DVD guide interprets mysteries of road signs for refugees

Nick Blow and Ted Booth, from SCARF, with the new DVD. Picture: ROBERT PEET

Nick Blow and Ted Booth, from SCARF, with the new DVD. Picture: ROBERT PEET

Learning to drive can be difficult, but it's even harder when you don't understand the road signs.

That can be the fate of many refugees who live in the Illawarra and want to get their licence.

Strategic Community Assistance to Refugee Families (SCARF) has put out an updated version of their DVD, Road and Traffic Signs, to help overcome the problem.

The DVD, which explains the meaning of each sign and then shows an animated short that shows drivers what to do when they approach one of the signs, formed part of the group's Driver Mentoring Program, co-ordinator Ted Booth said.

"Refugees who are keen to get a licence can sign up with us and we provide them with a driving mentor for $20 a driving session to get their hours up and to tighten up their driving skills".

"When we started, many of the refugees didn't have family or friends with a full licence, so getting a licence actually turned out to be a pretty tough job."

It was during these mentoring sessions that the need for the DVD arose.

The drivers could master the physical skills of driving, but found it difficult to understand signs.

"If you grow up in a driving culture like any local guys and gals do, you're able to read the signs and able to discern the information that you need," Mr Booth said.

"If you come from a non-English speaking background, being able to recognise signs and differentiate what's important at this point in time and what's for information only is much more difficult," he said.

The DVD is available from SCARF at scarf1.org.au

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