Bourke Men’s Centre Project
The Bourke Men’s Centre provides a dedicated space for local Aboriginal men and youth. A place to bring to life a vision of hope and healing, generating a positive ripple effect on families and the community.
The Men’s Centre project is based in Bourke in partnership with CatholicCare who have worked in the community for over 18 years. A dedicated men’s space with an on-going need for a paid Centre Coordinator who can facilitate volunteer activity is required.
The project focuses on men who are disengaged or at risk of disengagement. This situation was recently described by an Aboriginal man: ‘”As an Aboriginal male myself who has dealt with his own trauma, I understand the barriers that are facing our men today; grief and loss, depression, domestic violence, sexual assault, and incarceration are all traumas causing our men to turn to drugs and alcohol. Our youth are growing up without role models, and our disengaged men can’t break the cycle that is crippling them and the community around them.”
By participating in a range of activities offered, the men have gained a sense of connection, built trust, feel safe to discuss issues impacting themselves and their families, and engage in individual and group-based activities, assisting change and healing.
- Regular peer support groups
- Working bees and Men’s Working Group meetings
- Skill-focused wood or metal workshops
- Painting competitions and community fundays
- Behaviour-focused workshops e.g. Parenting Program, Men’s Behaviour Change program
- Men’s health education e.g. healthy eating, exercising
- Father and son activities
- Embracing leadership roles e.g. mentoring younger men
Eliminating Forced Marriage with Education
The 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 give support to those impacted.
Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking in Humans (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 so frequently face homelessness and social isolation as a result. Leaders of communities are often unaware of the legislation, reporting procedures and available support. The evidence demonstrates the need to expand the work of ACRATH and continue to fund an employed Educator to raise awareness and provide support to teachers and leaders in Australia.
Meri*, aged 18, looked forward to a short holiday with her uncle and his family in her country of birth. When she arrived overseas her passport and mobile phone were removed. Meri was kept in a compound for months with no contact with family in Australia. Meri was told to marry a man in his sixties who was an associate of her uncle. Terrified, she quietly contacted friends via the internet, who engaged the assistance of her Australian school teachers trained by ACRATH. The school staff knew from their ACRATH training what to do and liaised with the Australian Federal Police to organise Meri’s escape and safe return to Australia.
- Fund an on-going Educator
- Present the curriculum resource “My Rights – My Future: forced marriage” to schools identified as vulnerable to the risk of forced marriage
* Please note – Meri’s name has been changed to ensure her anonymity.
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