Group Mentorship Program
A way to help new Afghan arrivals
Our 2021 Group Mentorship Program offers a practical way to provide future hands-on support to an Afghan household recently evacuated to Australia or other refugees already in the country.
What is the Group Mentorship Program?
Initially launched as a pilot to put into practice various aspects of the sponsorship model, the Group Mentorship Program (GMP) engages newly-arrived refugee individuals or households in need of additional support and connects them with a local group of volunteers in their community who have been screened and trained to provide that support.
You can watch the following video to see what the Group Mentorship Program looks like in practice.
What is a Mentor Group?
A mentor group is a group of at least five individuals who live in the same geographic community and are keen to provide practical support to refugees. The groups complete an internationally-developed training course and undergo basic application and screening process in preparation for providing this support. Mentor groups are made up of friends, family, neighbours, and colleagues – basically any group of Australians who feel they have the capacity to give time each week to helping a refugee newcomer.
Group members should come from more than one family or household to ensure that the group can keep supporting their refugee mentee household should any one mentor move away or become unable to continue their mentoring work. Having a varied group of mentors will also provide your refugee mentee(s) with the benefits that come with being able to access a broader network of support, knowledge, experience and expertise.
What do Mentor Groups do?
Mentor Groups provide holistic and ‘whole of family’ settlement support to refugee households. Groups work with mentees to identify areas where support is needed, supplementing the support that is provided by any government-funded settlement services with the added elements of the extra time, social capital and networks, deep local knowledge and friendship that can be offered by a group of local members of the community. Mentor groups leverage their own local knowledge, networks, expertise and experience to help refugees achieve their personal goals and successfully integrate into their new community.
The following list outlines some of the things mentor groups provide support for:
- Finding suitable employment
- Securing suitable housing in a regional area with no migrant settlement services
- Enrolling and better participation in education
- Practicing English
- Learning to drive
- Understanding how to have overseas qualifications recognised
- Establishing a small business
- Accessing previously unknown local services
- Making new friends
Who are the Mentees?
Mentees in our 2021/22 program will include Afghan refugees recently evacuated to Australia from Kabul, and other future arrivals.
‘Mentees’ are refugee individuals or families who have arrived in Australia in recent years, who would benefit from additional support with their settlement. They are people who hold a refugee or humanitarian visa and can include people with temporary humanitarian visas like a TPV or SHEV. Mentees can be already located in the same general area as mentor groups (within reasonable driving distance), or be looking to relocate to the community where a mentor group is based.
- Mentees participating in the 2020/21 program were mostly looking for support with learning English, career development, their studies and making social connections
- Households can be made up of couples, siblings, family units and single adults
- Mentees age range varies with family members aged from 0 to 60+
How can I find out more about the program?
To find out more about the second round of our Group Mentorship Program we recommend that you attend one of our online public information sessions. These sessions will allow you to gain a better understanding of the program and to find out if it’s right for you.
You can register for these sessions using the links below.
Alternatively, if you’re unable to make this time and date, you can register and view a pre-recorded session here. More details can also be found in our GMP Information Pack and in our Answers to Frequently Asked Questions.
How can I apply to be part of the program?
Once you’ve attended a live or pre-recorded information session you’ll be sent a link to our application form.
You will need to be part of a group of 5 or more adults to form a mentor group. We encourage you to assemble a group through your own networks.
If you’re struggling to find other individuals to team up with we may be able to put you in touch with others known to us in your local area. We also have a facebook group you can join with other applicants looking for group members.
Scaling up our program in response to the crisis in Afghanistan: Given the high level of interest in our program, and our limited resources, we are planning to mobilise, train and match local mentor groups with refugee households in four ‘waves’ as follows.
|Deadline for lodgement of your application||Training dates
(2 x 3 hour workshops)
|Matched and ‘activated’ to support a refugee household|
|Wave 1||Friday 10 September||Late September||From October 2021 onwards|
|Wave 2||Friday 8 October||Late October||From mid November 2021 onwards|
|Wave 3||Friday 19 November||Early to mid December||From early January 2022 onwards|
|Wave 4||Friday 10 December||Early February||From March 2022 onwards|
How can established community organisations be involved?
We are also interested in involving ‘Supporting Community Organisations’ in the next iteration of the program – organisations such as schools, clubs, businesses, churches and other faith organisations. If you’re involved with a local organisation and interested in knowing more about how your organisation can be involved, check out our pre-recorded information session here (use passcode SCOcrsa202!).
Alternatively, you can complete this form (EOI) and we’ll be in touch.
You can also click the links below for additional information on becoming a Supporting Community Organisation.
- Fact Sheet for Supporting Community Organisations
- Overview of GMP for Supporting Community Organisations (ppt)
- Risk Management Matrix for GMP
Where are current mentor groups located?
This map shows the location of local mentor group members involved in the 2020 pilot mentorship program.