The Spectrum Migrant Resource Centre (MRC) services are tailored to meet the settlement and integration needs of new migrants and refugees, ensuring families have the resources to grow and thrive in their new country
Spectrum Migrant Resource Centre
Jan 2012 - Dec 2013
The Spectrum Migrant Resource Centre operates across Melbourne's north-west region, offering a hub-style service to support migrants and refugees to help them successfully settle and participate in all aspects of community life.
The support provided by the LUCRF Super Community Program funded the Spectrum Homework Program, aimed at improving educational and life outcomes for disadvantaged students from refugee and migrant backgrounds based predominantly in the Darebin local government area.
The young participants in the program often had protracted education due to instabilities in their countries of origin. In some cases, participants had no formal education prior to arriving in Australia. The program supported these young people and their parents to understand the Australian school system. It helped the students gain confidence and develop aspirations, undertake school studies and enhance numeracy and literacy skills, and it strengthened parents’ ability to engage with the school system/community and support their children’s education. It also reduced social isolation.
Since the Community Program began funding the program, the number of students participating has more than doubled. 40% of students are in high school while 60% are in primary school. In addition, student attendance has been very encouraging since the inclusion of the parental engagement component. Most importantly, the relationships established between mentors and students have developed and grown beyond the program.
Sumaya and Ismahan’s story
Year 12 students Sumaya and Ismahan were regular attendees at the Spectrum MRC’s Homework Program in Melbourne’s inner north.
Originally from Somalia, Sumaya and Ismahan received ongoing support from volunteer tutors Nick and Graham. “We can’t believe they are supporting us for free,” the girls said. The two were inspired by past Year 12 students of the program who went on to study at Latrobe and RMIT Universities and are motivated to achieve their aspirations of attending university themselves.
For Makarius, who came to Australia when he was 11, starting school was scary. He remembers that on his first day when one student asked him “How old are you?”, he didn’t know what they meant and was laughed at and made fun of. The first few weeks were very difficult.
Makarius joined the Spectrum MRC’s Homework Program and worked closely with his tutor, John. As he progressed through the program it became clear that Makarius was a keen learner. Now, at 17, Makarius has shown significant improvements, particularly in maths and chemistry, and has a new desire to attend university.
Based on the success of the Homework Program, the Community Program went on to support the Kick to Connect program in 2014