For migrants and refugees entering the country the daunting prospect of starting a new life can be a struggle, but Julie Todter wants people to know The Multicultural Services Centre of WA in Bunbury are here to help.
Ms Todter is the Team Leader at MSCWA but said she thinks the organisation is unknown in the community.
“Our main role in Bunbury is our settlement services program, which is used to settle migrants and refugees as quickly as possible and integrate them into the community,” she said.
“We can help migrants and refugees with job applications and Centrelink applications and we advocate for migrants trying to secure visas too.
“But there’s also the mental health and social aspect that can be challenging, making friends and keeping happy.”
One person who receives support from Ms Todter and her team is Paveena Rogers, a migrant from Thailand who lives in Dalyellup with her husband.
Ms Rogers spoke with the Mail about the positives and the negatives surrounding her move to Australia.
“I moved here to be with my husband, and so far it’s been difficult to learn English, it’s been the biggest barrier I’ve encountered,” she said.
“When I talk to different people their accents cause me trouble, hearing words pronounced differently, but I’m at classes with the multicultural services to help me with that.”
Ms Rogers’ struggle to understand and be understood has resulted in difficulty finding a job.
Back in Thailand she was a hairdresser, but finding a job in Australia has been a struggle, a problem Ms Todter said is an issue for a lot of migrants.
“Lots of people come to Australia from countries where they were electrical engineers or proficient tradesmen and they can’t get employed here,” she said.
“The issue is universal among migrants but especially the younger ones, many have already had a disrupted schooling so it’s not surprising for us to learn many come through school but drop out because of language struggles and then have trouble finding employment.”
Ms Rogers said another struggle she faces in everyday life is just making friends.
“I meet people at classes I go to at the settlement services but making friends it can be a bit difficult,” she said.
“But I have good neighbors and haven’t experienced racism in Bunbury so I really enjoy living here.”
For more information on Bunbury’s Multicultural Services Centre, visit mscwa.com.au
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