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Recognising World Refugee Day

Awards, degrees, and new business ventures: Brisbane refugees are forging impressive pathways after finding settlement support at TAFE Queensland.  

In 2024, it’s estimated that the number of people displaced by conflict will reach nearly 63 million—well over twice the population of Australia.

As World Refugee Day approaches on Thursday 20 June, TAFE Queensland recognises the incredible resilience and strength of its refugee cohort, many of whom, like Samer Alkhouri, initially joined the training provider as English language students.

After arriving from Jordan in 2021, Samer joined the Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP) at TAFE Queensland’s Redcliffe campus.

The Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP) is delivered to thousands of migrant and refugee students across over 40 TAFE Queensland locations. The free program, which is funded by the Australian Government Department of Home Affairs, supports participants as they settle into life in Australia.

After two years of English language classes, Samer felt prepared and confident enough to open the doors on his own fresh produce store in Brisbane’s north. As the proud owner of Jordan Valley Fruit, Samer now employs other refugees as they make strides in their own settlement journeys.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian refugee Kateryna Dmytriieva credits the AMEP for its role as stable ground in a world of change.

“The AMEP opened up a new world for me,” Kateryna said.

“The support provided by TAFE Queensland has been invaluable. I feel at home.”

Since arriving in 2022, Kateryna has made incredible strides in her settlement journey. From her beginnings as an AMEP student, Kateryna has progressed into a Certificate II in Skills for Education, Training and Employment and, subsequently, a Diploma of Leadership and Management at TAFE Queensland.

In 2023, Kateryna was selected for the Gold Coast Mayor’s Student Ambassador Program, where she lends a unique and resilient voice to the student community.

As another champion of the student community, Burundian refugee Fulgence Ntahomvukiye continues to give back to the AMEP as a volunteer tutor.

After landing in Australia in 2018, Fulgence was confronted with the reality of starting his life over.

“In every way, I had to start from scratch,” Fulgence said. “The question was, what was my starting point?”

As a first step, Fulgence dedicated his efforts to building foundational English skills at TAFE Queensland’s Inala campus. Then, through an AMEP sub-program, Work Ready, Fulgence was able to participate in work experience at a local high school.

Spurred on by this experience, and having become more confident in his language skills, Fulgence began volunteering as a tutor to his peers in the AMEP. At the same time, he applied to study political science at a local university.

In mid-2022, Fulgence graduated with a Bachelor of Government and International Relations and has since commenced work as a research assistant.