Twice a year, the Centre for Culture Ethnicity and Health co-delivers sexual education to newly arrived refugees and migrants at the Western English Language School (WELS), five weeks at a time. The program is delivered in partnership with Maribyrnong City Council and led by Women’s Health West. Cohealth has been a partner since the beginning of the program.
For many of the young people 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 students, aged 18 and under, learn about contraception, respectful relationships, hygiene, sexually transmissible infections and more.
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.
About the Centre for Culture, Ethnicity & Health
The Centre for Culture, Ethnicity & Health aims to improve the health and wellbeing of people from refugee and migrant backgrounds. We do this by working with services from the health, community and local government to help improve the way we engage with their clients from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
About Maribyrnong City Council
The City of Maribyrnong is a local government area within the metropolitan area of Melbourne, Australia. The City of Maribyrnong works in partnership with its diverse community and organisations to promote respectful relationships and intercultural harmony.
About Women’s Health West
Women’s Health West is a not-for-profit promoting women’s health and responding to family violence in Melbourne’s west. Women’s Health West works collaboratively with communities, government and local agencies, and provides secondary consultation for health, community and other service providers.