Young asylum seekers grateful for community support

Young asylum seekers play pool at the unaccompanied minors project house on Sydney’s Northern Beaches

Young asylum seekers play pool at the unaccompanied minors project house on Sydney’s Northern Beaches

“The young people were perfect hosts, mixing and mingling with their guests. One of them gave a speech to the assembled crowd, thanking them for their ongoing support and commitment to their welfare.”

A group of unaccompanied minors has hosted a special dinner to thank volunteers, neighbours and community members for their support for JRS’ Unaccompanied Minors Project House on Sydney’s Northern Beaches.

The young men have lived in the house for the past three years as part of the government’s Unaccompanied Minors Residential Determination Program (UAM RDP), which was introduced as an alternative to closed detention for children.

Under the program JRS, in partnership with Marist Youth Care, has provided housing for 19 unaccompanied minors from Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan. The communal nature of this detention model has necessitated the nurturing of strong relationships with local schools and service providers, and the development of a sense of goodwill among community groups. With the clients now ready to transition into the community as independent residents, it was time for them to thank those who had contributed towards their growth since arriving in Australia.

Guests included the young men’s teachers, swimming instructors, volunteer tutors, neighbours and staff from both JRS and Marist Youth Care. The clients at JRS House are particularly close with the young men from another part of the UAM program based at West Ryde, and they were invited as a special surprise for our boys.

The young people were perfect hosts, mixing and mingling with their guests. One of them gave a speech to the assembled crowd, thanking them for their ongoing support and commitment to their welfare.

The guests, staff and clients ate and chatted late into the evening, a sure sign of a successful dinner party. The event provided the opportunity for people to interact more informally than usual, and it was a pleasure to see that such warm and significant support exists in the local community for the young men in the UAM program.

Kim Mignacca and Shelley Goldsmith, JRS’ UAM program

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