TORQUAY refugee support group M.O.T.H.E.R.S (Mothers Offering Time, Help, Engagement, Refugee Support) is co-ordinating a playgroup for isolated refugee mothers from the wider Geelong region.
The playgroup will offer respite and social opportunities for refugee families, with childcare provided by volunteers from
M.O.T.H.E.R.S, Surf Coast Rural Australians for Refugees (SCRAR) and Grandmothers Against the Detention of Refugee Children.
The monthly playgroup, modelled on St Luke’s Anglican Church Torquay’s successful Take a Breath Playgroup, will be held in partnership with Spring Creek Community House. M.O.T.H.E.R.S co-founders Mary Rose Avent and Laura Connor said the group had identified the need for a support network for recently arrived women at risk (visa subclass 204 – for women who do not have the protection of a male relative and are in danger of victimisation, harassment or serious abuse because of their gender).
“We are creating a space where families and children can connect, play and join in a conversation with isolated refugee mothers;
sharing in cultural exchange and activities in a supportive environment” Mary Rose said.
The first playgroup will be Thursday 14 September at Rosewall Neighbourhood Centre in Corio, close to many refugee families, with plans for bus trips to Torquay, beach excursions and a playgroup hosted by St Luke’s on Thursday, September 28th.
‘The main aim is ... awareness [of] the need for support for isolated women at risk in the refugee community,” Mary Rose explained. “We hope to gain more volunteers and support, through financial, clothing or household donations, one-on-one support, tutoring or just a friendly face to enjoy a cuppa and a chat.’
Since its inception in May 2017, M.O.T.H.E.R.S volunteers have arranged for the purchase and/or donation of warm clothing, shoes, beds, mattresses and linen for refugee families in need in the local Geelong region.