Twice a year, the Centre for Culture Ethnicity and Health deliver sexual education to newly arrived refugees (18 and under) at the Western English Language School (WELS), six weeks at a time.

For many of the girls at WELS, these education sessions are the first time they have received information about their reproductive and sexual health.

Community Engagement Officer, Eudia, said, ‘Young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds are often more vulnerable to STIs and unwanted pregnancy because of their lack of knowledge, misinformation and stigma surrounding sexual health back in their home countries. They may have had limited or no sexual health education prior to arrival.

“There are also concerns about embarrassment and gender barriers. After the sessions, the girls learn how to navigate healthy relationships, access health services and information about consent, contraception and sexual diversity. They also feel empowered to be decision makers over their own sexual and reproductive health.’’

Through these sessions, the girls learn about contraception, hygiene, sexually transmissible infections and more. We deliver these sessions in partnership with Womens Health West and Maribyrnong City Council.

The participants come from a range of backgrounds; some sessions require up to 8 interpreters to cover the range of cultures and languages represented.

These sessions form part of The Centre for Culture Ethnicity and Health’s work to improve the health of people from refugee and migrant backgrounds.