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Supporting Refugee Friends in High School

Did you know there are over 11,000 refugee students currently in public schools in New South Wales alone? Being a supportive friend can make a world of difference to someone who has experienced the challenges of displacement and starting anew. In this blog, we’ll explore some simple yet impactful ways you can lend your support. So, let’s dive in.

Show empathy and listen

When it comes to supporting your refugee friends, empathy is key. Put yourself in their shoes and try to understand the unique struggles they may be facing. Offer a listening ear and create a safe space for them to share their experiences. Sometimes, all they need is someone who genuinely cares and is willing to listen without judgment.

Learn about their culture

One fantastic way to show support is by taking an interest in your friend’s culture. Ask questions, explore their customs, traditions, and celebrations. This not only helps you develop a deeper understanding of their background but also shows your friend that you value their heritage. You might even discover some incredible similarities or shared interests along the way.

Offer language assistance

Language barriers can be daunting for refugees, especially in an academic setting. If your friend is still learning the local language, you can offer your help. Simple gestures like explaining unfamiliar words, practising conversations, or even recommending language-learning resources can make a significant impact. Your support can boost their confidence and help them navigate their new environment more comfortably.

Include them in social activities

High school isn’t just about academics; it’s also a time for building friendships and creating memories. Including your refugee friend in social activities can help them feel more connected and integrated. Invite them to hang out with your friend group, participate in extracurricular activities together, or attend school events. Your inclusion and acceptance can make a world of difference in their overall wellbeing.

Be a peer mentor

As a high school student, you possess unique skills and knowledge that can be of immense help to your refugee friend. Offer your assistance as a peer mentor, helping them navigate the ins and outs of the education system, offering study tips, and providing guidance on coursework. By sharing your knowledge and supporting their academic journey, you’re empowering them to thrive in their new school environment.

Advocate for inclusivity

Advocacy is a powerful tool for change. Speak up for inclusivity and support initiatives that promote diversity within your school community. Collaborate with student groups, organise cultural events, or initiate conversations about refugee rights and integration. By taking a stand, you’re actively fostering an environment of acceptance and understanding.

Connect them with resources

There are various organisations and resources available that specifically assist refugees in their integration process. Take the time to research local organisations and programs that can provide support to your friend. Share this information with them, helping them access valuable resources such as language classes, counselling services, or mentorship programs. Your effort in connecting them to these resources can make a tremendous difference in their lives.

Remember, the little acts of kindness and support you offer can have a profound impact on a person’s wellbeing and sense of belonging. By embracing empathy, promoting inclusivity, and being a supportive friend, you can make a positive difference in their life.

You can find more wellbeing resources on our website here.

Need help? Support is available

AUSTRALIA

If you are in an emergency situation or need immediate assistance, always call 000.

Urgent Help
Lifeline: Call 13 19 40 | Text 0477 13 11 14 | lifeline.org.au
Beyond Blue: 1300 22 4636 | beyondblue.org.au
Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467 | suicidecallbackservice.org.au

Youth
Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800 | kidshelpline.com.au
headspace: headspace.org.au

First Nations
13YARN: 13 92 76 | 13yarn.org.au
Thirrili: 1800 805 801 | thirrili.com.au

Domestic Violence
1800RESPECT: 1800 737 732 | 1800respect.org.au

LGBTQIA+
QLife: 1800 184 527 | qlife.org.au

Veterans
Open Arms: 1800 011 046 | openarms.gov.au

NEW ZEALAND

If you are in an emergency situation or need immediate assistance, always call 111.

Urgent Help
Lifeline: Call 0800 543 354 | Text 4357 | lifeline.org.nz
TAUTOKO Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865
Samaritans: 0800 726 666 | samaritans.org.nz
Need to Talk?: 1737 | 1737.org.nz

Youth
Youthline: Call 0800 376 633 | Text 234 | youthline.co.nz
What’s Up: 0800 942 8787 | whatsup.co.nz

Older People
Seniorline: 0800 725 463 | seniorline.org.nz

Domestic Violence
Shine: 0508 744 633 | 2shine.org.nz

Men
He Waka Tapu: 0800 439 252 | hewakatapu.org.nz

LGBTQIA+
OutLine: 0800 688 5463 | outline.org.nz

Māori & Pasifika
Vaka Tautua: 0800 652 535 | vakatautua.co.nz
Whetu Helpline: 0800 494 388 | pw.maori.nz

CALD
Asian Family Services: 0800 862 342 | asianfamilyservices.nz

UNITED KINGDOM

If you are in an emergency situation or need immediate assistance, always call 999.

Urgent Help
Samaritans: 116 123 | samaritans.org
SANEline: 0300 304 7000 | sane.org.uk
Shout Crisis Text Line: Text SHOUT to 85258 | giveusashout.org

Welsh
Samaritans Welsh: 0808 164 0123 | samaritans.org/samaritans-cymru
C.A.L.L.: Call 0800 132 737 | Text HELP to 81066 | callhelpline.org.uk

Older People
Age UK: 0800 678 1602 | ageuk.org.uk
Age Cymru: 0300 303 44 98 | ageuk.org.uk/cymru

Domestic Violence
Juno Women’s Aid: 0808 800 0340 | junowomensaid.org.uk
Men Standing Up Helpline: 0300 3030 167 | bradfordcyrenians.org.uk/men-standing-up

LGBTQIA+
Switchboard: 0800 0119 100 | switchboard.lgbt
Galop LGBT+ Hate Crime Helpline: 020 7704 2040

Immigrants & Refugees
Barnardo’s Boloh Helpline (for asylum seekers): 0800 151 2605 | helpline.barnardos.org.uk/boloh-helpline
Migrant Help UK: 0808 801 0503 | migranthelpuk.org

CALD
Muslim Youth Helpline: 0808 808 2008
EYST Wales: 0808 801 0720

IRELAND

If you are in an emergency situation or need immediate assistance, always call 999 or 112.

Urgent Help
Samaritans: 116 123
Pieta: 1800 247 247
Text About It: Text HELLO to 50808

Youth
Childline: 1800 66 66 66
Teenline: 1800 833 634

Older People
ALONE: 0818 222 024
Senior Line: 1800 804 591

Domestic Violence
Women’s Aid: 1800 341 900
Men’s Aid Ireland: 01 554 3811

LGBTQIA+
LGBT Ireland: 1890 929 539
The Switchboard: 01 872 1055

Immigrants & Refugees
Immigrant Council of Ireland: 01 674 0200

CALD
Cairde: 01 855 2111

UNITED STATES

If you are in an emergency situation or need immediate assistance, always call 911.

Urgent Help
Suicide & Crisis Lifeline: 988
Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741 741
NAMI Hotline: 800 950 6264

Youth
The Youthline: 877 968 8491
Teen Line: 800 852 8336

First Nations
Crisis Line for Racial Equity: 503 575 3764
StrongHearts Helpline: 1 844 762 8483

Domestic Violence
National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1 800 799 7233
STAND!: 888 215 5555

LGBTQIA+
The Trevor Project: 1 866 488 7386
The Trans Lifeline: 1 877 565 8860

Immigrants & Refugees
National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights: 1 510 465 1984

CALD
Nacional de Prevención del Suicidio: 888 628 9454

CANADA

If you are in an emergency situation or need immediate assistance, always call 911.

Urgent Help
Suicide & Crisis Lifeline: 988
Talk Suicide: 1 833 456 4566
The Listening Ear Crisis Hotline: 517 337 1717

Youth
Kids Help Phone: 1 800 668 6868
Or text CONNECT to 686868

First Nations
Hope for Wellness: 1 855 242 3310
Or chat online at hopeforwellness.ca

Domestic Violence
Family Violence Info Line: 780 310 1818
Fem’aide (French): 1 877 336 2433

LGBTQIA+
LGBT National Hotline: 1 888 843 4564
The Trans Lifeline: 1 877 330 6366

Immigrants & Refugees
Refugee HealthLine: 1 866 286 4770

CALD
Multicultural Mental Health Resource Centre: multiculturalmentalhealth.ca

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