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STARTTS in schools: Integrating evaluation and practice to support students from refugee backgrounds

December 2019

By Shakeh Momartin, Kevin McGrath, Shaun Nemorin, Mariano Coello and Helen Bibby

The purpose of this paper is to highlight the synergies between evaluation and practice that inform STARTTS in Schools. We hope that in doing so we might contribute to further discourse about the ways in which service providers and schools that work with similarly vulnerable and marginalised groups of people might ensure their work is informed by evidence and is community oriented.

In this paper we provide some background to the current refugee context, the biopsychosocial systemic model informing our work, and the services STARTTS provides to schools. We then present an example that illustrates the way in which we integrate evaluation into practice–a mixed methods evaluation of our Capoeira Angola program for students–and discuss our experience of integrating research into practice, including what helps and some of the challenges of evaluating services when working with our vulnerable population of survivors of torture and trauma.

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Jungle Tracks: Unleashing the power of stories to heal from refugee trauma.

June 2020

By Pearl Fernandes, Yvette Aiello and Emma Pittaway

Children and young people from refugee backgrounds witness and experience multiple traumatic incidents in the context of their refugee journeys that often remain unspoken because of the inherent challenge to think and talk about these experiences. In addition, they encounter ongoing trials when transitioning to their new homes which place them at risk. Jungle Tracks was developed in 2002 to facilitate therapeutic engagement with refugee children and young people in schools, within a preventative framework.

It is a collection of five short stories that have been composed to mirror multiple traumas and cumulative struggles including grief and loss, displacement, discrimination, disempowerment, difficulties with sleep and affect regulation. Whilst communicating in a non-threatening manner, the stories encourage the reader/listener to connect and make meaning of their traumas by identifying with the protagonists in the stories.

Jungle Tracks not only bypasses initial resistance but also leverages the power of stories to instil hope and unleash innate healing forces. This paper aims to provide an overview of the Jungle Tracks programme and the results of an initial evaluation of the implementation of Jungle Tracks. This was initiated to provide direction for future research and development of the programme. It was concluded that when children and young people are given the opportunity to process and make meaning of their past traumatic experiences, it can assist them to heal and recover and also offer them the potential for post traumatic growth.

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Community partnership with Rohingya refugees in Sydney, Australia: a systemic approach towards healing and recovery

November 2019

By Shaun Anthony Nemorin, Shakeh Momartin and Mohammad Junaid

This field report highlights some modalities used in resettlement countries, such as Australia, which provide services to vulnerable Rohingya refugees. It encompasses both personal reflections coupled with an overview of the agency-based operational framework and evaluation which underpins the work of Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors and informs our community work towards the recovery of those impacted by war and systemic state-sponsored terrorism. Our aim is to further contribute to discourse about the ways in which service provision is accomplished, ensuring marginalised refugee groups are protected and supported.

A background to the current Rohingya refugee context is provided, as well as the biopsychosocial systemic model informing our work. A brief overview of our agency’s various programmes, informed by community consultations and designed to foster healing Rohingya refugees, is presented. We describe our experience in evaluating services for improving efficacy when working with traumatised populations, including recommendations towards community self-determination and asset-based community development for Rohingya refugees.

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Working to improve refugee resettlement in Australia

October 2018

By Shaun Anthony Nemorin and Peter Shergold

While a lot of media and political debate is focused on where asylum-seekers should be resettled, what issues do they face in their new homes? How do they recover from the trauma of their past and build a new life? Professor Peter Shergold is NSW Coordinator General for Refugee Resettlement and has a recent perspective paper on what he has learnt in his three years in the role.

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