Building your life in a new country can come with many challenges and it can help to have a group of people around you who understand your experiences. For peer group participants like Amreena, SSI’s Multicultural Peer Network (MPN) program has been a safe haven and a way to connect with community members who share her lived experience.
“They’re now my new home, they’re my family,” said Amreena about her group members, all mothers of children with disability.
After migrating to Australia, Amreena found it difficult to access information, resources and support because she did not know where to look and who to ask for help. Through the MPN program, she has found a supportive group with a shared cultural background that faces the same day-to-day challenges she does.
Amreena’s group of mothers is one of nearly a hundred groups part of the MPN program, which started three years ago with funding from the Department of Social Services (DSS).
Over the years, the MPN program grew to become a collection of impactful, peer-led support groups promoting independence among people from multicultural communities with lived experience of disability, as well as their carers and families.
Throughout the program, SSI trained 71 emerging community leaders to become peer group facilitators and supported over 1,000 participants with disability across NSW. MPN groups have been instrumental in giving participants and facilitators alike a space to hold relatable conversations, build confidence, and connect with other members.
Free resources available
As the program is soon coming to an end, SSI is launching two new web pages to ensure individuals and partner organisations can learn from our experiences and access resources so that the work continues.
- MPN resources for individuals: How to connect with your community
Contains fact sheets on how people with lived experience of disability can stay informed and where and how to seek out a community group.
- MPN resources for partners: How to start your own peer-to-peer support group
Contains a summary of successes and learnings from the MPN program as well as free resources on how to start a community group.
Continuing the work
The resources we have developed outline a step-by-step process for potential facilitators, program managers, and participants to create peer support groups of their own. They aim to empower others to create awareness around disability, understand disability tools, and the services available for the community.
SSI also offers free facilitator training for community organisations and individuals interested in starting their own community peer groups to deepen their facilitator skills.
You can find out more about the Multicultural Peer Network here or explore fact sheets to help people with a lived experience of disability stay informed here.
We look forward to seeing community groups use these resources to continue running peer groups to empower communities to connect and build capacity.