Australia has performed an excellence job by giving refuge to many in this times of crisis. Now the country is leading with a sector that is not well adapted to the Australian reality. Many of our refugees come from a forsaken place, where they have lost the majority of their possession and here most probably they where uneducated and between fires. Today Australia is trying to integrate such sector by bringing citizenship to them. For a refugee integrate in a new society is not an easy task and some times citizenship is one of the mind clicks necessary to bring them closer to us.
Among many other organizations in Australia we got the chance to talk with Katy, one of the members of Settlement Program at Whittlesea Community Connections. This program is dedicated to teack english and citizenship courses for free to refugees. Katy is one of the weekend teachers that work at the center adonorem to help these people get a better life. “With citizenship comes job, education for their children, integration, community activities and the knowledge that they won’t be deported at the first angry face they get.” Said Katy.
The Settlement Program shows that more than the half of refugees that took the citizenship test failed in the first intent. “Is difficult to find a proficient english speaker for starts, many of them can’t read it and haven’t had much education in their country” Katy explained. From the 2010 results the Program shows a 49% passing rate among refugees. Other problem is that when they fail the get so scared to be deported that they never show up to retakes.
Australia is evaluating the possibility of changing the citizenship test for a course this sector of society could take. English classes, speaking, writing and reading with civic content to prepare refugees to face a smaller test or a series of small tests by chapters to get them through the citizenship testing stage. In many ways this will encourage them to blend in to the Australian society and become Citizens.
These people is desperate to become citizens and are failing because an infrastructure is not supporting them or giving them courage to face the citizenship test. They are also scared to be deported and feel discriminated. When the truth is that we took them from their homes, where danger was, to Australia. We waned to help them. So lets help them all the way through. If a refugee is not getting support to past the test and become an Australian Citizen, means that we are doing something wrong.