Refugee Support

JAA’s Refugee Support programs are designed to address some of the challenges faced by refugees, including: language barriers, obstacles to gaining employment, difficulty understanding legal issues and social isolation.

Thousands of refugees have fled ongoing crisis and conflict in Sudan to make a new life for themselves in Australia. JAA was active in the Save Darfur movement in 2004 and 2005 and began building a strong friendship with the Darfuri community in Melbourne. The leaders requested support from the Jewish community, not just in creating awareness about the dire situation in Darfur, but to also assist the refugees learn English, find jobs and integrate into their new home.

We work with two Sudanese groups in particular: those from Darfur and those from the Nuba Mountains. These groups are some of the most vulnerable communities in Australia who experience isolation along with social and financial hardship. Our programs, which are developed in partnership with Sudanese leaders, provide opportunities for capacity building and empowerment.

These communities have been hard to reach for many agencies but they have come to trust JAA as a unique service-provider based on a friendship that has been developed over seven years. We, tailor our programs specifically to the evolving needs of the communities. We do this through regular communication with participants and in consultation with community leaders. Our programs are holistic and reach a majority of community members, including women, men and children.

  • Women’s Group – Empowering Sudanese women to improve English, gain confidence and learn sewing skills.
  • Encounters – Partnering Jewish families with Sudanese families for friendship and support.
  • Homework Tutoring – Supporting school kids with their homework.
  • Leadership Development – Strengthening the Darfuri and Nuba mountains communities’ leaders through regular meetings and a mentoring program
  • Outings – 3 major outings a year with the Sudanese community
  • Empowerment Fund – providing small grants to Sudanese community members who are undertaking further study.

All the above programs are facilitated by a team of 60 JAA volunteers.

If you are interested in being involved or would like some more information, please contact Lisa – Melbourne Refugee Support Director


Thank you for everything, for helping my wife…Samia now understands, talks English & understands Australian culture. It change her life. Before she came from Africa to Australia, she didn’t know anything about Australia. Now the Jewish people help us…Now she has the enthusiasm like anyone in Australia. When she first came to Australia, Samia was very shy, now she is more better. She is happy.”
Mobarak Abdalla & Samia Ahmed
“We try to untangle the confusion that comes with being a stranger in a strange land. We have all learnt so much about the life left behind…we have each taken our own lessons from the buoyant spirit that allows these women to laugh through trials of their new lives. …I brought a bottle of bubbles and taught Samia how to blow them, and she taught me how to see them as magic again.”
Ronit Prawer

In 2009, JAA won a Victorian Multicultural Commission Award for Excellence, for our programs with refugees from Darfur and the Nuba mountains in Sudan.