MercyWorks & Holman Barnes Group Partner to Help Refugee and Asylum Seeker Students

Welcome to our first community contribution article. ​​​​​​​In celebration of National Refugee Week, we are spotlighting the refugee and asylum seeker volunteer program, Mercy Connect.

Last year, Holman Barnes Group (HBG) partnered with MercyWorks to provide much-needed support to refugee and asylum seeker students in the Inner West of Sydney. The $2,500 donation has gone towards MercyWorks’ Mercy Connect Mentoring Program, which provides trained volunteers to assist students with their academic and social needs.

The Mercy Connect Mentoring Program is designed to help students overcome the challenges they face in settling into a new country, including language barriers, cultural differences, and trauma. Volunteers work one-on-one with students to provide academic support, help them build relationships with their peers and teachers, and develop their confidence and self-esteem.

“The Mercy Connect Mentoring Program has made a real difference in the lives of many refugee and asylum seeker students. It has helped them to succeed in school, build relationships, and feel more connected to their community,” said Mercy Connect Coordinator, Paul Taylor.​​​​

The partnership with HBG is a great example of how the community can come together to support those in need. The 2022 funding from HBG went to support primary school children and Year 7 & 8 high school students. 
Mercy Connect relies on funding to recruit and train volunteers, match volunteers with students based on their academic needs and interests and provide mentoring support in and outside of the classroom. With the continued help of HBG, Mercy Connect will be able to continue providing essential support to refugee and asylum seeker students in the Inner West of Sydney.

To find out more about the Mercy Connect Mentoring Program, or if you’re interested in volunteering, click here.

Mercy Connect Testimonials

“Mercy Connect encourages me to do the things I love. They helped me in my school and social life. My mentor gave me encouragement and just talking to her on the first day, I knew I could bury my secrets with her. I felt that a friend, mother and sister had arrived that I’ve never had. Australia offers the chance to have a better life for us and our children, but most of us have great difficulty finding ourselves. I am sure that my mentor will be with me all of me life” – Bankstown Senior College refugee student

“The desire of the refugees to succeed in their home is enormous. An 11-year-old Syrian girl realised like a bolt from the blue that her English is not nearly good enough for high school next year. Intensely anxious, she has sought comfort from my promise to prepare her for high school” – Mercy Connect Volunteer

“When my daughter started kindergarten, it was very difficult for me. Thanks to Mercy Connect, my English is good. I can go to the doctors now when my kids are sick and explain what’s wrong. Now I can help them” – mother from Hilltop Road Adult Conversation class