Every day around the world, armed conflict affects ordinary people. It threatens their well-being and dignity. It threatens their lives.
According to the UN Refugee Agency, there are 25.4 million refugees worldwide, most from South Sudan, Afghanistan and Syria. For a small number of refugees – less than half a percent – escaping conflict leads them to resettle in new countries, like Australia.
Matthew Teece is a Multicultural Service Officer (MSO) who works with our department. Based in Armidale, New South Wales, he works in some ‘typical’ Australian places like Walgett, Lightning Ridge and the ‘back of Bourke’.
Since February, the region of Armidale has welcomed 180 humanitarian entrants – families making a fresh start.
“These families are mostly Yazidi people from Northern Iraq,” Matthew said. “They have faced persecution for many years and understandably see Australia as a safe haven.
“They’re grateful for the opportunity to start a new life, and the Armidale community has been extremely welcoming.”
MSOs lead the way in welcoming new arrivals and helping new groups establish their lives in Australia.
“My role as an MSO is very rewarding because we’re right at the coalface delivering programs and services to our diverse customers,” Matthew explained.
“This includes everything from supporting humanitarian entrants face to face and delivering presentations at interagency meetings, to attending festivals and community events.
“Every day I help make social inclusion a reality here in Armidale, and I feel lucky to be able to do it. It’s my dream job.”