New research has been conducted into the impact of employment and volunteering in facilitating health and wellbeing outcomes for refugees in regional or rural areas in Australia. The article Qualitative exploration of the impact of employment and volunteering upon the health and wellbeing of African refugees settled in regional Australia: a refugee perspective was published in BMC Public Health.
The study found that paid work and volunteering engenders self-fulfilment and sense of belonging. This helped facilitate successful integration of refugees into new rural and regional communities. The research explored personal perspectives of refugees in regional Australia, providing insights into various ways engagement with work and volunteering influenced perceived health, well-being and sense of self. The study sampled nine adults from African country of origin refugees in regional Australia to uncover themes in semi-structured interviews.
Further findings include that employment allowed an adequate standard of living which improves healthcare access and promoting healthy lifestyle behaviours. It also found adverse effects of employment amongst the participants including included difficulties managing work-life balance, disconnect with family and loss of traditional heritage. However, these shortcomings were significantly outweighed by the positive effects of employment.
In conclusion, the authors found volunteering promoted community connections and positive self-worth which helped prepare refugees for the workforce and promote cultural and social integration.