Recently MWASA hosted a Citizenship Session under the SETS (Settlement Engagement and Transition Support) program, specifically for Syrian clients. The presenter had requested for it to be Syrians only, due to visa differences in clients from Syria and Afghanistan.
The presenter was Okke Velzeboer, from the Department of Home Affairs. Okke is the South Australian Community Liaison Officer in the Citizenship and Multicultural Programs Division.
The session covered the rights, responsibilities and privileges of being an Australian citizen. Okke also went through the eligibility criteria, application process, documents required, interview and citizenship test and application processing duration.
The ladies enjoyed the session and had lots of questions to ask from the presenter. The session was fun and also very informative and useful as the ladies will soon be eligible to apply for citizenship.
Earlier this month, on the 9th, the first Recipes of Life session was held for Mums.
The idea behind the Recipes of Life program is to support inter-generational relations and assist with any issues that parents might be experiencing. After individual Mum and youth focus group sessions, the groups will then be combined for the final sessions. Eight sessions in total will be run over the next year.
The Recipes of Life sessions provide an informal and comfortable environment for Mums to talk.
Natale Rudland Wood from the Dulwich Centre presented in this first session using recipes as a way to spark interest and initiate discussion.
The session began with everyone smelling different spices that Natale had brought. Natale asked each participant to share their memories that came with the smell. Some of the ladies shared their experiences since leaving Syria and the hardships they faced until reaching Australia. The also spoke about the challenges they face in a new country.
It was interesting to see how these women have coped with the challenges of life and how they want to be strong for their children. The children have noticed and admired the determination and resilience of their mothers and hopefully in the future would be in a better position to deal with their own challenges. The ladies have shown their determination especially with learning English in order to be independent.
It is absolutely inspiring to learn how circumstances have forced them beyond their previous capabilities, in learning new things in a new country without support. They have learnt survival skills and fought the odds.
A handful of ladies attended and the intimate size of the group seemed to encourage the ladies to open up a bit more and share more of themselves with the others present.
The discussions and recipes from the next few sessions will be compiled into a recipe book, that will hopefully assist other new arrivals with tips, advice and stories of bravery.
What the ladies had to say about this session:
It is interesting way of sharing our stories.
Not many people know about the things I mentioned today.