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QPASTT E-Newsletter - November 2017

Words from the Chief Executive
Welcome to our last newsletter for 2017.  I hope you find this edition of the newsletter interesting and informative. We are getting to that  busy time of the year when there are many Annual General Meetings (AGMs)  and community events. I hope you are able to enjoy them and take advantage of these events to connect , network and support each other. In this edition we are again sharing some of the things that QPASTT has been doing, events and training opportunities coming up along with information about a range of other activities and resources. I would also like to take the opportunity to wish you all a good end to your year and I hope that we can continue to work alongside and collaborate in the 2018. Thank you all for your support!
Tracy Worrall 

Wangarra Men’s Group showcases Didgeridoo skills 

The popularity of the group is on the increase with many men participating every Friday. The program’s activities have become more diverse and interesting. In addition to visiting popular places of interest the group kayaked up the Wynnum Creek with SAILS at Bayside and engaged with a local neighbourhood center that provides employment support such as resume writing and access to vocational training. The group also benefited from a Multicultural Affairs Queensland grant which allowed it to gain more knowledge on Indigenous Culture through making and learning how to play the didgeridoo. KC Jay from Didgeridoo Festivals led the Didgeridoo making workshop and taught the men how to play. The group proudly and expertly showcased their newly acquired skills at a celebratory morning tea with QPASTT staff and representatives from Inala Community House, Brisbane City Council and SAILS at Bay who are long-term supporters of the program. 

Children and Youth Fun Day was a huge success


The QPASTT Children and Youth Team ran a Youth Fun Day this school holidays with drumming and art workshops on offer! It was a great day, with 34 young people in attendance. A big thank-you must be given to Bunnings Warehouse Rocklea for their generous donation of terracotta pots and succulents for our art activity. As you can see these were turned into masterpieces!  We would also like to thank ACCESS Community Services in Goodna for supporting our event and organising transport for young people from the Ipswich region.  The young people who attended told us through evaluations that they felt the activity helped them to “have confidence” and “improve relationships”. Others noted it enabled them “meet friends” and “helped me with my social skills”. We look forward to seeing more young people during the next school holidays!


Community Garden flourishing

QPASTT has received funding from Brisbane City Council under the Lord Mayor’s Cultivating Community Garden Grants Scheme to establish and maintain an edible community garden.
It is a great opportunity for us to create a therapeutic space for refugees who are living within the broader Brisbane community, to work in and enjoy.
Establishing the garden has been a work in progress and the members of the Gardening Committee at QPASTT have been learning a lot in the process. The knowledge, advice and tips that have kindly been offered by clients, staff and community members is greatly appreciated and we welcome more support.
Recently we have been able to see the results of the hard work with silver beet and mint flourishing after the recent rain. Currently growing in the community garden are: silver beet, spring onions, beans, leek, strawberries, papaya, chilli, several varieties of herbs, kale and mint.
We welcome clients and people from refugee backgrounds, living within the broader Brisbane community to participate in growing, harvesting and enjoying the produce from the community garden. A client recently described their experience participating in the project: “The gardening program at QPASTT is a good hobby for me, and is good for my mind. It helps me to pass time, learn new things about plants and vegetables, and helps me to feel connected to a project. I like being able to grow organic produce, and to be part of the whole process.”

If you would like to contribute or be a part of the QPASTT Community Garden or would like more information about the QPASTT Community Garden, please contact or call QPASTT on: 3391 6677


Support, Skill and Connect Program Continues

Support, Skill and Connect is a program developed and delivered in close partnership between QPASTT and TAFE Queensland. The program is offered to a class of TAFE students from refugee backgrounds every Tuesday, providing them with psycho-social education, English language support and information relating to employment, for an entire term. The program was recently delivered at Loganlea TAFE in term three.
One of the components of the program is offering the students three days of work placement in the local community. Through a successful partnership with Youth Family Services (YFS) Substation33, Logan City Council and Bunnings Loganholme, we were able to offer the students information sessions, work experience and on-going volunteering opportunities to build on their social engagement, develop their English and their skills for successful employment in Australia.
Some of our students expressed that they will continue to volunteer at YFS Substation33, others were interested in volunteering at the Logan City Council Art Gallery and others began discussions with the catering staff of the Logan City Council Entertainment Centre about the possibility for volunteering in upcoming projects.
We would also like to acknowledge outstanding volunteers who attended every week to support the students and the QPASTT facilitators. The volunteers are dedicated, warm and enthusiastic and are one of the absolute highlights of the program.
Without the dedication of our partnerships and volunteers, the Support, Skill and Connect program would not be possible. We would like to thank all of the partners and volunteers who contribute in a wonderfully respectful and dignified way. This program is funded by the Queensland Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services and the Commonwealth Department of Health.

QPASTT delivers Training in PNG

QPASTT would like to thank the UNHCR’s Regional Representation in Canberra for trusting QPASTT’s staff in delivering a Vicarious Trauma and Self-care training for officials from the Immigration and Citizenship Service Authority from PNG in Port Moresby on the 3rd October 2017. Amy Burkett (QPASTT’s Clinical Services Manager) and Stephanie Long (QPASTT’s Direct Services Manager) delivered this training.

Community Leaders dinner discusses employment barriers

The August edition of the quarterly QPASTT/MDA community leaders dinner forum provided an opportunity to the leaders to discuss barriers to employment, particularly for people from culturally diverse backgrounds. This was part of the Queensland Multicultural Month. It was also an opportunity for new and emerging communities to hear about community experiences in the area of employment and share ideas with representatives/experts from: Anti Discrimination Commission Queensland, Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) and Queensland Health among others about accessing employment and how the community is being supported to overcome prevailing barriers. The forum received very positive support from participants through formal feedback processes. This popular event is attended by more than 90 ethnic community and faith leaders. The next leaders dinner will be held on Thursday, 7 December 2017 starting 5:30pm at Brisbane Multicultural Centre, 28 Dibley St, Woolloongabba Qld 4102. For more information please contact Mr Robert Mukombozi (QPASTT) on Phone 31201522 or email Alternatively you can reach Mr Ali Ibrahim (MDA) on (07) 3337 5447 or email:

Toowoomba Afghan Women’s Group activity continues

In response to the need for exercise classes by Afghan women in Toowoomba, QPASTT has organised and delivered swimming lessons with the help of an amazing staff at TJ Swims, Baillie Henderson.  The women really love the activity. Before this they did not get the opportunity to get out of their houses and do Women Only activities, they said. QPASTT has ensured the women have more swimming sessions until they are able to continue accessing the pool on their own. During the sessions a woman from the community was chosen as a leader and she was happy to continue coordinating the group as well as liaise with staff at TJ Swims.  Through the effort of their new leadership the women met with TJ Swims staff who agreed to continue working with them at a reduced membership fee.

UCan2 Volunteer Profile
Hi, my name is Trisha Dempsey and I am about to finish my Bachelor of Social Science at UQ, then it’s off into the real world. I am hoping to get into mental health; particularly health services planning, implementation and evaluation. My interests (when uni allows me the time to do them) are reading, trying new food places or just generally food and design; both interior and fashion. I also want to try new interests such as flower arrangements, pottery and perhaps jewellery making.  
What interested you in volunteering for the UCan2?
I was interested in volunteering for UCan2 as the program allowed me to put into practice things I had learnt during my degree, but also learn new things about psychosocial education, humanity and other cultures. I also wanted to try something that was in the field I was aiming for-Mental health.  
What is your work role at UCan2?
My role with UCan2 is a volunteering one. I help with activities and getting the students involved. Also I support them in whatever way I can, whether that is just listening and normalising their emotions, feelings or experiences or offering my own experiences to help as well. 
What have been the challenges of your experience in volunteering with UCan2?
The challenges have been listening to the stories told by the students about life and the experiences in a war-torn country, and what they left behind. And that there is so many still in those situations. Another challenge or more of a worry was that I would not be able to connect with the students as I would like. However, something as simple as sharing a love of dogs can make a connection. 
What have been the highlights of your experience volunteering with   UCan2?  What do you enjoy most about the program?
UCan2 also allowed me to share my experiences about working and everything that comes with it, as well as normal day to day life in Australia. The highlight for me has been watching the students grow in the short time we have been with them, but also making connections in regards to their mental and physical health and their experiences. Another highlight is despite what they have been through or are going through, they still see that light, that everything will be okay. What I enjoy most is the interaction I have with the students learning new things about their cultures and everyday life in another country.  
 Is there anything you have found helpful or would take way from your involvement with UCan2 (both personal and professionally)?
What i would take away from my involvement with UCan2 is that humans can be very resilient, despite what they have gone through.  
We would like to thank all of our UCan2 volunteers for their dedication and ongoing support for the program.  The countless hours they have put into helping our students adjust to settling in Australia has made a big difference; as evidenced by the positive feedback received from the students and their teachers.  On behalf of QPASTT, and the UCan2 classes of Term 2, thank you for sharing your energy, talents and time.
If you would like to be a part of future UCan2
Classes or would like more information about UCan2, please contact Meriam on
or call QPASTT on 33 91 66 77. 
Interview by Meriam Aman 

QPASTT is on Facebook!

QPASTT is really excited to be on facebook. You can keep track of upcoming events, news, activities, projects and other opportunities easily! Just go to, or click the link below, like our page, share and follow our posts!

Queensland Multicultural Month

August was Queensland's Multicultural Month and QPASTT was delighted to recognise and celebrate the lifelong commitment of one of our founding members Mr Rafael Pacheco. Rafael was one of the finalists of the Queensland Multicultural Awards. He has been an active volunteer, organiser, community builder since he arrived in Australia in 1984. He continues to be an inspiration for many and we are delighted that he is an ongoing supporter of QPASTT. Rafael is pictured below with our president Dr Keithia Wilson and Chief Executive Tracy Worrall. 

Minister's Parliamentary Lunch highlights QPASTT work

The Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Hon. Cameron Dick MP hosted a luncheon at Parliament in October which played a huge role in raising awareness around the work we do and its value to clients, their families, their communities, the wider community and stakeholders in general. It also provided an opportunity for Queensland Members of Parliament to engage with QPASTT Management Committee Members, Refugee Community Leaders and Youth Leaders to address the growing global acceptance of torture.  Guests explored the reasons behind this shift and discussed initiatives to provide recovery and stem the tide of acceptance.  We were pleased to have the following parliamentarians attend and join the discussion:  The Hon. Cameron Dick, MP, Mr Steve Minnikin, MP, Mr Sidney Cramp, MP, Mr Matt McEachan, MP, Mr Shane King, MP, Mr Jon Krause, MP , Mr Peter Russo, MP, Mr Rick Williams, MP, Mr Chris Whiting, MP.  

DRUMBEAT facilitating meaningful conversations  

Discovering Relationships Using Music, Beliefs, Emotions, Attitudes and Thoughts (DRUMBEAT) program was developed by the Holyoake Institute. It uses drumming as a tool to facilitate change-orientated conversations about issues affecting socially disadvantaged groups. Through DRUMBEAT, participants are able to learn new skills, improve their self-esteem and build new support networks in a safe and supportive environment.
In Term 3, the program was successfully delivered at Kedron State High School, following a request from EALD staff who identified that DRUMBEAT would be beneficial for some of the migrant and refugee background students.
Ten young people were referred for DRUMBEAT and nine of them completed. This is a nine week program that operates once a week for about an hour per session. The students graduated on September 11, 2017 with a certificate of participation. They had the opportunity to do a five minute drumming presentation as part of Kedron’s cultural celebration week on the day of their graduation. They performed for an audience of over 600 teachers, student support staff and other school personnel.
Below are a few of the many feedbacks received from students:
“DRUMBEAT is a fun way to learn about life”. “It’s a good program to be a part of because you learn about your emotions and healthy relationships”. “DRUMBEAT is fun”. “I think we should do it again”!
After this successful DRUMBEAT program at Kedron State High School, we will be moving back to Sunnybank State High School in Term 4 to deliver a shorter version of the program with a focus on peer leadership as part of QPASTT school outreach work. 


QPASTT's Upcoming Events

QPASTT is organising two important events over the next 18 months to help raise awareness around its services, and to provide further information, discussion and education on issues relating to refugee resettlement.

1. A One Day Symposium - Healing in Exile: The Challenges in Context   QPASTT is organising this symposium in partnership with QUT. The program is structured around starting a conversation amongst delegates on the many challenges encountered by people from refugee backgrounds as they recover from trauma and resettle in a new country. The attached flyer highlights the Symposium’s high profile keynote speaker, Dr Carlos Beristain from Spain. The flyer also includes details on the leading industry experts who will present at the symposium.

2. The 2nd Australia and New Zealand Refugee Trauma Recovery in Resettlement Conference  27-29 March 2019, Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre

QPASTT is looking forward to hosting this conference for more than 500 national and international delegates in 2019.   The conference theme, Healing in Exile – Current and Future Challenges, will explore the most innovative and successful ways to support people from refugee backgrounds as they recover from trauma and resettle in their new context. International keynote speakers will address global perspectives and prominent national identities will tackle some of the most pressing challenges in Australia. The attached flyer as well as the conference website provide further details on what promises to be a very informative and memorable conference.


QPASTT Training

QPASTT is a specialist, state wide service supporting the recovery of people who have survived torture and trauma as part of their refugee experience.  We offer a range of psychological, physical, advocacy and capacity building services to provide a holistic approach to health and wellbeing.  We work alongside people who come to us for support, as well as their families and communities.
Our 2017 Professional Development Workshops and Information Sessions are a key part of our capacity building service and aim to offer an opportunity for new learning, information and skills sharing, as well as expanded service and support options for the people and communities we support.

There is one professional development workshop left for the 2017 calender year. Please see the dates and details below:

Workshop: Vicarious Trauma, Burnout and Self-Care Thursday 16 November 2017 9:30 – 4:30pm 

Understanding NDIS

IMPORTANT: Information about the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) in Far North Queensland 

The National Disability Insurance Scheme also widely known as NDIS is a new way to help people with disability get the care and supports they need. It is a free, national system so it will be the same for people all over Australia.
To help people get ready for this new way of disability support the Participant Readiness Initiative Paving the Way to the NDIS has been funded by the Queensland government to assist people from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse backgrounds who have disability, and their families, to access information about the NDIS including what it is, how it works and the ways they can prepare for it.  Pave the Way teams are currently working intensively in Far North Qld where the NDIS will be available in early 2018. 
Two NDIS fact sheets have been translated into 33 different languages:
Fact sheet 1 – What is the NDIS
Fact sheet 2 – Understanding disability in Australia
Currently you can access Pave the Way NDIS information sessions in Far North Queensland communities and the fact sheets by calling 1300 554 402 or registering online at
Further information for all areas can be found at 

Human Rights in Australia Resource

QPASTT participated in a 3-year research project by University of New South Wales. The project focused on how Human Rights are experienced by newly arrived refugees and the impact this has on family relationships. Dr Eileen Pittaway attended an afternoon tea at QPASTT to present the information in regards to the project and the free online materials that resulted. The research project has resulted in training booklets called "Human Rights in Australia Resource". These booklets make up a training package to assist newly arrived refugees understand how the human rights conventions are applied in Australia and what it means to family life. You can view and download the booklets here:

These materials are available to the public and are especially useful for service providers and community members in their work with newly arrived refugees and emerging communities. 


Meet Amin!

Amin is a youth worker at QPASTT and works in homework club and school outreach. In his spare time he enjoys playing hockey and being involves in community events.

Meet Sarah!
Sarah is a counsellor at QPASTT, working with children and young people. In her spare time she enjoys reading and taking her dog to the Beach.

The Editorial Team: Robert Mukombozi & Michelle Wylie

QPASTT Community Relationships & Capacity Building Team

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