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NESB Women's Multicultural Access Project, Information and Referral
2004-2005 Report

Project Officer: Amelia Galao


Project Background

The goal of the project is to undertake community development activities to assist and resource NESB/CALD women in developing their support network. The groups identified are NESB/CALD women living in Auburn, Parramatta and Blacktown. It is hoped that this support network of women will provide a channel for self-help projects designed to empower them and develop their skills and train them to participate in strengthening the communities where they live.

Project outcomes this year

1. Information and referral for service recipients
(Walk-in clients and Phone Calls received)

The Information and Referral Officer kept a record of clients who walked-in and who made phone calls to IWSA. From the period of November 2004 to July 2005, there were 87 culled and noted telephone and walk-in information and referral intakes. There were other intake and referrals taken by other workers but were unrecorded.

In May to June 2005 only,most calls received were of various queries about information on the services and projects of Immigrant Women’s Speakout Association (IWSA) (46% or 11 received calls of the total received calls for the period).

Domestic Violence situations and referrals were 25% or 6 the calls received; followed by information on education, training, student placement and employment (13% or 3 calls); information on immigration policies and procedures (8% or 2 received calls). The remaining inquiries were about emergency accommodation, referral to other service providers, legal and courts matters as well as direct assistance in obtaining service from other service providers. The ethnic background and age groups of the majority of the clients in domestic violence situations were largely unknown on the statistics of this project as most were directly referred to the IWSA Domestic Violence team.

Information Sessions and Community Consultations:

The information and Referral Officer organised an Information Session on “Positive Parental Behaviour” in Burwood. This raised the awareness women on the proper care of children, child protection, child health and safety, prevention of unintentional injury to children, children and traffic, and proper sun protection during the summer period. The activity was held in partnership with Ethnic Child Care Family & Community Services (ECCFCS), Child Safety Council, Cancer Council, and Early Childhood Road Safety Education Program, and was attended by Korean, Filipino, Bosnian and Indian mothers. The funding received from the Burwood City Council’s CDSE (Community Development Scheme Expenditure) supported the payment logistics of the activity.

The Community Consultation with Sudanese women was successfully undertaken with Mitra Khaleghian, Community Development Officer of this project. The participation of 10 women, some of whom were just recently released from refugee camps was insightful on needs and issues of Sudanese women. Issues identified at the community consultation included lack of employment and financial difficulties, English language problems, isolation, housing, and health.

The Information and Referral Officer participated in community consultation activities, attended meetings and gatherings, festivals (Harmony Day, etc.), trainings and seminars.

2. Compilation of information on Non-Englis Speaking Background (NESB) and/or Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) women in new and emerging communities identified and those holders of Temporary Protection Visa (TPV).

The Information and Referral Officer and the Community Development Officer have had discussions with community organisations and various government bodies. The communities identified as Non-English Speaking Background (NESB) and/or Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) women in new and emerging communities and holders of Temporary Protection Visa (TPV) in the Local Government Areas of Auburn, Blacktown and Parramatta are: Sudanese, Ethiopian, Sierra Leonean, Liberian, and Somalian.

There is a need to reach and access these communities. It was emphasised that due to their lack of English language knowledge, they become more isolated and do not have the skills nor resource to access services. Most of them expressed their need for gainful employment but they think that their skills are inadequate in finding work even if some of them hold degrees and long history of work experience from their countries of origin.

3. Developing a resources and information kit The projectís Information and Referral Officer is currently compiling information about the identified communities and the services available in the LGA where they live, in particular Auburn, Blacktown and Parramatta. It is hoped that this would be available before the end of the project. This will be a valuable reference for community workers and service recipients who need to access services and information in practical way. It will cover information on services such as emergency needs, health, education, employment and other vital services. This will also include the basic referral protocol on information and referral system. The snapshot statistics on walk-in and phone call intake of clients indicate the need for IWSA to make stronger effort in reaching out to NESB/CALD grassroots women and provide them with information and pathways to access services.