With the help of M.A.D (Making a Difference), Bond University’s Global Healthy Group, the Bond Healthy Start team held their first training workshop. With over 60 students from Griffith, UQ, and BOND, we had a great night with a mix of guest speakers as well as small group simulation stations. The training workshop is designed to prepare students before they participate in a Healthy Start session with refugees.
The evening started with Marrillo Jayasuriya, the founder of Healthy Start, talking about the issues facing refugees and asylum seekers. This included the difference between a refugee and an asylum seeker, their rights in Australia and how to be culturally aware while acknowledging what they have been through.
His talk was followed by Sally Sergeant, a lecturer at Bond University who specialises on the psychological aspects of interacting with this specific and very vulnerable demographic.. By incorporating her vast knowledge along with personal experiences, she armed the students with not only exposure about what they will face, but also what to do in certain situations and how to appropriately manage with psychologically scarred individuals in the community. This allowed us to properly refer the clients on to where they may get help from, and give us techniques to deal with our own thoughts and emotions. Overall, it was a captivating and insightful talk, and essential when participating in the Healthy Start program.
The next presentation was from Nikki Wynne, who spoke mainly about the legal aspects that clients of the program are facing. She was particularly interesting because of the recent change in government, which meant there were some changes in the legalities and rights that the clients had.
The final speaker was Lida Dilari, who spoke about her personal story arriving in Australia as a refugee from her home country. She spoke about her family, home, journey and the challenges she faced. This was one of the most touching moments as students appreciated the human aspect behind the statistics and data. It was an emotional and moving story and we are honored to have her share her story.
Following the speakers, students were divided into groups for simulation sessions, which involved a run through of their prospective module, as well as role-play and what to expect on the day. This included practical notes about how to interact with clients and translators and how to educate adults.
In a nutshell, it was a great night which ran smoothly and was very successful. Everyone felt more prepared and ready to participate in the Healthy Start sessions, and of course, tummies were happy with lots of pizza! Special thanks needs to go out to all our speakers for coming and sharing their knowledge and experiences with us. In addition, thank you to the trainers for the individual sessions and the larger M.A.D committee for taking time out to help with the night. And last but most of all an amazing amount of work by Arjun Khaira, Priya Sekar and Hiba Gundru who dedicated themselves tirelessly for months on end to have a smoothly running event. An inspiring night and well worth the effort, well done everyone!