Source: Catholic Outlook, February 2016
Posted on 1 February 2016
In March 2013, CatholicCare Social Services established the All Saints of Africa Centre to address the growing needs of the African community living within the Blacktown Local Government Area and surrounding areas in the Diocese of Parramatta.
The centre provides a voice for African people and models Africans and Australians living and learning in harmony together.
The centre aims to support African refugees and migrants in areas such as trauma and loss of family, resettlement issues, language and cultural barriers, behaviour management of children, unemployment, and lack of financial skills.
The service has three staff, two of whom are African. Staff member Rafa Godo has worked for the centre from when it opened.
“It is wonderful being able to help people with a similar background to me,” Rafa said. “I feel a strong connection and due to this am able to show empathy. They instantly feel safe, knowing that I have been in their position and have come out smiling.”
The programs run at the centre include:
This group meets weekly during school term. Parents learn the importance of play and interacting with their children in a positive way.
This group assists mums by providing information on a range of topics that support families with the settlement process into Australian society. Topics include but are not limited to:
- Women’s health;
- Centrelink information sessions;
- Australian Taxation Office information sessions; and
- Healthy eating.
The Community Hub works directly with primary schools and African families. The program assists families with learning how the education system works and the importance of how parents interact with the schools and teachers.
Many families have not experienced schooling growing up in their homeland. As a result of this program, families are now comfortable with being more involved with their children’s education and the children are becoming more confident within the schools.
Faith plays an important part for the families accessing our services. The All Saints of Africa Centre offers Bible study groups, dance groups and choir. One program that has created a very strong sense of belonging within our hub is the dance group for parents and children.
This dance group, which is run once a week by volunteers, has created a place for families to feel less isolated and experience a sense of togetherness. It gives them a space where they can relax, share their personal stories, and feel they are accepted for who and what they are.
To find out more about how the All Saints of Africa Centre can be of support to you and your family, please contact Lisa Foster tel (02) 8822 2250.
For more information about CatholicCare’s programs and services in the Diocese of Parramatta visit ccss.org.au
Donations to this month’s Diocesan Works Fund Appeal with the theme Faith at Work will help to support the All Saints of Africa Centre. To make a donation to the DWF Appeal click here