In 2018, Link Health and Community (Link HC) partnered with Multicultural Youth Support Services (MYSS) founded by Peter Aguto, an active South Sudanese Australian community leader and AOD/Mental Health practitioner. Together we undertook project activities that supported South Sudanese Australian young people to connect with local services in the South Eastern suburbs of Melbourne.
The South Sudanese Australian community is a diverse and vibrant yet vulnerable community. After migrating in early 2000’s, the civil war in Sudan in 2013 fractured the community here too and it is still healing. The impacts of the refugee journey continue to be felt within the community. Alcohol and other drug use is not a core part of African culture and is used here for coping, which can isolate young people, as their families struggle to understand and support them.
This 2018 project was funded by the Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet, Bennelong Foundation and South East Primary Care Fund. Activities included:
- Establishing a project reference group with local leaders and service providers
- Connecting with 10 young community volunteers and providing them with training
- Engaging the community with an outdoor BBQ and activities led by the young community volunteers
- Parent information sessions (Centrelink, identifying signs of alcohol and other drug misuse)
- Offering paid contract work to two young bi-cultural workers from the community to engage young people and local families to share information about local services.
Building upon this project work, MYSS will continue to set priorities developed by the community for the community. Long term, MYSS aims to work with young people and families and together improve the social, health, education and employment outcomes.