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

Case study: Queensland Rohingya community

The Queensland Rohingya Community (QRC) was formed in 2010 and registered in 2011 by a small group of young newly arrived Rohingya men. There are currently around 76 members. Originally all were located in Queensland but members are now scattered throughout Australia. Members include families, young people attending high school and an increasing number of single male people seeking asylum on bridging visas.

QRC comprises nine executive committee members who are elected annually. Activities, including financial support for Rohingya in transit countries, are self-funded with executive committee members contributing most of the funds. However members attending specific activities such as cultural performances are invited to make a contribution.

QRC has applied for and received some small grants for community celebrations and cultural performances. All activities are implemented by volunteers.
Some of the activities undertaken by QRC to date include:

  • Settlement support for Rohingya people seeking asylum on bridging visas and newly arrived refugees including providing translation and familiarisation with local banking, accommodation, health, support agencies and systems.
  • Sporting activities and social groups for young people in Australia – cricket, barbecues etc.
  • Social events to celebrate religious festivals.
  • Meetings to brief community members on local cultural practices.
  • Advocacy activities – information forums for the local (Australian) community.
  • Lobby meetings with political parties to brief them on circumstances of Rohingya in Burma and in transit countries. The commitment of many members to serve their community is a continuation of their leadership roles in transit countries which they often undertook at great risk to themselves. This advocacy has helped secure recognition by the international community of the plight of stateless Rohingyas.
  • Financial support for newly arrived Rohingyas in Malaysia and support for displaced Rohingya in Burma.
  • The Community is planning to offer support for around 20 students in Bangladesh who have completed matriculation requirements to further their education at local Bangladeshi universities.

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