Bendigo Community Health Services has hosted the region’s inaugural Refugee Youth Leadership Program.

The two-day event facilitated by the Centre for Multicultural Youth brought together 17 young potential leaders from the Karen, Afghan and South Sudanese communities.

Our cultural diversity and relationships manager Kaye Graves said the program was designed to build confidence and skills.

“The focus of the program was to ensure young people have every opportunity to have their voices heard, develop skills and lead change in their communities,” she said.

Kaye said the program helped the group build an understanding of leadership and how their actions and those of the teams and groups they form could create positive change.

“Understanding personal values that drive leadership styles and the importance of good decision making was a vital part of the program,” she said.

“The group was also taken through the five stages of project management and shown a useful project management toolbox.

“Some of the participants will be volunteering at BCHS to help plan projects such as our annual Youth Education Camp.”

Kaye said the program was one of the most inspiring event she had ever taken part in and BCHS was really encouraged by feedback from the group.

“They thought it was an awesome program which means we could have made some real progress through these two days. We heard comments like “I met new people and that made me happy’ or ‘I had fun and learnt new things’,” Kaye said.

“Importantly the feedback included comments such as ‘I like to be a leader because I can’ and ‘I want to help my people’ which is encouraging for what might follow from what these young people have learned.”

To learn more about refugee services at Bendigo Community Health Services visit