MercyCare / News / Digital Sisters program raises skills and confidence in migrant and refugee women

Digital Sisters program raises skills and confidence in migrant and refugee women

In celebration of this important day, we are proud to spotlight our inspiring Digital Sisters program, dedicated to empowering and equipping women from migrant and refugee backgrounds with essential digital literacy skills.

From mastering online banking, to keeping up with their children’s school apps, and using Google Maps to get around the city, participants can gain the skills and confidence they need to navigate various apps and websites to complete essential day-to-day online tasks.

Digital Sisters is a nation-wide initiative that is delivered in Western Australia by MercyCare’s Multicultural Services team. It connects migrant and refugee women with the online world by providing Digital Mentors to conduct workshops and sessions in the participants’ first language.  

Digital Mentor Lina

Based out of our Mirrabooka Multicultural Hub, we currently have Digital Mentors speaking Spanish, Burmese, Karen, Farsi, and Dari. One of these inspiring people is Lina Vinasco-Hernandez, who conducts weekly sessions in Spanish.

Lina is a passionate advocate for learning and up-skilling, “I took on the role of Digital Mentor because of my deep interest in helping others to improve themselves and encouraging them to achieve their goals and gain more confidence in their digital skills.”

Lina has seen the profound impacts of the program, and the collaborative nature of the learning environment.

“Our sessions not only impart knowledge but also encourage participants to share their own experiences, enriching our collective understanding of what we are learning.”

The ripple effect of the sessions extends beyond the workshops, sparking crucial conversations within participants’ households about digital safety. Lina notes, “Our participants often express the desire to safeguard their families, leading to discussions on topics like online safety and parental controls. For these women, e-safety is paramount, especially in avoiding online scams.”

Arriving in Australia from Colombia five years ago, Lina brings a wealth of experience to her role as a Mentor, holding degrees in Social Work, Community Services, and Community Sector Management.

A Proven Success

Digital Sisters has so far been an overwhelming success, with over 30 sessions conducted since launching in January 2024. Some students have already completed key modules and received certificates to celebrate their achievements.

With thanks to Good Things Foundation Australia and the generous support of the Department of Social Services, this essential program will continue until the end of June. Looking ahead, we aspire to extend the program beyond this initial period to meet the significant demand for this service.

Happy International Women’s Day to Lina and all the amazing and inspiring women involved in this ground-breaking program!