COVID-19 updates for the AnglicareSA community | Read more

When 17-year-old Marah arrived in Australia from Syria six years ago, she found it difficult to adjust to her new home.

“I did not speak any English when I first arrived, which made it hard to attend school, communicate with people, and get used to the new environment.”

It can be stressful and isolating for a young person from a migrant or refugee background like Marah to handle these challenges on their own.

“I needed someone to support me. I was not confident to ask for help from my teachers,” she said.

Marah didn’t know where to go for support until a friend told her about AnglicareSA’s Newly-Arrived Youth Service (NAYS).

NAYS is a free, specialist service that supports newly-arrived young people aged 12-21 years to shape their lives in Australia.

The program offers early intervention to help new arrivals engage in the community and overcome the barriers they might face. Support can range from helping them to stay in school, participate in the local community, find employment or, if necessary, find somewhere safe to stay. 

Marah said program activities, such as social events and a homework group, have helped to shape her identity in Australia.

Marah (left) with case workers Kashindi and Rosaria.

“When I first joined the program four years ago, I did not have the skills or language to communicate with others or get involved in my local community,” she said.

“I now feel more confident about settling in Australia and getting to know people from different backgrounds.”

NAYS Case Worker Rosaria Sng said that successful settlement not only benefits the new arrival, but the wider local community as well.

“New arrivals bring fresh perspectives to the community,” Rosaria said.

“Having positive interactions with them can help to build a more tolerant and understanding society. Listening to a new arrival’s story and connecting with them on a deeper level has always been a positive learning experience for me.” 

Currently in her final year of high school, Marah is on track to pursue a career in medicine – an aspiration that was supported by the NAYS team.

“I developed a passion for science through attending the homework group,” she said.

“NAYS has helped me to plan for the future and what I need to do to follow my chosen career goal of being a surgeon.”

To be eligible for NAYS, you must be aged 12-21 years and have been living in Australia for less than five years.

For more information about the program, click here.