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Save the Children started their Multicultural Supported Playgroups in response to a lack of services to support newly arrived migrant and refugee families with children aged 0-5 years.
Migrant and refugee children and families often feel isolated when they arrive in Australia and many children have experienced loss and trauma. Some struggle to adjust to life in a new country, where their social community and learning environments are very different to their country of origin.
Like all children they need support to help them learn and develop. Local schools in the areas where our Multicultural Supported Playgroups run, noticed that children from migrant backgrounds were not as ready for school. Save the Children were asked by communities to help form better pathways for these children and their families.
In Term 3 & 4 2017, Multicultural Supported Playgroups were run in multiple neighbourhoods Australia wide with participants from more than 15 different cultural backgrounds including the conflict affected countries of Burundi, Congo, Rwanda, Myanmar, Somalia, Ethiopia, Iraq, Afghanistan and Sudan.
With the $30 000 from Footprints the Multicultural Supported Playgroups Bus ran for terms 3 & 4 in a remote WA location.
Each term 12 mothers and 24 children were driven to the program at multiple locations five times a week plus school holiday activities. Without this bus these mothers and children would not have been able to access the program due to cultural reasons, no local transport, and/or too many children to manage on public transport.
The practical skills based workshops the Australian Department of Social Services run in conjunction with Save the Children continued to be a success this term with many mothers, caregivers and older siblings participating in how to sew classes and English lessons.
Some parents had mentioned the isolation of being a new immigrant and was the hardest issue in arriving in Australia so Save the Children are planning to teach these life skills lessons with more frequency so participants feel closer and more a part of their community.
Parents and caregivers also participated in the lessons run by the Family Support Worker to learn about parenting in the Australian context.
Many parents reported that they felt more confident in being able to support their children in being able to start school and felt being closer to other parents/caregivers who had similar background and had dealt with similar issues in transitioning into Australian life.