People making a new life in the Illawarra after escaping persecution in their countries of origin face many challenges as they settle in an unfamiliar place where English is not their first language.
That’s why the #GreaterIllawarra community funding program is delighted that SCARF Refugee Support (Strategic Community Assistance to Refugee Families) is the winner of the July round and has received $2000.
The two runners-up, Youth Dismissed – Art Exhibition and Bikers 4 Heroes, each received $500.
SCARF Acting CEO, Ian Jarman, said virtually all refugees have suffered significant trauma to escape from their home countries and the organisation provides vital links to help people adjust to their new situation.
“The back stories for a lot of these people are really devastating, heartbreaking, a lot of the time. They often leave behind family to make that transition, and that's a real worry for a lot of them,” Ian said.
“SCARF identified that hardly any of these people were established or connected to community effectively by the time their government support ends after five years. English is still a huge issue for them and employment is almost non-existent. We work with them on an ongoing basis until they feel that they don't need our support any longer."
“Our funding is piecemeal. We rely on some government grants but we have to raise about 40 per cent of our funding ourselves through events. That’s been severely impacted by COVID so the money from the #GreaterIllawarra Community Funding Program will be a welcome fillip for us.”
Ian Jarman, SCARF Acting CEO
Greater Bank’s Illawarra Regional Sales Manager, Greg Creagan, said groups like SCARF Refugee support have had a difficult time during the COVID pandemic.
“Fundraising activities for many organisations like SCARF refugee support have been severely curtailed over the past year or more because of restrictions preventing them from holding the kinds of events they usually rely on to raise money,” Greg said.
“Helping refugees build connections and feel at home in the Illawarra is an incredible goal and we are delighted make a contribution to support their operations.”
The August round of the #GreaterIllawarra program is now open with Southern Suburbs Netball Club, Korimul Gang Show and Team Illawarra Camp Quality EsCARpade all vying for a share in the $3000 funding.
The public can cast their vote online at greater.com.au/greaterillawarra or by visiting a Greater Bank branch. Voting closes at 5pm on Wednesday September 1 2021.