When Arabic speaking refugees and migrants aged 55 and over arrive in Australia, life can be very difficult. The language barriers can damage their confidence to get out and about, creating isolation, and putting both their physical and mental health in danger.
The challenge was to help the Western Sydney Migrant Resource Centre (MRC) give these older refugees and migrants the confidence to take gradual steps outside of their comfort zone.
We knew that to understand the complexities of moving countries, we needed to speak to the community directly. Through translators and cups of tea, we established that most refugees and migrants feel happy to be in Australia, and the help of the MRC plays a crucial role in building that feeling. They see mental health and confidence as the foundation from which physical health and activity can grow.
Most importantly, despite the struggles that may lead refugees and migrants to leave their home country, they are still just normal older people, who want to enjoy their lives.
Our strategy became clear through these conversations; we needed to show new refugees and migrants the help and confidence that MRC can provide, using the stories of those who have been in the situation before.
the big idea
Thinking about the complexities of cultural differences between Arabic and English, we developed an idea based on simplicity of language. Two Worlds, Two Words. Each story was built around a relevant two-word phrase, to clearly and simply bridge the gap between newly arrived migrants/refugees’ home countries, and their new home in Australia.
The idea was designed to be flexible, allowing the maximum scope for community and volunteer involvement.
The agency used the community to help launch the idea via a series of videos featuring a range of local people sharing their two words of advice and a trio of sisters who moved from Iraq in 2016.
In addition, the idea is now being used in a range of Western Sydney MRC’s support materials (eg. informational leaflets and booklets) and community engagement events.