A very happy and blessed 2024 to all.
Marist180 is the only registered provider of the Unaccompanied Humanitarian Minors (UHM) program in NSW and the ACT. Our program provides a stable, safe home environment for young asylum seekers, enabling them to feel safe, build confidence and work towards living independently in Australia. It aims to provide holistic care, accommodation and settlement services to children and young people who may have torture and trauma backgrounds, language challenges, disabilities, specific mental health and educational needs.
The UHM program is unique in many ways. Our multilingual, multi-faith team brings and applies a caring, therapeutic approach to care, connecting each young person to their culture and religion and encouraging and supporting them to engage with their new Australian community. Most of our young people arrived in Australia together and continue to have strong relationships with each other. In building on these relationships, we, across the year, organise group activities that involve all the houses within UHM. The therapeutic framework outlines 16 core principles for providing care, one of which is to provide a quality care environment that supports positive, safe, and healing relationships and experiences.
To this end, the UHM team organise an annual event for all our cohort to celebrate their birthdays/New Year(s). This event, on January 11, in Sydney, built on core principles and celebrates the birthdays of our young people in care and takes the opportunity to build on their relationships with each other and with our organisation.
All the houses within the program contributed by bringing food and drinks, and Marist180 also catered some of the event, with chicken, falafel, pizzas, cake, and fruit. Our outreach UHM clients attended the event, some travelling from as far afield as Canberra for the celebration. We celebrated with Marist180 carers, House Coordinators, Case Managers and Therapeutic Specialists. This was a great opportunity for all our young people to see the organisation work together to celebrate them-for them, with them. We involved them in group games such as football, toss and catch, frisbee, tug of war and kite flying. We also arranged for a face painter which all the children and young people loved and engaged with!
It was an enormously enjoyable, successful, fun filled day that allowed all the clients and staff to catch up and create positive memories for our young people, which they will be able to add to their ‘Life Story’ work, an element of their care program.