Refugees and Community

Our group aimed to understand ways that refugees could be more connected in Australian communities, particularly via employment opportunities.2018 Australia Wide Fellowship Project

Refugees and Community Website image

Breaking down cultural barriers by giving them the chance to share their experiences

Project team:

Michelle Keam, Diego Uzzun, Julie Michaelson, Aleysha Campbell

Melbourne and Sydney


Through our research, which included a few interviews with employment agencies, we found that many refugees struggle to feel that they are connected, are respected and belong in their adopted homes in Australia. Upon arrival, they are able to take advantage of supports that help them to gain basic skills for employment in Australia. Agencies that provide these services are staffed by caring and supportive people, both employees and volunteers. However, when refugees enter the workplace, they may lose the circle of support that these agencies provide. In the worst cases, refugees can suffer isolation, loneliness and stress when their workplaces and employers are not welcoming.

Our group wanted to address this issue by building empathy for refugees, breaking down cultural barriers by giving them the chance to share their experiences, both positive and negative through the power of storytelling.

Our plan was to develop several 1-2 minute videos in which refugees share their stories about their experiences in the workplace. These videos could be shared on social media, such as LinkedIn or Facebook.

The videos would link to a webpage that provides written tips and resources for making workplaces more inclusive, including case studies of employees and employers which have done this well.

It was our intention that the tools developed through this project could support settlement agencies in their existing efforts in working with employers to make workplaces more inclusive and welcoming for refugees, as well as promote general acceptance and understanding among nonrefugees in the community.

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