Refugee Support - Mercy Connect
Despite the small numbers of refugees in our country, those attempting to build new lives here need support.
For students adjusting to a new language, different social rules and educational practices, school can be a daunting place. Mercy Connect is our volunteer program, launched in 2008. It recruits, trains and supports volunteers to assist school students and their families settle in Australia. After training, the volunteers offer guidance to students as they settle into the Australian school system. They provide support that nurtures well-being and self esteem.
Mercy Connect Sydney – Running since 2008, Mercy Connect Sydney currently has 57 volunteers and operates in 20 primary, secondary, CEO and DEC schools, assisting more than 380 students.
Mercy Connect Melbourne – Launched in November 2011, Mercy Connect Melbourne has 140 volunteers and operates in 30 schools.
Mercy Connect Ballarat – Launched in 2012, Mercy Connect Ballarat has 22 volunteers working in 6 primary and secondary schools supporting 26 students.
Mercy Connect Perth – We are now planning to establish a Mercy Connect program in Perth. Several primary and secondary schools are already keen to be involved and we are seeking local volunteers to help refugee students in the Perth area.
The Mamre Project
The Mamre Project works with refugee women and their families in the outer Western Sydney and Blacktown areas to develop their capability to grow fresh food, improve language skills and enhance their employability. They also run a creche for children from refugee families to help mothers as they seek to develop their skills. Mamre helps prepare the children for school and provides homework support one afternoon a week for refugee children in early primary school.
Mercy House of Welcome
Mercy House of Welcome, located in Kilburn, a suburb of Adelaide, is a place for asylum seekers to come together and receive support from trained workers and volunteers. We help the asylum seekers in learning English and work with them to develop skills.
We also offer budget counselling. Asylum seekers are given very little to manage on. Unused to a new country with different (and often very expensive) pricing structures they require guidance on how to make the most of what little money they have. We are also providing non-perishable foods at no cost to help their limited funds go further.
Since it opened, Mercy House of Welcome has seen a rapid increase in the number of asylum seekers using the services provided. Between April and June 2014, between 30 and 50 clients visited the centre every day.
Mercy House of Welcome is open four days a week from 10.00 to 4.00pm.
Meredyth Taylor is the Co-ordinator of Mercy House of Welcome.
- 51.2 million refugees, asylum seekers and internally displaced persons worldwide
- Developing countries host 86% of refugees in the world
- Pakistan (1.6 million), Iran (868,200), Lebanon (856.500) and Jordan (641,900) host the most refugees
- Total number of refugees and asylum seekers in Australia in 2013: 48,062
Source: UNHCR Global Trends 2013
Mentor Refugee Students
We are seeking volunteers to mentor refugee students in primary and secondary schools in the South, South Western and Western areas of Sydney. Volunteers commit to at least half a day per week for one school year.
Experience working in a school setting is an advantage and retired teachers are encouraged to apply.
Mercy Connect Sydney
Telephone: 9564 1911