Refugee Council of Australia
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Paid work and volunteering helps facilitate integration into new rural and regional communities amongst refugees, new study finds.

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 study found that paid work and volunteering engenders self-fulfilment and sense of belonging which helped facilitate successful integration of refugees into new rural and regional communities. The study 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.

The study found that employment allowed adequate standard of living which improves healthcare access and promoting healthy lifestyle behaviours. The study 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.

The study found that volunteering promoted community connections and positive self-worth which helped prepare refugees for the workforce and promote cultural and social integration. The full study can be accessed here.

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