Australia has one of the highest refugee resettlement rates in the world. Although many women refugees have had to flee from their countries as a result of war and other crises, adjustment to life in a new country also presents significant challenges.
Immigrant and refugee women in Australia suffer on many levels: economic, social, cultural, educational, in addition to language barriers. Art of Living volunteers in Sydney are running programs for migrant and refugee women from mixed religious and cultural backgrounds. These programs create positive personal outcomes for the women, presenting aspects of health and wellbeing in a culturally sensitive manner. The sessions teach home nutrition, relationship building, personal development, stress management and build awareness around their health and wellbeing.
Victorian Immigrant and Refugee Women’s Coalition (VIC)
The Art of Living Foundation partnered with the St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School to offer the All Round Training in Excellence (ART EXCEL) program to all students in the years 3-6 during school hours.
In 2010 the school, based in the inner city suburb of Collingwood, received a large intake of new students, many from newly arrived migrant families. This presented challenges to both the staff and students as they struggled to adapt to the changes in the school and wider community.
For some children, the stress of relocation resulted in aggressive, reactive behavior in the classroom. Around 100 children participated in the program. Many children were found to be calmer, more self-aware and better connected with their peers and teachers. While nurturing human values of friendliness, compassion and courage in each child, the program fostered inner resilience and socio-emotional skills. After the Art Excel course, a weekly follow-up session was held for each of the cohorts for a whole school term. As the team of Art of Living facilitators and volunteers witnessed sessions come alive with laughter, enthusiasm and love, it became evident that Love Indeed Does Move the World.