The schoolyard can be a daunting place for any young person adjusting to a new school. For Yassin, who move to Australia from Afghanistan two years ago, stepping into Ipswich State High for the first time felt like landing on a different planet.
Thanks to the generous support of friends like you, Yassin was able to join the CHAT Program – an SU initiative aimed at equipping young people with skills and confidence to listen, engage, and live well with people who are different to them.
CHAT, which stands for ‘Cultural Hearing Asking Telling’, is an eight-week program inspired by the story of the Good Samaritan and Jesus’ call to love our neighbours.
For Yassin, the program has been a blessing in helping him transition to life in his new country.
“When I first came to Australia, I couldn’t make friends. Slowly I started to spend time with my classmates and made a circle of friends around me, but the differences between schools here and in the Middle East are major,” says Yassin.
“My favourite part of the CHAT program was learning about other cultures. I came to realise people have different ways of greeting one another.”
The CHAT program opened Yassin’s eyes to a new way of approaching Aussie culture, but it also holds value for Australian-born young people too.
“I would recommend the CHAT program because once you understand that there are different people in the world, you get a different perspective on life. CHAT is a shortcut to understanding other cultures,” says Yassin.
CHAT founder, Tim Fawssett, has a rich history in working with people from all walks of life, and he recognises the importance of communication and diversity – especially in 2021.
“We live in a society that’s increasingly divided, not just culturally, but politically and socially too. Our young people are the future, and it’s incredibly exciting to invest in them as they’re generally more aware of diversity,” says Tim.
“My hope is that CHAT will give our young people skills and confidence in relating to others who are different to them. I want to see young people like Yassin leave the program feeling affirmed in their culture, and confident to embrace all Australia has to offer them.”
Your support helps make SU initiatives like CHAT possible.
You are helping a generation of young Australians learn to love their neighbour and to live well with those who are different to them, while remaining faithful to their own beliefs. To learn more, head to chatproject.org.au