How can volunteers help?
Volunteers could be asked to help with a variety of tasks to assist new arrivals, such as:
- meeting refugees at the airport and taking them to initial accommodation
- providing transport to appointments
- introducing refugees to their local communities
- helping familiarise refugees with local facilities, including public transport and shopping
- assisting refugees to understand Australian cultural practices and social norms.
On-going settlement support
New arrivals may require on-going support and assistance to help them adjust to life in Australia.
Volunteers may help children with homework, assist adults develop computer literacy skills, practise English, link refugees with sporting groups and participate in every day activities like going to the movies or attending community events.
Volunteers from diverse backgrounds
Volunteers from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds often have first-hand experience of the settlement process and its impact. They can help by providing new arrivals and fellow volunteers with personal insight based on their own experience.
They can also share their experience of settlement with new arrivals and offer conversation in a shared language.
Cultural awareness in volunteering
Showing an understanding of cultural differences will help new arrivals feel more at ease with their new surroundings.
You can help by showing respect for cultural practices and beliefs, being conscious of your dress, language and tone and being aware of eye contact, body language and gestures.
The settlement service provider in your region can give you more information about the nationality and cultural background of the migrants and refugees they support, and practical advice on how to be culturally sensitive with new arrivals.