Topic: The post-settlement lives of South Sudanese Australian women. Surviving and belonging.

Speaker: Dr. Sarah Maher, Monash Center for migration and inclusion

Topic: This research project looked at the experience of post-settlement for South Sudanese Australian women through their narratives of pre-arrival, settlement and post-settlement. These three stages spoke to the major theme of the research, which was the impact of the widespread, gendered violence of the second civil war in Sudan - including mass slavery, sexual violence and displacement.

Of the key findings, one was the way in which older women experienced belonging in Australia as embodied - after finding safety, security and medical care during settlement. However, for women who did not achieve literacy, in post-settlement, that sense of belonging is lost to the poverty of long-term welfare dependency. This poses serious concerns for the mental health and wellbeing of a largely invisible group of migrant women.

Speaker: Dr Maher is a Criminologist and adjunct Research Fellow at Monash Migration and Inclusion Centre and her research is built on a previous career in the refugee settlement sector in Melbourne. Her fifteen-year professional engagement with the South Sudanese Australian community led to her doctoral research.

Sara’s research interests include post-settlement for former refugee women, the gendered-impacts of state crime during war, the oral histories of forced migrations, transnationality and diasporas, and the criminalisation of migrant youth.

Sara created the Anyikool Project; the oral histories of South Sudanese women elders which is now part of the oral archive of the State Library of Victoria. She is also a Churchill Fellow, a Board member of the Society of South Sudanese Professionals Australia and has recently published her first novel, to do with migration and settlement, called Blinding the Ghost’s Eye.

The VTMH Seminar Series presents speakers on a range of mental health and diversity themes. Sessions are free and will interest people working in a range of sectors.

Categories: Diversity, Families & carers, Therapeutic theory & practice
Disciplines: Allied Health, Lived Experience Workforce, Medical, Nursing, Other
Levels: Introductory, Intermediate
Lifespans: Youth, Adult, Older Persons

Wednesday 15 May 2019
14:45 to 16:00
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Provided by Victorian Transcultural Mental Health (VTMH)
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