Togetherness is Strength: Conversations with People from Refugee Backgrounds about Resettling in Regional Australia
Presented with the Migration and Mobility Research Network (MMRN).
In this presentation, community and university-based researchers discuss findings from co-produced research conducted in Wagga Wagga, NSW. Wagga Wagga is one of a number of regional humanitarian resettlement sites across Australia, and over 2,000 people have resettled there since 2006. The research involved a series of group discussions with men and women from the Yazidi, Afghan, Burmese and African communities.
Because of the challenges in bringing the team together for a virtual presentation, Deb Warr and Heather Boetto will guide the audience through the presentation which includes short videos of the Community Researchers explaining key issues from the discussions.
The research team explored the positive and challenging things about resettling in and rebuilding lives in Wagga. Key issues they will discuss include the settling in period, factors influencing health and wellbeing, associations between language and employment, learning and education issues, experiences of discrimination and adapting to changing family relationships. They will also reflect on how these issues are framed by living in a regional town.
The Research Team
Shokrollah Abassi moved to Wagga Wagga three years ago with his family when he was 21 years old. He was born in Afghanistan and they moved to Australia from Iran. He is currently studying Information Technology and Cybersecurity at Riverina TAFE.
Heather Boetto is a Senior Lecturer at Charles Sturt University. She teaches in social work and human services, and her research area focuses on social and ecological justice issues. Heather has lived in Wagga Wagga (or in the region) most of her life.
Shelan Khodedah lived in Iraq before fleeing to Turkey with her family. They were one of the first Yazidi families to resettle in Wagga Wagga. She is now working in the catering industry and studying for a Diploma in Business Administration at Riverina TAFE.
Shahab Mamood graduated with a degree in Physics from Dohuk University in Iraq in 2015. He arrived in Wagga Wagga in April 2019 and currently works with Red Cross and is a volunteer at Kooringal High School supporting Yazidi students.
Reverien Nininahazwe was born in Burundi and has lived as a refugee in Rwanda and Tanzania. He resettled in Wagga Wagga in 2007 and has worked in Sydney at different times. Back in Wagga Wagga he is currently studying Nursing at Charles Sturt University.
Constance Okot is a mother of six and a grandmother to one. She was born in Sudan and was a community leader in the Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya for the UNHCR. She has lived in Wagga Wagga for 16 years where she is a community advisor and representative for African people.
Hakimeh Rahami was born in Afghanistan and came to Australia from Iran. She is a mother of four young children and is a volunteer in her community in Wagga Wagga where she has lived for five years.
Hpi Redamwang belongs to the Katchin ethic group in Myanmar. He has lived in Malaysia as a refugee where he worked for the UNHCR as an interpreter. In Wagga Wagga he is working for the Red Cross assisting new arrivals.
Deborah Warr is Professor of Rural Health at Three Rivers University Department of Rural Health. She has experience in co-designing and co-producing research with community stakeholders exploring diverse issues. She has been living in Wagga Wagga for two and bit years.