Kayla Szumer, left, from Buddies Refugee Support Group and Ingrid Klein-Ovink from Sea English Academy have together initiated a refugee English program.
Kayla Szumer, left, from Buddies Refugee Support Group and Ingrid Klein-Ovink from Sea English Academy have together initiated a refugee English program. Brett Wortman

Language builds solid bridges

LANGUAGE barriers are the most confronting for refugees desperate to make a life in Australia.

But Buddies Refugee group in Buderim and the Sea English Academy in Maroochydore have joined forces to ensure we're all talking the same language.

The work being done on the Coast is particularly poignant this week as Australia celebrates Refugee Week, with World Refugee Day tomorrow.

"Australians can be rightly proud of the fact that Australia resettles more refugees per capita than any other nation and provides much-needed protection to people who have suffered persecution," Minister for Immigration and Citizenship Chris Bowen said.

Minister for Multicultural Affairs Senator Kate Lundy said our settlement support services were among the best in the world, helping refugees to rebuild their lives here.

"Refugees in Australia have overcome hardship to live, study and work here, and Refugee Week is a time to reflect on the contribution they have made to our community, economy and culture," she said.

Kayla Szumer, of Buddies, has been an advocate for refugee inclusion her whole life as her parents fled Russia in the 1920s.

"I know all about the problems of refugees and I think it's really important we put out a welcoming hand to people who are in need even though they come from other places," she said.

"One of the important things for anyone, newcomers to this country, is to learn the language."

Buddies and Sea English Academy is now hosting the third Learn English Holiday group of refugees who will spend the week with local families and learn English for a couple of hours each day.

Ingrid Klein-Ovink, of the Sea English Academy, said the program helped the refugees improve their English and benefited their students who were completing their Certificate 4 in Tesol.



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