Raha* arrived in Australia with her mother and brother in 2013, a refugee - a description she uses hesitantly – from Iran.
Their journey to a safe place was traumatic and the family still suffer PSD.
Life changed for them when Raha and her brother passed a shop on King Street Newtown called The Social Outfit, and they saw a sign in the window about a sewing program for refugees.
Their mother joined the program.
Raha says “ As soon as we saw that our mum had something to look forward to, we feel safe, we/they (The Social Outfit) are all women, they are like family."
I went to an event held by The Social Outfit last week at their shop in King Street, Newtown. The event, a graduation of four young women - Raha was one of them – from The Social Outfit’s latest program - a job ready, retail training and pathway to employment program that is backed by philanthropic foundations.
The other graduates were Shahida Haydari who is 21 and from Afghanistan, Henrietta Adomako 18 from Ghana, and Jannatul Feridous, 26 from Bangladesh. They all told me that the most important thing they were taking away from the course was confidence, that they now feel part of something, accepted …. after facing so much rejection.
A graduate from the December program, Hana* who is 22, a poet, read a poem that was so brutally honest and raw it was hard to see a dry eye in the room.
This program hopes to expand from the four programs a year and is looking for more support .
please go to The Social Outfit and read about their work and if you can support them, do.
Another form of support is to just visit the store and buy something.
Sadly, the word refugee has been weaponized by our Government, anyone of us could become a refugee, a person seeking refuge. We all need to do our bit and help, encourage and welcome those that have had to leave their home and seek refuge like these young women.
Since completing the program, Raha has started a small business making leather handbags ; Shahida is studying business at University; Henrietta has started modelling, and Jannatul found the confidence to move into a small home of her own.
Thank you to Jenny Leong my local member for the heads up about The Social Outfit’s work.
* Not their real names.
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