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Mountain connecting former male refugees to new home

A PROGRAM developed by Colony 47’s Reconnect/Newly Arrived Youth Support Service (NAYSS) is helping young former refugee males build a sense of belonging and connection to Tasmania.
MOUNTAIN is a six-month targeted intervention that restores a “sense of place” through participation in “rites of passage” adventure-based outdoor activities that include bushwalking, abseiling, deep-sea fishing, sculpture, equine therapy, bush regeneration/track construction, and Aboriginal cultural experience.
The program grew out of informal consultations carried out in 2011 with young male students from  refugee backgrounds at high schools and colleges in the southern Tasmanian area.
Through the project, the participants’ interests and goals are used to feed into the program’s content.
Program coordinator Julian Northmore said that most participants were socially isolated, both at school and within the broader community, which mean that their need to connect was incredibly strong.
“These young men come from cultures deeply associated with the natural world,” he said.
“By the time they are granted refuge in Tasmania they have experienced untold hardship and heartache.
“When you hear the young men singing traditional Farsi songs and taking turns in leading the chorus as they crunch along the burnt out scrub on the slopes of Collin’s Cap you can hear how therapeutic and important this program really is.”
Mr Northmore said that through the MOUNTAIN program run by Colony 47 over the past two years, it had become increasingly apparent how critical this type of support is for young men to develop a stronger sense of understanding and connection to their new community.
With growing referral and support for the program and requests being made to present intrastate on the model’s strategies regarding community engagement, MOUNTAIN appears to have a bright future.
Colony 47 is currently seeking ongoing funding to keep this vital program going.
For further information contact Colony 47 by phoning 6222 1530 or email colony@colony47.com.au

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