Australian Refugee Association Inc.

Youth drop-in @ Salisbury project

Established in 1975, the Australian Refugee Association (ARA) is a non-government, not-for-profit charity organisation dedicated to helping refugees settle in Australia. Based in South Australia, ARA provides advice, assistance, advocacy and practical support to enable refugees become independent and productive citizens. Their group programs and services focus on education, employment, recreation, housing, youth, migration, and community development.

The LUCRF Super Community Program is proud to have supported the ARA by sponsoring their Youth drop-in @ Salisbury project. This project, informally called the ARA Youth Hangout, is delivered by ARA Youth Services Team and gives young refugees the opportunity to socialise in a safe environment, enabling participants to expand their social network and build friendships. The program allows young people to participate in activities at the centre at no cost. It also helps build engagement and trust between the youth workers and the kids who use the drop-in centre.

Kids attending the hangout have the opportunity to be referred to other ARA youth services such aAustralia Refugee Association Youth drop-in Salisbury projects the ARA leadership program, learner-driver training and homework clubs. They’ve also been involved in ARA events such as Harmony Day and National Youth Week activities.

The program has made its mark in the northern region, providing parents of the participants with peace of mind and ensuring their safety and engagement in activities that contribute to positive settlement in Australia.

The age of attendees varies from 12 to 19 years of age. Attendance has increased significantly over time with over 90 young people registered with the program and anywhere between 18 to 25 participants per session.

ARA will continue to run the program in the coming years due to the overwhelming attendance, interest and support from the local school and services. The program has already opened opportunities for young people they didn’t know were possible or even existed.

“The LUCRF Super Community Program funding has provided ARA with unconditional engagement with young people from various cultural communities and access to support many young people in various aspects of their life.” ARA evaluation report, July 2018.

Building positive relationships

A young woman was linked to the ARA Youth Hangout through ARA’s family and wellbeing program due to ongoing family relationship issues. One factor causing friction was the feeling of social isolation that the young woman was experiencing.

With the support of a youth worker, the woman began to attend the hangout where she formed positive relationships with other participants and ARA volunteers. She identified goals for herself, one of which was to secure part-time employment. Through the support of the ARA Youth Hangout staff and volunteers she was able to create a resume, explore employment pathways and has successfully gained part-time work.

She’s continuing with her secondary studies while working part-time and still attends the hangout on a weekly basis.

Skills on show

A group of young women from Bhutanese backgrounds have been attending the hangout on a regular basis. They are enthusiastic dancers and have been working as a group in choreographing dance routines. The hangout has become a regular space for the young women to practice their dances and create new choreography.

They have showcased their talents at ARA events and other cultural events. They performed at the ARA Harmony Day event and took part in ARA’s annual school symposium where they performed in front of hundreds of students.

The group has since welcomed some male performers, also attendees of the hangout, into their group and now call themselves the ARA Youth Hangout Dancers.

Peer recommendations

The success of the ARA Youth Hangout is measured in a variety of ways, including positive affirmation by the participants. Many of the young people attending the hangout encourage others to access the opportunities available by bringing their relatives, siblings and friends with them. 

We are thrilled to have supported the ARA to create invaluable opportunities, a safe space that is judgement-free and that offers support and fun activities to young people in the northern Adelaide suburbs. We wish them continued success with the program.

Australian Refugee Association Inc.

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