today is a story about what it is like to be a refugee from a young girl called Nazdana. Thank you for reading. and if you would like to donate to the STAR Club and the Refugee Program in Dandenong, please click here.