Bourke Men’s Centre Project
Partner | CatholicCare Wilcannia Forbes
Location | Bourke, Australia
The Bourke Men’s Centre provides a dedicated space for Aboriginal men to meet, attend to men’s business, share stories, reconnect with their culture, spirituality and community, and become role models to other young men and boys.
The Men’s Centre is based in Bourke and was established in partnership with various local not-for-profit groups, including CatholicCare Wilcannia Forbes, which has worked in the community for over 18 years.
This project provides for the employment of a project coordinator to facilitate volunteer activities at the dedicated men’s space. The project coordinator engages men in a diverse range of activities, including peer support groups, skills workshops, behavioural-focused programs, and health education seminars.
By participating in these activities, men gain a sense of connection, build trust and feel safe to acknowledge and address issues impacting them and their families, and engage in individual and group-based activities towards change and healing.
Progress for the Bourke Men’s Centre project, delivered by local partner, CatholicCare Wilcannia Forbes, has been challenging as its success relies heavily on the full-time project coordinator. Due to COVID-19, the project partner experienced difficulty filling the role; however, this has since been rectified, and Bourke Men’s Centre is thriving again.
The project aims to reach a minimum of 30% of the adult male population of Bourke, estimated at more than 100 men. Another 250 women and children are indirect beneficiaries through the healing impact on the men’s families.
Community ownership and impact is at the heart of this project. Collaboration between representatives of the target group and the local service provider network establishes a strong foundation. CatholicCare aims to grow this collaboration by inviting more stakeholders to participate in similar initiatives.
Project participants take ownership of the content and schedule of activities, which includes:
- Peer support groups
- Working bees and men’s working groups
- Skill-focused wood and metal workshops
- Painting competitions and community days
- Behaviour-focused workshops e.g. Parenting seminars and men’s behaviour change programs
- Men’s health education e.g. healthy eating and exercising
- Father and son activities
- Mentoring and leadership training
Educating for the Elimination of Forced Marriage
Location | Australia
This project aims to combat human trafficking, specifically in the form of forced marriage, by implementing education and prevention strategies that uphold the human rights of all people and provide support to those impacted.
Project partner ACRATH is a leading organisation in the fight against human trafficking, and through this project, they provide awareness training for key groups particularly vulnerable to forced marriage. School communities, faith-based groups, frontline healthcare staff and youth workers receive the training so that they are well-equipped to identify and respond to potential victims and survivors of forced marriage.
ACRATH finds that many young women and girls face forced marriage without knowing it is illegal in Australia. When discovering it is a crime, they may be unsure of how to exercise their legal rights and frequently face homelessness and social isolation as a result. Leaders of communities are often unaware of the legislation, reporting procedures and available support.
Over a six-month period, awareness training is delivered to at least 25 school communities and healthcare settings, impacting hundreds of staff, youth workers and thousands of Australian school students. The training addresses the specific issue of forced marriage, the human rights of all people concerning marriage, the support available to people facing forced marriage, and the illegality of forced marriage in Australia.
This project provides for the employment of an educator who is trained and experienced in forced marriage. Specifically, this trained educator:
- Provides professional development for school staff and ongoing support to assist them in introducing this topic of study into the school curriculum.
- Supports staff to confidently deliver the curriculum materials, using the resource kit ‘My Rights – My Future: forced marriage.’
- Assists school wellbeing staff to become familiar with reporting procedures regarding issues with individual students.
- Ensures that identified or suspected forced marriages of students are referred to appropriate authorities.
- Provides training adapted to frontline healthcare staff and youth workers in various settings so they are well-equipped to identify and respond to potential victims and survivors of forced marriage.
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