Welcome to MYAN’s April eNewsletter. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact the lives of all of us in acute and unpredictable ways, and disproportionately so on those most disadvantaged in our community - including young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds.
While we know this group of young people are enormously resilient and resourceful, the confluence of age, the life stage of adolescence, the migration experience and role that young people take in supporting their families and communities to navigate access and equity barriers mean that this group of young people are at heightened risk of social and economic exclusion in the short, medium and longer-term. MYAN will continue to advocate for a targeted and responsive approach to addressing these risks in policy and service delivery, including in the recovery stages.
MYAN has been working to ensure that the safety, rights, and interests of young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds are highlighted and upheld in the COVID-19 pandemic and reflected in policy and service delivery responses. We have been consulting regularly and widely with young people and representatives from diverse sectors across Australia, to understand the critical issues facing young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds and those who work with them, and to identify solutions and good practice responses.
We will continue to identify and coordinate national networking opportunities, including with HSP and AMEP providers, and share information about the impact of COVID-19 on young people with the sector and government departments.
Read on to learn more about from young people across Australia, MYAN's national policy work, latest resources, national media updates, advocacy campaigns, opportunities for young people, and more!
Stay safe and well.
The MYAN team - Nadine, Shannon, Mehak and Andrew
A message from our Youth Leadership Officer, Mehak: Ramadhan Kareem/Mubarak to all!
It's a month of blessing, caring and spiritual re-discovery, which we hope all humans can benefit from.
This Ramadhan is very different due to current times and is a reminder of the urgency in ensuring no person is left behind - whether it has to do with food or community. Let's continue to support each other in this time!
COVID-19 Youth Consultations
MYAN recently ran consultations with brilliant young leaders from around Australia, including previous and current members of our Youth Ambassadors Network (YAN), discussing the impact of COVID-19 on young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds, their families and communities.
They spoke about some of the challenges, including increased responsibilities of brokering and translating information for family and community, unsafe housing arrangements, and the need for targeted mental health support. They also spoke positively about young people supporting each other to find employment, check-in with each other on mental health, fundraise through community groups and running drop-in check-in sessions online through student unions.
They also spoke about the need to amplify the voices of young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds – partly to counter media representation of young people, but also to highlight the important contributions they are making to keeping their families and communities safe and well amidst extremely challenging times.
NSW COVID-19 Youth Consultation Report
MYAN NSW hosted a consultation on April 9 with young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds to understand the impact COVID-19 is having on them, their families and communities. Domina Augustine, MYAN NSW Youth Ambassador and NSW Youth Ambassador to MYAN Australia facilitated the consultation. This consultation was an opportunity to listen actively to young people's experiences, validate and capture stories of support that young people have witnessed. Read the full report here.
The 'Spilling T with Sadeqa' series:
COVID-19, Inter-generational identity & Privilege
Watch this important discussion on COVID-19, inter-generational identity and privilege from two young leaders from Western Australia: Zahra, MYAN Youth Ambassador MYAN’s WA Youth Ambassador (left), Sadeqa, MYAN FUSE 2019 delegate (right).
MYAN has hosted two National Sector online sector meetings with more than 190 participants from diverse sectors and each of Australia's states and territories.
We heard from the sector about the impact of COVID-19 on young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds and those working with them, including initiatives/responses to best support them, their families and communities. We have had overwhelmingly positive responses to these meetings, highlighting the importance of national networking and how and information sharing in the current context.
Our latest meeting focused on emerging issues and good practice examples of how delivery is being adapted to continue supporting young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds during COVID-19– in education/training/employment, EAL, sport/recreation and health. This includes dynamic online responses to the freeze on work experience placements, including virtual reality tours of organisations and online interview panels; an increase in online volunteer English tutors; targeted surveys so young people and their families can directly inform service providers about their needs; and maintaining connections through WhatsApp groups, on-line competitions and community board game sharing.
These meetings consistently affirm the importance of recognising and building on young people’s strengths and capabilities, and working with them as partners in service planning and delivery – particularly in times of crisis. They are keen to explore diverse responses to COVID-19 challenges, and best placed to guide service planning, adaption and delivery.
MYAN will continue to host regular national meetings, with the next one scheduled for Wednesday 13 May at 12 pm. Stay tuned for more details. And in the meantime, our Sector Briefs and live National Resource Library will be updated regularly (included below).
Thanks to all those for nationwide networking, and sharing their knowledge, practice and resources.
MYAN Sector Update
Read our updated brief summary of the key issues facing young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds in the COVID-19 pandemic below:
We have developed this platform for youth service providers and others to support their work in the current context. It collates relevant socio-economic and health resources and information promoting best practice, specific socio-economic and health resources, including those developed for youth and by youth, and emerging commentary and research. It will continue to be updated as we source new information in the evolving context of COVID-19.
Youth Voices (continued)
South Sudanese leaders discuss COVID challenges on ABC
South Sudanese leaders including Grace Edwards, @MyQ_Australia youth leader and previous MYAN Youth Ambassador, talk to ABC news about the challenges of getting accurate #COVID19 information out to their communities.
These recent articles highlight the significant short and long-term challenges of COVID-19 for Australia's young people and their families, including those from refugee and migrant backgrounds.
The Generation COVID will scar As details emerge of the government’s plan for economic recovery, it is clear young people will suffer the brunt of the pandemic’s fallout for years to come. CREDIT: AAP IMAGE / SCOTT BARBOUR
The lockdown is accumulating a debt that must be repaid to younger Australians Last week, The Australian’s Adam Creighton urged that the debt we’re racking up be paid for by targeting the tax breaks and other benefits that wealthy seniors enjoy — like superannuation, franking credits and the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card — on the basis that “the young and poor have little say in society but they are incurring the bulk of the costs from the shutdown”.
The next employment challenge for coronavirus: how to help young people. Before COVID-19, young people were increasingly long-term unemployed or had to gain full-time work through part-time work. And many of those who found work needed to spend extra time and resources (doing things such as unpaid internships) to get it. So how can we address this in an even more difficult job climate?
“I can survive until the end of May, maximum" 7 am highlights a migrant worker story in their podcast
There are over 1 million migrant workers in Australia who aren’t eligible for any financial support from the government as they try to navigate their way through this crisis. Some face destitution and homelessness. Today, we speak to one migrant worker negotiating this new reality.
MYAN has endorsed several campaigns seeking to address inequity gaps for those most disadvantaged in the COVID-19 crisis.
#SupportForAll / #NoWorkerLeftBehind
The Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA) is leading a campaign to call on the Morrison Government to include all migrant workers as part of the JobKeeper scheme regardless of their visa status- #supportforall / #noworkerleftbehind campaign. You can support the campaign by sharing this message and using the link below to email your local MP.
NBN Co creates $150 million COVID relief and assistance package
MYAN stood with more than 30 organisations and advocates, including the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN), to urge the Federal Government to address the urgent need for communication access so all can remain connected during the #COVID19 crisis. This $150 million COVID-19 relief and assistance package is designed to help internet providers to connect low-income families with home schooling needs and assist small and medium businesses and households facing financial hardship.
CHFA is looking for young people aged 18-30 to help reimagine the health and social service programs available. COVID-19 is disrupting the world as we know it and will force us to reimagine the services we want in the future. Do you want to have a voice in shaping that? EOI open until 3 May For more information click here
Write for us - Young diplomats society are looking for more submissions and increased diversity of perspectives on global politics and international relations. Keen to write, but not sure where to start? Contact them, and they’ll give you something to work with. All published articles appear on their website and social media channels.
Takeover Melbourne is a new initiative that creates a powerful platform for young Melburnians to be heard. We're calling on high school students (and those outside formal education aged 12-18) to share a story about their life and submit it to the Takeover Melbourne Competition. Entries are open now. Competition winners will work with ABC producers to have their story featured on ABC TV, radio or online. Entries close 27 June 2020.
The Mission Australia Youth Survey is Australia’s largest online youth survey, providing a platform for young people aged 15 to 19 to ‘speak up’ about the issues that really concern them. Click on 'Take the Survey' in the link and please add this unique code at the start of the survey - 76612