As we continue to grapple with life in a global pandemic, the national picture remains very diverse – with Victoria about mid-way through Stage 4 lockdown, some states on alert and others virus free. It remains a particularly uncertain time, with very specific pressures on young people in all areas of their lives – but also a significant opportunity to shape a more equitable future for all young Australians, particularly those who experience disadvantage, including young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds. We know that now more than ever, we need to ensure that young people have safe spaces to share their perspectives and we need to continue working together, with young people as partners, to influence policy and practice.
We have a lot to share with you this month including MYAN’s recent Submissions, National Youth Reports from the Youth Taskforce in the Department of Health and the Education Council, an update on our National Meeting on Disability co-hosted with NEDA, and updates from our state and territory partners in response to COVID-19.
Read on to learn more and to see the latest news, opportunities and resources relevant to young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds.
Stay safe and well.
The MYAN team - Nadine, Shannon, Mehak and Andrew
National Meeting on Disability
MYAN was delighted to co-host with the National Ethnic Disability Alliance(NEDA) a national online forum on 12th August -exploring the experiences and policy/service system gaps for young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds with disabilities.
The event began with a Q & A with youth advocates Cindy Liu and Grace Edward. A huge thanks to Cindy and Grace for their open and honest insights from their lived experiences. They spoke about the complexities and nuances of being a CALD young person with a disability - both the challenges and the strengths – and the importance of taking an intersectional approach to understanding and addressing their experiences.
We also heard from special guests Jessica Boyle and Shauna Maguire from the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability who provided an overview of the work of the Royal Commission and guidance on the submission process, noting that submissions can be prepared in language via email, video or audio They also highlighted that despite receiving over 1200 submissions so far, the voices of young people from CALD backgrounds with disabilities are not well represented.
See notes from the meeting below, as well as how you can participate in the submission process. If you would like to contribute to MYAN;s submission, please contact Shannon White, MYAN’s Policy and Advocacy Officer – firstname.lastname@example.org
Inquiries are important opportunities to highlight the voices and particular experiences of young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds. MYAN supported young people in our networks to prepare submissions for the Inquiry into Issues Facing Diaspora Communities in Australia the critical role many young people play as both leaders and mediators of information within their own diaspora communities.
Letter to Minister of Education from Youth Sector Peaks
MYAN and Youth Sector Peaks across Australia signed a joint letter to the Minister of Education arguing the proposed changes to the funding of Youth Work degrees are counterproductive to the government’s aims of meeting employment and essential service needs.
Under proposed higher education reforms, the Commonwealth funding will be reduced to $1,100 per student (previously $11,015) and the student contribution will be increased to $14,500 per year (previously $6,804). We will continue our advocacy with others in the youth sector to oppose these proposed changes.
National Youth Forum and Education Council Reports
In March this year, a group of young people from MYAN’s national networks attended the National Youth Forum in Wagga Wagga, one of a number of workshops hosted by an expert review panel led by Professor Peter Shergold AC. This was aimed at identifying recommendations for the Education Council on how senior secondary students can better understand and be enabled to choose the most appropriate pathway to support their transition into work, further education and/or training.
1. Who is Swathi Shanmukhasundaram?
I’m an Indian born migrant, a law graduate and a 25-year-old navigating a quarter-life crisis!
2. What sparks a fire in you, and why?
I care deeply about mental health issues and ensuring equality and inclusiveness in society and workplaces. Inclusive practice is conducive to good mental health outcomes, and causes people to feel more included and confident to participate in society. My experience of being a carer to a family member with a mental illness, and the fact that it’s not spoken about a lot in my community, make me even more passionate. I believe that the current mental health systems weren’t designed with culturally and linguistically diverse people in mind and I’d like to see the system be simplified, as well as better education and support no matter a person’s age or literacy levels.
Multicultural Youth Queensland (MyQ) Stakeholder Forum
Join the MYQ on 15 September from 12.30pm as they bring together the multicultural youth sector in Queensland to collaborate on a Queensland approach to working with young people from migrant and refugee backgrounds.
MYQ is a youth-led state-wide advocacy body led by Access Community Services.
The forum will feature:
A national update from MYAN Australia on policy perspectives on young people from migrant and refugee backgrounds
The youth perspective on COVID-19 recovery
The perspective of service providers who are working on the ground with youth
Training opportunities and collaboration with the sector
Guest speakers include Nadine Liddy from MYAN Australia, Eli Moore from Queensland Program of Assistance to Survivors of Torture and Trauma and Mary Harm, from the MyQ Youth Council and Queensland Youth Ambassador for MYAN Australia.
Centre for Multicultural Youth (CMY) COVID-19 Employment Report
Mohamed shares his personal experiences of racism as a school student - a video part of Schools Standing Up To Racism.
Schools Standing Up to Racism is a collaboration between the CMY and the Victorian Department of Education and Training (DET), offering a range of resources to support schools to address racism and discrimination in their school environment.
In June, CMY surveyed 350+ young Victorians about their experiences of racism in the first COVID-19 lockdown period (March-April 2020).
This data snapshot provides an initial look at some of the survey findings, a full report is forthcoming.
CMY acknowledges Ms Kate Doery and Assoc Prof Naomi Priest, Australian National University and Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, for their support with data analysis.
CMY COVID Insights Paper
CMY shares how the crisis response has been experienced by young people from refugee and migrant communities in Victoria. CMY highlights the key areas where immediate, direct and sustained action is required to ensure all young Victorians have access to the support and advice they need to stay connected, safe and healthy – right now, and as we move into more sustained and medium-term scenarios.
Featured Story for International Youth Day (12 August 2020):
Interview with Hayat Akbari after the
Global Forum on Migration and Development
Hayat (far right) at the Youth Forum at the Global Forum on Migration and Development on 20 January in Quito, Ecuador.
Hayat recently attended the Youth Forum at the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) on 20 January in Quito Ecuador. The main purpose was to discuss youth-specific challenges with young people, including grassroots activists, in migration and development.
Tell me about yourself
I’m an advocate in the Human Rights space, particularly for refugees and youth. I live in Sydney and I am originally from Afghanistan. I am a fourth-year student studying a Bachelor of Arts in International Law and Global Governance and International Relations and I’m the current Chair for the Youth Working Group at Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network (APRRN) and Asia Regional focal point at the United Nations Major Group for Children and Youth (UNMGCY).
Why do you think it is important for young people to attend events like these?
Migrant and refugee voices must be heard and they must be involved in decision-making processes. Youth and Children make one-third of the international migrant population and we should be included to speak and advocate on issues matters most to us. I participated in the UNMGCY Youth Forum because I want to voice the issues important to me and other young people and a topic which I am passionate about. I wanted to raise the concerns and voices of those who are voiceless. I wanted to ensure that we are included. The phrase that exemplifies this for me is “Nothing about us without us.”
Recent update from Hayat:
Hayat’s has been working with the Rohingya community leaders as part of the Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network's Youth Working Group. The aims of the webinar include educating Rohingya students living as refugees in Cox's Bazaar around international law related to refugee, women empowerment and health-related issues.
Youth Leadership and Advocacy Officer
About the Role
This is an exciting opportunity to join the MYAN team. The Youth Leadership and Advocacy Officer is responsible for coordinating and delivering MYAN’s youth leadership and engagement activities including: recruiting and supporting our national Youth Ambassador’s Network (YAN); facilitating ongoing engagement with young people in MYAN’s networks across Australia; and planning and delivering our youth-specific national leadership events, and working closely with the MYAN team.
Hours: 22.8 hours per week (0.6 FTE), Part Time (Flexible days - work and hours negotiable) Applications Close: Midday 12:00 pm Monday, 31 August 2020
'Lost decade' of income growth for under 35s Young Australians have suffered a decade of falling incomes due to government policies and changing workplaces, opening up a generational divide and leaving under 35s particularly exposed to the coronavirus recession.
Youth Taskforce Interim Report This interim report developed by the Department of Health is based on extensive research and consultation with young people and experts. It will support further consultation and guide the development of the National Youth Policy Framework, to be delivered by the end of 2020.
Disability Communication Toolkit Counselling and advocacy support for people affected by violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation or engaging with the Disability Royal Commission.
Beating the Virus A short wordless story, that will help people to understand what to do if you have Coronavirus and how to keep yourself and those who you care about safe. The story also shows how to safely help others who may be self-isolating. Supplementary text at the end of the story gives information on where people can seek help if they are unwell and signposts to other useful resources.