Community Hub offers citizenship information program for new refugees

By Laura Briggs

Eighteen newly arrived refugees have completed the first series of citizenship sessions run by the Gowrie Street Primary School Community Hub in partnership with the Ethnic Council of Shepparton.

The eight-week program was provided for refugees who wished to learn about Australian culture before undergoing a citizenship test that would allow them to gain Australian citizenship.

Community Hub leader Zahra Haydar Big said with lots of new information for the refugees to learn, the class spent the first five weeks studying a module before taking practice tests as part of the remaining sessions.

“There are about 200 questions, so we go through all of those,” Ms Haydar Big said.

“It’s better if they cover all the questions so they are confident for any question to come up in the real test when it comes to it.”

She said the program had been an overall success that they looked to continue next term.

“We can see it’s a big need in our community, so hopefully we’ll get lots of participants coming in.”

As language barriers can be difficult for many, Ms Haydar Big said a translator attended each session to help people to feel comfortable and get the most out of each session.

The eight-week citizenship information program will start again in October.

The program is open to mothers with young children — childcare will be provided during class times.

The maximum number of participants for the program is 14 and all remaining refugees will be placed on a waiting list.

Those wishing to attend are encouraged to secure a spot by contacting Gowrie Street Primary School on 5821 3100 or emailing Zahra Haydar Big at [email protected]

Those who are interested in volunteering as part of the program are also encouraged to contact Zahra.