Australia has a long history of migration. The movement of people has occurred for many different reasons, including family connections, employment opportunities, and in the case of refugees, leaving their home countries due to the effects of war or conflict or persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group. As a result, Australia is a multicultural society filled with people and communities from diverse ethnic, cultural and religious backgrounds.
In Australia, issues relating to refugees are often politicised and the public debate around refugees too often negatively portrays newly arrived refugees and their communities. A lot of people are not aware of the difficult challenges associated with building a new life in Australia.
Some of these challenges are common to all Australians, such as the difficulty of finding a comfortable place to live, connecting to a community, navigating an unfamiliar bureaucracy, connecting to government services or building meaningful friendships. This lesson explores why these challenges are particularly difficult for people who have arrived as refugees. Many refugees living in Australia learn to adapt and even flourish, however it is important to understand the issues that people from a refugee background face when building a new life in Australia.
The Our Stories project explores the stories of four refugees who each arrived in Australia at a different time and from different ethnic, cultural and religious backgrounds. Through the website (www.OurStories.com.au) users are encouraged to step into the shoes of a refugee as they start a new life in Australia. The users learn about the experience of that refugee and are asked to face a series of difficult scenarios encountered by that refugee.
Each of the refugee stories explores important themes, including community, friendship, passion, identity and why it can be difficult to ask for a helping hand. Our Stories explores our common humanity and highlights both the common and unique challenges faced by our newest Australians.
We hope these lessons will inspire young Australians to consider their attitudes towards refugees and take positive action to foster respect among their peers and create a more inclusive and tolerant multicultural society.
To access the lessons, visit For Teachers.
To engage with Our Stories, visit all stories page.