Once again, we are so aware that COVID-19 presents ongoing challenges for us all with significant uncertainty across the globe and economic and social stress in Australia. For many, this remains an overwhelming time, as we all continue to respond to the impacts of COVID-19 in various forms across the country.
Most recently we have seen the significant lockdowns in metropolitan Melbourne, with the spotlight and severe response on public housing estates, and the impact on some of Australia’s most culturally and linguistically diverse communities. MYAN, like many others, has been calling for a National Multicultural Strategy to guide and coordinate responses to COVID-19 for Australia’s multicultural communities. We know young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds are playing vital roles in ensuring the health and safety of their communities but have not been considered strategic partners in COVID-19 efforts. Shabnam Safa put is beautifully in her recent comment about the public housing lockdown:
Read on to learn more about our work, including our recent launch of the National Youth Settlement Framework 2020, our upcoming National Youth Panel, our Youth Ambassador spotlight, news from our state/territory partners, and to read 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
Upcoming: Youth-led panel on COVID-19
MYAN is excited to invite you to a National Youth Panel led by young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds exploring the new normal during and beyond COVID-19.
We know young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 and that this will continue into the future. But they are not passive victims. They are critical actors in supporting their communities and leading initiatives and should be supported to do so as Australia navigates its way through the COVID-19 pandemic and recovery.
This Youth Panel is an important opportunity to hear directly from young people about the challenges and solutions to COVID-19 in a discussion focused on mental health, education and employment.
We had an overwhelmingly positive response to the event. It was an important opportunity to hear from Alison Larkins, Commonwealth Coordinator-General for Migrant Services, about government’s work in strengthening youth settlement, including embedding the NYSF in service delivery, and listening to Zahra Al Hilaly and Apajok Biar about what the NYSF means in practice. A big thanks to our panellists! With just under 200 participants and a dynamic Q&A, MYAN were delighted to host this interactive online event.
The NYSF remains Australia’s first and only evidence-based national guide to benchmark good practice with young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds – and is the only one of its kind globally. Since it’s release in 2016, the NYSF has been utilised by policy makers and service providers across sectors, in both government and NGOs, to guide and measure program design and delivery. Its tools, including the Self-Assessment Guides, have been utilised in the settlement and generalist youth sector, in staff supervision, team meetings and organisational planning days, More than 1,500 people have participated participating in NYSF training, webinars, and workshops across Australia and MYAN has presented on the NYSF globally.
To support the roll-out of the NYSF 2020, MYAN will be delivering training workshops over the coming months at the national and state/territory level – lookout for more details!
And in the meantime check out the NYSF and some of the new resources below.
1. Who is Maria Domina Augustine? I am a 22-year-old young South Indian woman who migrated to Australia. I’m a Bharatanatyam and Indian dancer and I am currently working as a disability support worker.
2. What sparks a fire in you, and why? I feel as though there is so much wrong in the world, it can be really hard to know what to focus on and what to do. Whilst being on this journey, I’ve found the most useful way to go about this, is to use my personal experience and unique insight to create change – that being within the south Indian community. So I find the thing that I’m most passionate about, the thing that pulls on my heartstrings, is the Domestic Violence and Sexual Violence within my community. That’s what I want to address. I don’t know exactly how yet, but I just know I have to.
10. How can young people get involved in the work you do?
Get in touch with MYAN NSW. You can read more about Palmera and the work they do here. You can donate to the 2020 Race to Raise here. They can also visit GirlsThatDanceau.
CMY Statewide (VIC) Forum: Standing up to racism in schools
CMY will be hosting The Statewide Forum on 29 July providing an opportunity for educators and school leadership to learn about their new resource - Schools Standing Up to Racism, as well as hearing directly from multicultural young people on the impacts of racism in the school environment.
MYAN NSW hosted its first network meeting for 2020 on Thursday 4 June- Adapting services during COVID-19: Meeting the needs of refugee and migrant young people. A number of resources and opportunities for migrant and refugee young people were shared during the meeting. These are included within the notes here.
For more information contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Active Citizenship in the Digital Space
Multicultural Youth Queensland (MyQ)
MyQ council hosted a youth training workshop on “Active Citizenship in the Digital Space’ in late May this year, in response to the challenges of COVID-19.
Co-facilitated by young people, the training focused on Active Citizenship and explored the different ways young people could continue to advocate and be active citizens even during isolation. There were 27 participants in total with participants joining from overseas and interstate. The forum also included a guest speaker from Metro South Health, Karen Beaver, who spoke about the importance of young leaders to remember their own mental health and wellbeing during this time.
The session was co-facilitated by MyQ council members and included storytelling, information sharing and break out rooms to discuss what young people were currently doing as well as to identify the barriers that stop young people from engaging in active citizenship. QLD YAN rep, Mary Harm spoke about the work of Pacific Climate Warriors and their “Colour Between the Frontline” Colouring Book, that was developed during this time of isolation and created as a continuation of their short film “Matagi”
There was also a call to action to encourage other young people to not be afraid to voice their opinions and to take action. #youthmatters
Annual Tripartite Consultations on Resettlement (ATCR)
MYAN has recently participated in UNHCR’s Annual Tripartite Consultations on Resettlement (ATCR), hosted this year by UNHCR, the Canadian government and the Canadian Council for Refugees. Given the global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s meeting took place online over several weeks. These were important forums for the global resettlement community to consider current challenges in resettlement and complementary pathways (including the impact of COVID-19 on resettlement), hear reports from UNHCR regional offices and HQ about 2021 Projected Global Resettlement Needs, an update on the implementation of UNHCR’s Three-Year Strategy on Resettlement and Complementary Pathways. UNHCR and IOM have put a temporary hold on departures, although some countries, together with UNHCR, have recently reinstated resettlement processing using remote/online interviewing.
Update on the Global Refugee Forum
MYAN also participated in the Global Refugee Forum in Geneva in 2019, holding a marketplace stall with SSI and the University of Virginia, sharing good practices and making two pledges – (i) to continue our work with Amnesty International Australia, RefugePoint, UNHCR and the Australian Government on strengthening the resettlement of unaccompanied and separated children and (ii) sharing our technical expertise on youth participation, settlement and integration. Like many others, COVID-19 has meant we are unable to act on our pledges as planned but we hope to progress elements of this work in the coming months.
MYAN supports the #RaiseTheAge campaign.
In Australia, children as young as 10 can be arrested by police, charged with an offence, hauled before the courts and locked up in prison. Sign the petition to help change this and show the public and sector support for this change.
Local and Vocal is an opportunity for young people to meet directly with MPs to talk about their experiences throughout COVID-19 and put forward ideas and solutions.
FYA will provide training sessions prior to the meeting, about how to have a constructive constituent meeting. You will have to attend one information session webinar and the MP meetings with 3 or 4 other young people.
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
Ballina Region for Refugees invites submissions to Seeking Asylum Poetry Prize 2020. The prize celebrates the positive contributions refugees make to our communities and acknowledges the circumstances that forced them to flee their homelands and request refuge in Australia.
This year’s competition theme is ‘holding patterns’. Entries close 16 August.
New Resource: Schools Standing Up to Racism Schools Standing Up to Racism offers a range of resources to support secondary schools to address racism and discrimination. The website features a podcast, video, and lesson plans.