Rotary Sydney is a Peacebuilder Club helping “forgotten” Refugees

Many historically indigenous populations around the world are by definition “refugees.” These indigenous and displaced populations can be overlooked because their “statistics” are often considered bygone struggles lost in the realities of modern geopolitics. Yet, they still suffer from being uprooted from their native lands and culture.

Rotary Sydney is a new RAGFP Peacebuilder Club. Many of the club’s peace projects and initiatives serve Australia’s indigenous or aboriginal populations who consistently face school dropout, infant mortality and suicide rates that run far higher than the average population.

According to Rotary Sydney, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) people account for only 3% of the population, yet ATSI children and youth account for more than 25% of all suicide deaths in their age group. The President’s Project; Rotary Resilence Program provides indigenous communities with a network of supporters and activities designed to raise the awareness aboriginal issues, especially when it comes to suicide prevention.

The program offers community seminars that address quality of life issues in an environment where people can talk openly in a safe and helpful way, discuss the high risk faced by indigenous Australians, and find resources that are available to support people and family members most at risk.

Stress management classes are provided, educating indigenous Australians on how to support colleagues, friends or family who may be struggling with ‘life.’ The program is also developing a suicide prevention network throughout Australia. It provides community workshops that raise the awareness of risks faced by ATSI community members.

The Rotary Resilence Program also holds activities for ATSI youth, and provides professionally monitored peer suicide prevention and training, and bereavement support. Importantly, the program provides the ATSI community with a sense of belonging and connection to a national movement of community action that is addressing their struggles within the wider realm of Australian society.

The Rotary Club of Sydney’s Soukup Memorial Scholarship Fund provides scholarships to young, post-secondary students of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent “whose means would not otherwise permit them to continue in higher education.” The Club strongly believes that education changes the lives of individuals, communities and the nation and ultimately contribute to a fairer and a more prosperous Australia.

Rotary Sydney takes a wholistic approach to making Rotarian connections to all communities within Australia. Read More