Camping for refugees

Noble Park students enjoy the great outdoors.

By Casey Neill

Noble Park teens spent three days in the bush to build their connections to education, culture and country.
The newly arrived and refugee Noble Park Secondary College students were the first to take part in the Doxa Youth Foundation’s inaugural Strong New Futures program.
Their stint in Kooyoora State Park in Central Victoria last month was part one, and gave them the chance to build teamwork and communication skills and improve their conversational English outside the classroom.
Part two is an in-school workshop that explores the skills and practical knowledge for further study and employment.
Student Shikuffa said she learnt that she was “stronger than I think I am”.
Tina said the camp program was challenging but enjoyable.
“Every moment here is a memory for me,” she said.
TJ said the journey was worthwhile “because it shows you how lucky you are today, and it teaches you life skills”.
Lang said: “It was a good thing coming to this camp because I found my limits were higher than I thought.”
A Doxa spokeswoman said young, newly arrived and refugee students faced considerable hardship and disruption to their education and were often several years behind peers.
They also face higher rates of unemployment, with only 33 per cent finding work versus 71 per cent of Australian youth.
Doxa is a not-for-profit organisation that aims to address the disadvantage through Strong New Futures.
It’s been around since 1972, and supports more than 7000 young Victorians each year.