Community sponsorship of refugees is a way to unlock the goodwill of ordinary Australians to help refugees successfully settle and integrate into their new local communities and supplement the government-led resettlement program.
Why is community sponsorship important?
The global refugee crisis is now at a scale never seen before and countries all around the world, including Australia, need to do more to respond.
We believe that many members of the Australian community would like to do more to help the world’s refugees and it’s time to give them an opportunity to do just that!
We know from talking to people in cities and towns all across Australia that there are many people who are willing to provide financial, emotional and resettlement support to help improve and expand our national response to the refugee situation.
Community sponsorship of refugees is a growing global phenomenon which harnesses the energy, compassion, resources and networks of local volunteer groups, who are trained and supported to provide holistic settlement support to refugee newcomers.
Group Mentorship Program
Our Group Mentorship Program offers an opportunity for local community groups to provide practical support and friendship to newly-arrived refugee households in Australia while our borders are closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
A way to help new Afghan arrivals
Our 2021 Group Mentorship Program offers a practical way to provide future hands-on support to an Afghan household recently evacuated to Australia or other refugees already in the country.
What is a Mentor Group?
A mentor group is a group of at least five individuals who live in the same geographic community and are keen to provide practical support to refugees. The groups complete an internationally-developed training course and undergo basic application and screening process in preparation for providing this support. Mentor groups are made up of friends, family, neighbours, and colleagues – basically any group of Australians who feel they have the capacity to give time each week to helping a refugee newcomer.
Group members should come from more than one family or household to ensure that the group can keep supporting their refugee mentee household should any one mentor move away or become unable to continue their mentoring work. Having a varied group of mentors will also provide your refugee mentee(s) with the benefits that come with being able to access a broader network of support, knowledge, experience and expertise.
What do Mentor Groups do?
Mentor Groups provide holistic and ‘whole of family’ settlement support to refugee households. Groups work with mentees to identify areas where support is needed, supplementing the support that is provided by any government-funded settlement services with the added elements of the extra time, social capital and networks, deep local knowledge and friendship that can be offered by a group of local members of the community. Mentor groups leverage their own local knowledge, networks, expertise and experience to help refugees achieve their personal goals and successfully integrate into their new community.
The following list outlines some of the things mentor groups provide support for:
Finding suitable employment
Securing suitable housing in a regional area with no migrant settlement services
Enrolling and better participation in education
Learning to drive
Understanding how to have overseas qualifications recognised
Establishing a small business
Accessing previously unknown local services
Making new friends
Who are the Mentees?
Mentees in our 2021/22 program will include Afghan refugees recently evacuated to Australia from Kabul, and other future arrivals.
‘Mentees’ are refugee individuals or families who have arrived in Australia in recent years, who would benefit from additional support with their settlement. They are people who hold a refugee or humanitarian visa and can include people with temporary humanitarian visas like a TPV or SHEV. Mentees can be already located in the same general area as mentor groups (within reasonable driving distance), or be looking to relocate to the community where a mentor group is based.
Mentees participating in the 2020/21 program were mostly looking for support with learning English, career development, their studies and making social connections
Households can be made up of couples, siblings, family units and single adults
Mentees age range varies with family members aged from 0 to 60+
How can I find out more about the program?
To find out more about the second round of our Group Mentorship Program we recommend that you attend one of our online public information sessions. These sessions will allow you to gain a better understanding of the program and to find out if it’s right for you.
You can register for these sessions using the link below.
Thursday 16 September (1.30-3pm)
Alternatively, if you’re unable to make this time and date, you can register and view a pre-recorded session here. More details can also be found in our GMP Information Pack and in our Answers to Frequently Asked Questions.
How can I apply to be part of the program?
Once you’re familiar with the program through these materials, if you’re keen to apply, get in touch and request an application pack.
You will need to be part of a group of 5 or more adults to form a mentor group. We encourage you to assemble a group through your own networks, but if you’re struggling to find other individuals to team up with we may be able to put you in touch with others known to us in your general area.
Individuals don’t need to already have a group to register interest. If you are interested in forming a group we can try to put you in touch with others known to us who are in your local area.