Refugee Week is a good time to look at the contribution recently arrived members of the community make in the Illawarra.
Among them is the work a group of refugees are able to do as a result of a partnership between The Illawarra Grammar School (TIGS) and Strategic Community Assistance to Refugee Families (SCARF).
TIGS Great Fete organisers said they do such a great job many people visiting the event have remarked on the friendly service offered by the Green Connect team looking after waste management and sustainability.
For TIGS the opportunity to assist recently arrived refugees in their initial employment in the Illawarra rose out of the long running productive community partnership with SCARF. It began when effective support to run such a large event was sought.
As a result a relationship was developed with Our Community Project Inc (OCP), a not for profit organisation that runs out of the Port Kembla Community Centre.
Green Connect Illawarra has been able to improve resource recovery outcomes at the fete. It conducted a waste audit, created a waste management plan to improve resource recovery outcomes and installed new waste management systems, including bins and signage. On the day a team of 14 were able to assist all visitors with the correct handling of their rubbish. As a result of their work 73 per cent of waste was kept out of landfill.
Yeal 11 fete volunteer Marie Russo, who volunteered on the Slushies stall, said as a member of TIGS community problem solving team “it was great to know that the cups and straws from her stall were being properly disposed of/recycled”
Fellow volunteer James Cooper was so impressed by how hardworking and committed the Green Connect team was..
For the refugees it was the kind of paid experience that not only gave them valuable work skills but helped them feel included in the community. TIGS presently has families from 41 different nationalities in its cohort placing it in a great position to be able to support the transition of its newly arrived friends.