Changemakers - Courtney Green
18 February 2013 at 9:37 am
Courtney Green is the coordinator of the Community and Social Development (S&CD) program at the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC). This week we profile Courtney in Changemakers – a regular column which examines inspiring people and their careers in the Not for Profit sector.
The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre is an independent and non-federal government funded human rights organisation working at the coalface to assist some of the most disadvantaged people in the community.
What are you currently working on in your organisation?
I am the Coordinator of the Community and Social Development (S&CD) Program at the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC). The ASRC protects and upholds the human rights, wellbeing and dignity of asylum seekers. The ASRC provides services to over 1250 asylum seekers and is the largest provider of aid, advocacy and health services for asylum seekers in Australia.
The S&CD Empowerment programs aim to achieve the following outcomes for asylum seekers: Foster empowerment, resilience, independence, self sufficiency and contribution of asylum seekers; Improve engagement, integration and connection to community and mainstream services; Develop skills, knowledge, talents, creativity and strengths of asylum seekers; Encourage a sense of belonging, connectedness, improve loneliness, social isolation and mental health of asylum seekers.
The programs currently consist of three program areas being:
- Orientation, settlement support for asylum seekers
- Mentoring, one-on-one social support program for asylum seekers
- Social and Recreation, soccer team, music program, arts projects and monthly social gatherings
Some exciting new things that we are working on this year are:
- Theatre project in partnership with indigenous communities
- Music Performance Project, enhancing our existing music program through music professional develop opportunities and public performances
- Community Festival for asylum seekers in celebrate of cultural diversity
- Publishing artwork and poetry by asylum seekers and refugees through the Key of Sea Project.
What drew you to the Not for Profit sector?
Since I was a child, I have always been aware of my privileged life and the social injustices present within the world. I remember one Christmas when being asked what I wanted for Christmas I told my parents that the only present that I wanted was to support someone less fortunate than myself through child sponsorship. From then on I knew I wanted to do something in my life where I felt I was making a small difference.
What do you like best about working in your current organisation?
For me I would not say I am an altruistic person, as I feel I gain so much more than I give working in the Not for Profit sector. I feel very fortunate to work at the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre with such amazing and inspiring people and even after a long day of work I know I would not want to be spending my time working anywhere else.
I’m always being asked…
What I think of current government policies on asylum seekers? For me personally I feel saddened that seeking asylum, a human rights issues has been turned into a political issue. Additionally, I am appalled by the mandatory detention of innocent people, in particular offshore processing at Manus Island and Naruru, and the ‘no advantage’ policy, which will see asylum seekers within the community without the right to work, study or volunteer for up to 5 years even after they have been granted their refugee status.
What does a typical day for you involve?
My days are generally not typical which is why I love coming to work each morning. I could be spending my day taking asylum seekers to play a game of Twenty20 cricket, to interviewing potential volunteers, to developing and managing exciting pathways for asylum seekers to connect to the community.
What (or who) inspires you?
The people I work with constantly inspire me to be the best worker I can be. From the resilient asylum seekers, the passionate volunteers and the dedicated staff, I am constantly inspired.