01 Dec Ezidi community engagement and support project
Ezidi families in Armidale, NSW, were given refurbished computers from the University of New England to help them study, work and connect with loved ones.
The Computer Refurbishment project is the brainchild of Pro Vice-Chancellor External Relations, Professor Mingan Choct, who, after meeting with Refugee Resettlement Services in Armidale, committed to helping the refugees rebuild their lives.
The University took computers that would have otherwise gone to recyclers, and cleaned and re-imaged them to provide a “works out of the box” experience for recipients.
UNE has donated 68 refurbished Mac computers to local Ezidi high school students and families to date. Preparation for the final handover of 32 computers is currently underway.
Prof. Choct also introduced an English Language Scholarship, worth $4,000 and exclusive to Ezidis, to help the refugees improve their English language skills through UNE’s English Language Centre.
Hasan Saffuk was the first recipient of the scholarship awarded in March 2019. Anwar Sulaiman Qasim Hakrash, the second recipient, received his scholarship in May 2019. Anwar was studying Physics in Iraq before war disrupted his studies. He hopes to complete the degree at UNE in the near future.
The Ezidis bring diversity in culture and language to UNE and the local community. In turn, the community has embraced the Ezidis with open arms and forged connections through volunteering, sport, arts, community events and newcomer-driven initiatives.
The Ezidis are indigenous to northern Iraq, northern Syria and southeastern Turkey. Many were displaced during the war with ISIS, and have resettled in countries such as Australia, Germany and Canada. Over 500 refugees have settled in Armidale over the last 12-18 months.