Yard blitzed to welcome refugee family to their new home

Habitat for Humanity Australia and Settlement Services International have teamed up to do a backyard blitz-style makeover on the yards of two newly settled refugee families in Mt Druitt.

The families are very shy and excited to start a life for themselves in Australia; we can’t reveal their names, but they were very keen to pass on their thanks.

They were “amazed and thankful” for the work done to get their yard in top shape for them to move in.

The family, originally from Iraq have arrived after spending one and a half years waiting in Lebanon for resettlement.

Their caseworker said the family are “educated and smart, and they are learning very quickly.”

“They ask a lot of questions because they want to learn about life in Australia to help them settle faster,’’ she said.

The two organising groups combine for the Brush with Kindness program.

HFHA recruits corporate volunteers to conduct backyard blitzes and repairs.

On Thursday April 28, 10 volunteers ‘blitzed’ a property in Mt Druitt.

The family arrived on just three days ago, with an elderly grandmother in a wheelchair, and have a lot to contend with in these early days.

HFHA CEO Martin Thomas said maintaining a property can be a challenging task and many people don’t know where to start.

“People of refugee background have a lot on their minds when they arrive here,” said Mr Thomas.

“Property maintenance is not likely to be a priority when you have to learn a new language, enrol your kids in school and find a job.”

SSI CEO Violet Roumeliotis said property maintenance and tenancy is included as part of the orientation SSI provides to the newly arrived people it supports, which ensures they have the information and support to get off to the best start possible.

“Many are dealing with trauma and separation from family, as well as the practical logistics of settling into a new country, so we really value and appreciate the work that Habitat for Humanity does and the way they are supporting vulnerable people in our community.”

The 10 volunteers taking part in HFHA Brush with Kindness came from Arup. engineering firm.

SSI has staff based in the Blacktown and Mt Druitt offices of SydWest Multicultural Services.

This article originally appeared in the Mt Druitt-St Marys Standard

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Brush with Kindness program
Arup team lend a hand in Blue Mountains

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