An international student safety video initiatited by Wollongong Police and funded by the IMB Bank Community Foundation is being rolled out across the state.
After the NSW Government became aware of the initiative started by Wollongong Police multicultural liaison officer Rima Elhage they saw its potential in many communities.
Ms Elhage works in the Crime Prevention Unit and provides information to refugee and international student groups about the role of law enforcement and personal and property safety.
“We used to do our presentations across community and student groups but at times we were not getting enough engagement, with language barriers proving difficult. We agreed a video may be a better way to communicate..and applied for funding”.
The application was successful and local production house Wicked Bee, local students and volunteers worked with Police to shoot a 15-minute video for international students.
The first was in English but another version with slight changes was soon made to help refugees settling in the local area.
The video covers a range of important safety and crime prevention topics such as the role of the Police and how to identify them, the rights and responsibilities expected by the community as well as safety tips on swimming, walking alone at night, locking up property and how to access interpreters.
It was when Detective Inspector Brad Ainsworth made a stakeholders meeting in Sydney aware of the video, that leaders from other universities, Government, TAFE and student organisations saw its potential.
Just three weeks into his new role Local Area Commander superintendent Chris Craner said he had been in the force 28 years and had worked in many parts of the state and would have loved to have had a resource like the video developed in Wollongong.
Supt Craner sees it as something that could even be played on all international flights coming into Australia.
Parliamentary Secretary for the Illawarra and South Coast Gareth Ward said the NSW Government’s StudyNSW provided co-funding in 2017 to have the video subtitled in eight other languages.
Ms Elhage said it was wonderful to think the project she started in Wollongong was now being distributed across the state.
University of Wollongong Masters of Engineering student Omar Amin, of Dubai, featured in the video and has had plenty of positive feedback from other people who have come to Australia to study.
“I was giving my point of view on how this is helpful for international students to see such a video,” he said.
“Coming her is like a different new world for people like me and it can be hard to get used to the changes, know where information is and where to get support from. The video really helped me. This was a way for me to help other international students.”
IMB Bank’s Michael Brannon said it was the kind of project the community foundation loved to support and said it was so good to see something that started in Wollongong now gaining state and national interest.
Chief executive Robert Ryan said “we always look to fund projects that impact as many people in the community as possible”.
Successful recipients for the 2018 round of funding will be announced on June 27.