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School holidays are often a social time, but for some these term breaks reinforce their social isolation.
The team from CatholicCare’s Dandenong office organised a family day out at Dandenong Park on Friday 7 April to give refugee families a little help during the holidays.
“A day like today is about encouraging refugee families to engage in activities outside the home,” CatholicCare’s David Hannan said.
“We’re showing families that a day in the park is a fun and inexpensive way to let the kids burn off some energy, while the adults catch up with friends and family.
“It’s all about reducing social isolation.”
Perfect weather drew close to 300 people, mostly from Afghanistan and South Sudan, to the free barbecue and ball games.
Children climbed trees, played soccer and enjoyed a chat while their parents caught up with friends and relatives.
Florence from South Sudan has six children aged between two and 18 years, including a five-year-old with autism.
She is juggling being a single mum with studying to work as a counsellor, so there’s not much money to spare for holiday activities.
Palwasha from Afghanistan has five children, ranging from six months to eight years old and including three-year-old twin girls.
Florence and Palwasha both turn to libraries and parks for school holiday entertainment.

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