STUDENTS at Chisholm Catholic College, Cornubia, are rewriting the future for refugees and migrants through a pioneering project titled Liberation Letters.
Under strict and close supervision, the students have visited Multilink Community Services at Logan Central once a week after school to offer practical support preparing resumes and cover letters for mostly refugee and migrants.
The project began with the students reading at Logan Central Library with refugees and migrants with little or no English language skills.
Chisholm campus minister Jo-Anne Ibell said Year 12 students attended the USQ Change Makers Program early in the year with the specific project in mind.
Ms Ibell said the students pitched their idea and received funding from the Change Makers pool of funds.
She said the eight Year 12 students and three Year 9 student leaders then spent their SECA Sport time initially providing literacy support at Logan Central Library during Term 2 and 3.
“This took the form of reading with, playing games and offering conversational opportunities to refugee and migrant people from the Logan area,” she said.
“It was a very rewarding experience for all our students as well as our new friends.”
Ms Ibell and Chisholm’s assistant principal for religious education Mark Craig met with the students to progress the Liberation Letters project to the point where they were providing resume and cover letter preparation support.
She said the project was a rich and transformational work.
“I cannot speak more highly of our students and the work they are doing with these refugee and migrants,” she said.
“We have been fortunate to have the full support of our principal Martina Millard along with other staff members who offered us the required expertise in a variety of areas.”
Liberation Letters participant Lucy Heron said a highlight of the project was learning about the different cultures and hearing the personal stories from the people using Multilink.
The Year 12 student said one example was a woman she worked with from Burma.
“It was the first time I had ever spoken face-to-face with someone who had been through such horrible things and had faced such tragedies,” Lucy said.
“To actually learn about her life and hardships and be able to help her was a liberation for me.”
Year 9 student Cooper McGrath said although he felt nervous at first meeting the people he was about to help, that nervousness soon faded once the interactions began.
“Once we began talking to each other I became a lot more confident in what I was doing,” he said. “I was able to use that confidence to further the connection with that person and build a relationship with them.”
Cooper said the people involved in the project were very supportive.
“We all looked forward to getting back to the college for a debriefing and had a lot of fun sharing our experiences.
“We talked about what had happened that day, bounced ideas off each other and explored improvements we could make to the project.”
Cooper said the project allowed him to see a different side to refugees and migrants.
“It’s totally different to what we see on the news,” he said.
Year 12 student Keely Hall said it was an interesting experience.
“I’ve never really done anything like this before,” she said.
“It was definitely a new learning curve for me.
“We got to know a lot about the people we were helping and we also got to know more about ourselves and each other in the group.”