The SCARF befriending program matches local volunteers with individuals and families from refugee backgrounds. Befrienders provide friendship and tailored support to the person they're matched with, helping them to navigate their way through new and often challenging experiences. It's a two way learning experience for those who befriend a refugee entrant.
Unless you’ve experienced building a new life in an unfamiliar place, it’s hard to imagine the value of a local friend.
Speaking English, accessing local services, understanding bills, grocery shopping, finding work and getting around are all common challenges for refugee entrants. As locals, befrienders have ‘specialist’ knowledge in these areas, and can use this to provide advice and guidance to their befriending partner.
Importantly, befrienders also provide the immeasurable support that friendship offers. A befriender is a safe person who listens without judgement, is trustworthy and is invested in the wellbeing of their befriending partner. They’re there to share in challenges and triumphs, to be a sounding board, and to enjoy experiences with. This simple support is priceless for people facing the loneliness that settlement in a new country can bring.
Why befriending matters
“My befriender, April, has helped me for many things. She’s helped me find my unit, she rings me all the time, we hang out. She’s also helped with the language. She’s my friend. That’s really good for me. Every person, like refugee, need someone to say ‘Welcome’”.
Supporting SCARF Befriending
SCARF relies on support from the wider community to deliver our befriending program. There are many ways you can contribute, including volunteering, providing a pro-bono service, holding a fundraiser, or donating to SCARF.