Our education programs cover a range of areas and topics, such as art. Art is a powerful tool for self-expression and connection with others. Art and visual expression is also a skill that can be used to gain employment and independence.
A volunteer who is a professional artist teaches weekly art classes to the homeless at the Rhodes church hall at St Mary and St Merkorious Coptic Orthodox Church. There, our homeless attendees gain a chance to learn art skills, connect to one another, discuss their work and art with peers without judgment, and find a safe place to connect.
Although paused at the moment due to COVID-19, everyone involved is committed to continuing the program to facilitate art, expression, and connection in a safe space.
``Education breeds confidence. Confidence breeds hope. Hope breeds peace.” - Confucius
In the past few years, St Merkorious has provided nutrition and health classes in Arabic before our Fairfield community meal, where we paid a nutritionist who taught our Arabic-speaking community members how to maintain good, healthy nutrition.
Many newly settled migrants and refugees are unfamiliar with our Australian staples compared to their native foods and markets. Our classes are aimed at avoiding the risk of our new community members experiencing bad nutrition because they are unaware of how to buy, cook and eat Australian ingredients and food.
In the future, we are looking to increase our classes at our community meals to include education in diabetes, heart disease, mental health and family harmony in addition to these nutrition classes to continue contributing to community wellbeing.
In 2019, we offered Community Services Course through Sydney Community College and Certificate I and II in Hospitality with the National Training Organisation (RTO: 90772).
We successfully hosted 5 students to completion in Hospitality I and II, and 7 students to graduation in Community Services, and are happy to report that the majority who completed Certification were able to exit our food relief program and get employment.
We are looking to further connect our clients to official certification opportunities through our connections to reputable RTOs and start gaining traction towards independence.
Recently, we have been applying for funding under our initiative ‘Women in Trades’, a program designed for disadvantaged CALD women in our community to gain additional support in enrolling and continuing engagement in Commercial Cookery or Hospitality Certifications. These certifications will allow these women to gain the qualifications necessary to apply for gainful employment, and support their steps towards independent living.