World Refugee Week: dishing up stories and sweets at VU

15 July 2019

The Cultural Diversity portfolio and VU Polytechnic came together to host a special afternoon tea on 18 June for VU’s asylum seeker and refugee students, as part of the World Refugee Week celebrations.

If there ever was a need to understand the transformational aspect of education, it was certainly evident in the stories shared that afternoon. Students related their hopes and dreams of life in Australia - studying midwifery, civil engineering, teaching, hair dressing and construction, also, of reinventing themselves moving from engineering qualifications gained in their home country to paramedicine in Australia in order to contribute to their new homeland.

Sally Morgan, formerly of St. Joseph’s College has worked with many of the students as they transitioned from English language and secondary programs to VU. Sally joined Julie Madden (Asylum Seeker Liaison Officer) and Dr Teresa De Fazio (Manager, Cultural Diversity) to oversee the event which brought the students together with VU staff involved in working with the students.

Hamad, VU Polytechnic hospitality graduate, provided wonderful sweets that had everyone smiling. Hamad is in the process of opening up a restaurant opposite Sunshine Station where he will employ other refugee and asylum seekers. Given the delectable sweets on offer at the morning tea – there is no doubt this social enterprise will be very successful.

Currently, VU has over 100 asylum seeker and refugee students studying in various courses across the Polytechnic and higher education courses. Dr De Fazio, chair of the the VU Asylum Seeker and Refugee Reference Group, acknowledged the collaboration, goodwill and drive of all those involved in supporting the students. She has also commended the hard work and optimism of the students themselves. Watch this space for more future events in this space!


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