In early 2016, a rigorous co-design process involving 123 members of the Somali Australian community in West Heidelberg as well as state and local government representatives, community organisations and other key stakeholders was conducted. Consultation with the West Heidelberg Somali Australian community during the co-design phase revealed significant and specific needs.
When canvassed about possible ways to address these needs and their underlying causes, the co-design community participants were unanimous in their view that culturally sensitive and supportive employment initiatives were necessary. Spiritual/religious guidance and support from English speaking Somali Australian imams was identified as important for young people. Parenting programs and support was considered necessary, as was school tutoring, mentoring and holiday camps for children and their parents. There was recognition that young Somali Australians needed to have easier access to culturally friendly services to help them with mental health, drug and alcohol and other health services.
What is the Himilo Community Connect Program?
Himilo Community Connect is a community inclusion and support program that was conceived through the co-design process. ‘Himilo’ means positive aspirations in the Somali language. Therefore the name of the program represents Positive aspirations to Connect Communities.
What are the objectives of the Himilo Community Connect Program?
Himilo Community Connect program has five interlocking objectives. The five objectives are mutually dependent, reinforcing early messages from the Somali Australian community of the need for a holistic and broad approach to building community inclusion. The five objectives are
1. Improved employment outcomes. To support young Somali Australians in West Heidelberg to fulfil their potential in the workplace.
2. Community and religious leadership. To strengthen the resilience of the Somali Australian community in West Heidelberg to deal with the impact of intolerance and racism
3. Parents and early childhood. To support Somali Australian mothers in West Heidelberg to connect to their wider community and for mothers and fathers to engage their children in early learning activities.
4. Wider community services. To support local service providers to make their services accessible and culturally appropriate to the Somali Australian community in West Heidelberg.
5. An effective Program. To ensure that Himilo Community Connect becomes a dynamic, effective and viable program.
How will the Himilo Community Connect program achieve its stated objectives?
The Himilo Community Connect program will employ three staff – a manager and two program officers. They will develop and deliver programs and activities to achieve the program’s objectives. The staff will also work with other partners and key stakeholders to maximise the achievement of all relevant parties against the program objectives.
Need more information?
Please contact Abdiaziz Farah
Himilo Community Connect Homework Program:
We are excited to announce that a new homework club is starting in Heidelberg West, with online applications now open for volunteer tutors to join the program.
Himilo Community Connect’s homework club provides a place for volunteer tutors and students to share in improving career and community aspirations.
For more information about the program and how you can volunteer or participate as a student, click here.