A simple idea with a big impact

A simple idea with a big impact, community hub participant Shafgheh Rafighi

Sometimes a simple idea can have a huge impact. This is the case with Community Hubs.

Hubs are meeting places — often based in local schools — for migrant and refugee parents with pre-school children. The concept is to help break the loneliness and isolation of migrant and refugee parents (mostly mothers) with young children, and assist them to find their way in their new communities.

Shafigheh Rafighi is typical of the women for whom a Community Hub has provided friendships, new skills and, as she puts it, “helped me feel like part of the community.”

Shafigheh and her family fled the Taliban in Afghanistan for Iran where her husband died, leaving her alone with her children. They were accepted as refugees and after arriving in Australia and receiving settlement support, Shafigheh was introduced to a Community Hub.

Making friends “from all over the world” and learning about her local community through the Hub has nourished her sense of hope about her family’s future in Australia, and helped them feel accepted.

“The Hub has continued to give me a safe and welcoming place. I love the English classes - my English is getting better and my life is getting easier”.

The Hubs are also proving a great help for the young children of refugee parents.

A 2016 Murdoch Children’s Institute Report found children who had been part of the Hubs had a marked improvement in skills and abilities when they started school. In 2016, 13,000 families from 101 countries attended the Hubs 300,000 times to participate in activities.

The Government has provided funds to extend the present 40 Community Hubs to 70 around Australia.

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