Working together to help Syrian refugees settle in Logan
Published: 27 July 2016
Local agencies and faith groups are working together to ensure Syrian refugees settling in Logan City make a smooth transition into the local community.
As with all Syrian refugees settling in Australia, the new arrivals will come through the offshore resettlement process. The City of Logan is part of the South East Region settlement area (along with the Gold Coast and Ipswich), which is expected to receive some arrivals as part of the additional 12,000 Syrian/Iraqi intake announced by the Australian Government.
Government and non-government agencies, along with community-based and faith-based organisations, are already working together in Logan to help the new arrivals settle in the region as smoothly as possible. The coordinated approach is being led by Woodridge-based Access Community Services, one of Australia’s leading non-government organisations providing settlement, employment, training and youth support services to migrants and refugees.
On 19 July 2016, more than 60 people attend a Local Area Coordination group meeting coordinated by Access Community Services to identify some of the key challenges facing Syrian refugees and discuss ways to coordinate and integrate support.Key challenges identified included:
- employment opportunities: many Syrian people are highly educated and will come with the intention of gaining language skills and meaningful employment as soon as possible
- education: Syrian people highly value quality education and will want access to the best opportunities for their children, particularly in schools providing language support
- transport: issues with cost of public transport for families needing to get several children to and from school each day, as well as to and from Loganlea TAFE for language classes, and the timing of those services
- sense of belonging/community cohesion: the importance of refugees embracing Australian culture while also preserving their own (for many people, their language and traditions are all they have been able to bring with them from their war-torn home).
The meeting identified that the majority of Syrian refugees settling in Australia are families and identify as Greek Orthodox.
Some resettlement has already started in Logan, however the pace of settlement is slow due to the stringent checks required under the UNHCR process.
There are currently more than 50 million displaced persons in the world right now – the highest number since World War II; 13.5 million of those are from Syria and, of those, around only 1% are eligible for the UNHCR process.
Locals interested in being involved in helping the Syrian new arrivals settling into the community can find out more here: www.accesscommunity.org.au/support-syria