Refugee Council of Australia
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Face-to-Face program overview

Face-to-Face: Schools & Community Program

Face-to-Face: Understanding Refugees

The Face-to-Face program is co-presented by a speaker from a refugee background and a representative of the Refugee Council of Australia.

Presentations are linked to the Australian curriculum (see details overleaf).

Presentations are tailored for primary and secondary students, teachers and interested groups, covering:

  • who refugees are and where they come from
  • facts about refugees worldwide and in Australia
  • the conditions refugees face overseas
  • Australia’s refugee policies

The refugee speakers share personal stories of their journey to safety and give students the opportunity to learn face-to-face about refugees, their experiences and their contributions to Australia.

Incursions can be delivered as a one-hour interactive presentation or two-hour workshop incorporating small group activities. Both presentations and workshops are brought to life with visual support material.

The presentation package includes a comprehensive Resource Guide for teachers containing links to lesson plans, follow-up activities and further reading, as well as information on how to support and advocate for people from refugee backgrounds.

COVID-19 Update

The Face-to-Face program now offers a range of digital packages including virtual incursions, for in-person or digital programs, please complete this booking form.

In-person bookings (Sydney & Melbourne only)

RCOA is offering an incursion program for schools in the Sydney and Melbourne metropolitan areas and Wollongong region.

Under the Face-to-Face program, a representative from RCOA and a speaker of refugee background present to students, teachers and other interested groups about the refugee experience. Refugee speakers share personal stories and give students the opportunity to learn about their experiences and their contributions to Australia. The presentations are linked to the school curriculum and cover who refugees are and where they come from, facts about refugees worldwide and in Australia, conditions faced by refugees overseas and Australia’s refugee policies. Incursions can be delivered as one-hour interactive presentations or two-hour workshops incorporating small group activities. The presentation package includes a comprehensive Resource Guide for teachers that contain links to lesson plans, follow-up activities and further reading.

What participants say about Face-to-Face

Thousands of students, parents and teachers have participated in our presentation sessions and workshops since it was launched in February 2014. Here is what secondary and primary school students said after participating in the Face-to-Face program:

I learnt that we take things for granted and that others aren’t as privileged as we are…Everyone deserves a chance to do well in life and live a life that is safe and full of opportunities for the future.

I learned that refugees aren’t just faceless masses like the media portrays them, they are individuals and have stories.

When he explained his story and his perspective, I felt he gave us an understanding of his experiences and we were able to sympathise with him.

I enjoyed that we could listen to someone who experienced the trauma first hand. I feel I developed a greater understanding of the hardships that refugees faced from the first hand recount.

Final Year Student, Sydney University:

Your session was the highlight of the semester.


The delivery of facts and clarification of terms and the story the refugee told of his struggles and triumphs was very powerful.

Justin Young, Partners in Performance:

We were humbled by George’s positivity, gratitude and passion in the face of a story of destruction, escape, refuge and happiness.

Chris Gabardi, Interchange

We were lucky to have Lizzie Kuoth visit our office recently as guest speaker on a team building event. Lizzie spoke so openly about her life and told incredible stories of her journey from South Sudan to Australia. She spoke with authenticity, honesty and passion and we gained important insight into the lives of refugees and people seeking asylum globally, while also learning how strong her advocacy and human rights commitments are here in Australia. Lizzie has a determination to positively impact change and as a result we have a much better understanding of how we can support the refugee and asylum seeker communities in this country. Thank you Lizzie, you were amazing and are welcome around our table anytime!

What refugee speakers say about Face-to-Face

Simon commenting on his experience in presenting through Face-to-Face

Face-to-Face has given me a platform to express myself and tell the world about my personal story—this is by itself an invaluable opportunity for which I am very much indebted to.
Thus, ever since I embarked on this exciting journey of public speaking, I learnt to appreciate having a voice! In turn, I continuously seek to echo the struggles of those ‘voiceless’ who lack such a representation. My story is about just one, very lucky survival—yet, there are still millions more to be heard.
Samah, Face-to-Face public speaker and volunteer

My involvement in the Face-to-Face program has offered opportunities of advocacy, community service and personal development.

As a speaker and a volunteer for the Face-to-Face program, I am able to use my story and reflect on the issues and challenges of my community. Sharing my lived experience and perspective with schools and community groups in NSW was an opportunity to educate the community on who refugees are and their journey of resettlement. Throughout my time as a speaker, I witnessed the positive impact of the discussion that follows my presentations and the value of creating a safe space for community members to ask questions and learn from a first-hand experience. These instances often lead to new ideas and lessons learned for everyone involved.

Be a champion for refugee rights

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Refugee Week 2022

Refugee Week from 19-25 June 2022 is Australia’s peak annual activity to inform the public about refugees and celebrate positive contributions made by refugees to Australian society.


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