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Refugee community invited to experience university life

Family Fun Day showcases benefits of higher education to Illawarra's young refugees

The region’s refugee community had the chance to experience life on campus over the weekend when the University of Wollongong opened its doors for the Refugee Family Fun Day.

Known as Ne Nhier De Piei, the Somali tribal name for ‘For the love of education’, the event on Saturday (2 December) highlighted the opportunities available at the University and encouraged Illawarra refugees to consider a path to higher education.

As part of the Refugee Family Fun Day, now in its third year, families were invited to take part in a number of activities including a soccer game, a tour of Early Start Discovery Space, and a walking tour of the campus.

An information session on what UOW has to offer, where families can ask questions and exchange emails, also formed part of the day, and provided an insight into the higher education pathways available to refugees.

Professor Paul Chandler, UOW’s Pro Vice-Chancellor (Inclusion and Outreach), said it is a great way to encourage the region’s dynamic, young refugee population to consider future study.

“We have many bright, young refugees living and working in the Illawarra, and many have no idea what the University can offer them,” Professor Chandler said.

“The day is not just for individuals, but for families. The Ne Nhier De Piei program cuts through the invisible line that exists between university and many people in our community. It does so in a way that is culturally safe and fun.”

UOW Refugee Family Fun Day Collage

Since the day began, the number of attendees has grown considerably, with more than one hundred participants taking part in Saturday’s activities.

“It is so popular that contributions from community members and organisations such as the Wollongong Wolves, Illawarra Stingrays, St George Illawarra Dragons, UOW College management and staff, and Early Start Discovery Centre are contributing more time and resources which has increased tenfold this year,” Professor Chandler said.

“The University acknowledges the importance of providing our refugee families with support and encouraging their journey into higher education."

Posted in Education
Tagged: Early Start, Community