Helping Victims of Torture & Trauma – Giving U™

Meleuca_Refugee_CenterI was lucky enough to volunteer at two nonprofit organizations during my time in Australia – both located in Darwin and both serving the need of Australia’s refugee population.

Worldwide Refugee Crisis

In 2004, the UN estimated that worldwide there are nearly 20 million refugees, asylum seekers, and displaced persons.

  • A Refugee is a person recognized as a refugee under the 1951 Refugee Convention/ 1967 Protocol or the 1969 OAU Convention.
  • An Asylum-seeker is a person whose application for asylum or refugee status is pending at any stage in the procedure or who is otherwise registered as an asylum-seeker.
  • An Internally Displaced Person (IDP) is a person who is displaced within his or her country and to whom the UNHCR extends protection and/or assistance.

More than 10 million people are refugees and they hail from all corners of the globe, including the West Bank & Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Chad, Congo (DRC), Ecuador, Iran, Cyprus, Pakistan, Tanzania and Saudi Arabia.

Melaleuca Refugee Centre

My first volunteer assignment, I spent at Melaleuca Refugee Centre Torture Trauma Survivors Service of the Northern Territory. It’s a mouthful but they do really important work like:

Providing ethical, client focused services and referrals to refugee survivors, their families and communities in a climate of empowerment and self determination.Promoting community awareness regarding issues for refugee survivors

I met with the program management team to talk about strategic planning and fundraising – back to my consulting life for a day! But here’re just 3 of the really cool projects that they oversee:

  • The Homework Club: Free school and homework support for middle and high school-aged students from refugee and non-English speaking backgrounds. Volunteer tutors are enlisted and apparently the free afternoon tea and air conditioning is a big hit with the kids!
  • Project Bantu: Provides capoeira training to promote empowerment, respect, self awareness and individual strength within a group setting – all important attributes for a young person coming to terms with their refugee experience. Summer classes were for 9 – 18 year olds, both male and female. The 26 participants came from a diverse range of backgrounds: Congolese, Sudanese, Burundian, Somalian, Bhutanese and Indigenous Australian.
  • Baby Dance Group: For mothers (and a few fathers)and babies to dance, play, sing and drum. This music time aims to foster special play time for parents and their children. Mothers are enjoying learning new styles of dance and the time spent together. And the babies just love the loud drumming!

Donate to Melaleuca!

If you like to donate to this worthy organization, visit: It’s run by a really dedicated group of individuals that need our support!

This entry was posted on Sunday, March 20th, 2011 and is filed under Hot Orgs.

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