MercyCare / News / Creating Sparkling Futures for Refugee Women

Creating Sparkling Futures for Refugee Women

The program sees clients from refugee and asylum seeker backgrounds engaged by MercyCare as professional cleaning staff, with our first team already up and running.

Maria, a refugee from Venezuela who has been living in Australia for just over a year is one of five ladies involved in the pilot.

A teacher with 25 years’ experience, Maria hasn’t cleaned professionally before but is enjoying the training she is receiving and the social connections the role brings.

“I joined the cleaning service to learn about how to work in Australia. Working in this country is very different to working in Venezuela.” Said Maria.

“The job keeps me busy so I can forget my worries for a moment, and it also helps me to practice my English, which is so important for my future.”

Maria and her colleagues share the job of cleaning MercyCare’s Multicultural Services Office in Mirrabooka each day, taking turns from Monday to Friday.  

On top of this commitment, they are also taking on larger jobs as a team, starting with a deep clean of MercyCare’s old residential aged care home in Maddington.

Seeing the impact on participants

Employment Liaison Officer Stephanie Silla has played an integral role in establishing the program and is thrilled with the impact it’s having.

“The evident growth in these participants from the building of their confidence to the learning of new skills and being able to sustain employment is nothing short of extraordinary.”

“Each participant when handed their MercyCare lanyard displayed a big smile, quietly backed by a sense of pride and belonging.”

“As a result of this project, the Mirrabooka premises has had a hygienic lift and all staff located at the site have appreciated the change.” Steph continued.

“The MercyCare Cleaning Services staff in turn have learnt some key employability skills, an understanding into Australian workplace culture and onboarding procedures, and a personal insight of being part of the MercyCare family.”

The team-members’ SETS Employment Caseworker Afsoun Mohammadkhani can also see the enormous benefits the pilot program is already bringing to all the women.

“I can see each of the women developing their leadership skills as they assist with organising the cleaning and other skills such as time management that are critical for work in Australia.” Said Afsoun.

“We have seen some remarkable troubleshooting of problems! But the biggest change has been in their confidence and watching them grow in confidence and recognise their own abilities in a new environment.”

Next steps with new skills

As the participants develop their skills, they will be able to take on more professional cleaning jobs within MercyCare, as well as for external organisations; with the ultimate goal of moving into further employment opportunities beyond MercyCare when they’re ready to take that next step.

This week is Refugee Week, a national celebration of harmony and togetherness that recognises the immense value that refugees bring to Australia, while raising awareness of the issues affecting over 82 million forcibly displaced people worldwide as a result of war, persecution, and human rights violations.

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