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MercyCare helps smooth transition to Australian life for migrants

Moving to any new country can be a bumpy ride at times, but for a local Mirrabooka family the support of MercyCare has helped ensure a smooth transition into Australian life over the last few years.

Since settling in Australia as refugees from Ethiopia about three years ago, Ghion Chlla, his wife Meaza Woldeyes and their three children have developed a strong relationship with the team at MercyCare Mirrabooka, where they have accessed the help of several services to support their transition into Australian life. MercyCare Mirrabooka runs a host of services to support and assist vulnerable groups in the community, including newly-arrived humanitarian and refugee entrants in the Mirrabooka region to stay connected to the economic and social life of the local community. MercyCare's Manager Community and Workforce Development Programs, Maggie Brechany said from the very outset since moving to Mirrabooka about two-and-a-half years ago, Ghion and Meaza enthusiastically embraced the opportunity to access several of MercyCare's services while finding their feet in Perth, including the Workforce Development program, Lending Service and Rental Ready course.

"Many of the clients we work with have fled their homelands with limited possessions, and after arriving in Perth it can be really challenging to do the things many of us take for granted, like getting a Driver's Licence, rent a home, or find a job to help pay the bills, all while adapting to a new language and culture," Ms Brechany said.

"It's been really wonderful to see Ghion and Meaza embrace several of MercyCare's services so wholeheartedly to help make Australia their home. Through the Workforce Development program we helped Ghion and Meaza to prepare resumes and search for jobs, and we were thrilled when both of them successfully found employment with Hall and Prior, a local residential health and aged care organisation, where Meaza works as carer and Ghion as a cleaner."

Having a job is one thing, but being able to get there is another thing – so it soon became clear Ghion and Meaza would need a way of getting around, particularly helping transport their young children. MercyCare arranged a loan through MercyCare's Lending Service, which enabled Ghion and Meaza to pay for driving lessons and to both gain their driver's licenses. Meanwhile the Rental Ready course, which is designed to help first-time renters into Perth's competitive rental market, gave Ghion and Meaza the skills to find their own home. After taking the four day course, which covers the rights and responsibilities of tenants, as well as teaching practical cleaning skills which could be transferred to employment opportunities, the couple were able to successfully rent a home – and they've just turned their home ownership dream into a reality, recently purchasing a home of their own.

Ghion and Meaza said they were enormously grateful for the support of the team at MercyCare, for assisting them to break into the rental market then buy their own home, as well as equipping them both with the skills needed to secure jobs. "We are so glad that we have found the MercyCare centre when we first moved to the north of the river after six months living in the south of the river," Meaza said. "MercyCare has helped us a lot with day-to-day life and all the other barriers we have found as new migrants. "When we meet other new arrivals to Australia we always advise them to come to MercyCare where they will get so much support and answers for all their questions. We are very grateful for everything."