Refugee Council of Australia
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The strength within: The role of refugee community organisations in settlement

Case study: Equatoria Community Welfare

The Equatoria Community Welfare Association (ECWA) is a non-profit, non-religious umbrella organisation representing Equatorian and other Sudanese people living in NSW. ECWA was established in 2003 with current membership of around 2,000 people. Membership is open to Equatorian Australians and others who show a commitment to the Association’s objectives. There are three categories of membership: full membership (18+), junior membership and associate members (open to all).

The vision of the Association is “A peaceful, culturally strong Equatorian and wider Sudanese community contributing to a diverse Australian society”. The Association has a volunteer committee of management elected by the general assembly of all voting members at the Annual General Meeting. Committee members hold their positions for a two year period. Activities are run by volunteers from the range of ethnic communities it represents. Funds are raised through fees and donations.

Activities organised by ECWA include:

  • Celebrating significant festivals and events e.g. South Sudan Independence Day.
  • Child care and activities for children 5-11 years old.
  • Social, cultural events – providing facilities for young people to practice and perform music and cultural dance classes.
  • South Sudanese Soccer Tournament.
  • Youth camp and barbecue.
  • Support for new arrivals.
  • Linking clients to local settlement services.
  • Attending migrant services interagency meetings and community conferences.
  • Providing two TAFE student placements at ECWA office.
  • Partnerships and advocacy with other local organisations (e.g. STARTTS, TAFE, Fairfield MRC, local council).
  • Homework help.
  • Activities for women to address issues of social isolation (e.g. craft program, excursions).
  • Assistance to member organisations to apply for support, liaise or correspond with state or other public bodies.
  • Translation of documents.

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