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River Nile Learning Centre

Creative Arts for Refugee & Asylum Seeker Women

Creative Arts for Refugee & Asylum Seeker Women

The project is the establishment of a Creative Art Program at RNLC. Our experience to date in delivering creative arts has been ad hoc, when funds allow. Neve...

australia > VIC > metro
01/02/2022 > 20/12/2022


  • Education & training
  • Social inclusion & justice (human rights)


  • Asylum seekers, refugees, migrants and people from CALD backgrounds
  • Women and girls


The project is the establishment of a Creative Art Program at RNLC. Our experience to date in delivering creative arts has been ad hoc, when funds allow. Nevertheless, whenever we have introduced a new activity such as music, the students have enthusiastically embraced it.

“Music therapy was absolutely fantastic. It really helped the students to connect with each other and to articulate their own stories through song. They all looked forward to it. It was the highlight of the week and improved attendance on those days. It particularly helped the students dealing with the most difficult personal circumstances (those on bridging visas with very uncertain futures), who often struggle with low mood or motivation but were more engaged in class during and following music therapy. Music therapy in the morning lifted the students up and made them more focused, motivated and positive throughout the day.” – Sarah, RNLC Teacher

The Creative Art Program will deliver at least one of the following activities each fortnight:
– Visual Art to develop drawing, painting and collage skills, hand and eye coordination, visual storytelling and inspire students to create their own group and solo artworks;
– Dance to improve physical and mental health, fitness and coordination, group work and creativity by choreographing and practicing dance works together; and
– Music therapy to improve mental health and wellbeing by reducing stress, regulating mood and energy levels, and increase motivation by allowing students to tell their stories through song and create music as a group.


The short-term outcomes are that our students:
- have improved physical health and fitness;
- have improved mental health;
- are more focused, motivated and positive in their studies; and
- build strong friendships and make new connections in the community;

We will know these outcomes have been achieved when:
- the Program is established with at least 30 enthusiastically engaged students; and
- we receive positive feedback on the program from the students, teaching staff and volunteers

The intermediate-term outcomes are that our students:
- develop an ongoing interest in the arts (and discover previously hidden talents);
- pass on their new interests to their immediate families; and
- achieve their educational/employment goals for 2022.

We will know these outcomes have been achieved through:
- feedback on the program from the students, our teaching staff and volunteers; and
- students' achievement under our educational programs including progress in language skills, formal qualifications, securing respectful employment..

The long-term outcomes are the students:
- achieve their life aspirations, whether it be further education or employment; and
- are productively integrated into our community, resulting in a more harmonious society.

The Creative Art Program plays a key role in achieving these long-term outcomes by helping our students through this critical and difficult time in their lives. We encourage all our past students to return to the learning centre and share their experiences with the current students.

Profile of River Nile Learning Centre

River Nile Learning Centre

River Nile Learning Centre (RNLC) educates refugee and asylum seeker women who are not eligible to be enrolled in government schools owing to age, visa restrictions or personal circumstances. At RNLC they acquire language, numeracy and life skills to integrate and thrive in our community. Our aim is to equip our students to move into employment or further education.

At our learning centre in West Melbourne, we deliver EAL and Foundation English programs to develop our students' essential employment skills. This followed by job readiness training which includes finding respectful work placements.

What distinguishes us from other organisations is that we provide individual learning plans tailored to meet our students' widely varying starting dates, knowledge, abilities and aspirations. These plans are supported by volunteers who tutor the students on a one-to-one/three basis.

As all our students face complex and challenging personal circumstances, we provide holistic social support to allow them to regularly attend classes and concentrate on their studies. RNLC's social worker provides assistance with housing, health, legal issues, provision of MYKI cards, staple foods and childcare. In our childcare facility, fully qualified early childhood educators prepare young children for kindergarten while their mothers study.

All our programs and services are provided free of charge as our students struggle to survive on limited or no welfare payments.

Our students are among the most disadvantaged isolated in the community. Without RNLC, they wouldn’t receive an education nor be gainfully employed.


Funding sourceAmount
Funding gap (unconfirmed)$9,600
Expense itemAmount
12 No. Art Lessons @ $250 per lesson$3,000
6 No. Music Therapy Lessons @ $250 per lesson$1,500
6 No. Dance Lessons @ $250 per lesson$1,500
Art Materials $800
RNLC Social Worker 20 days for 3 hour/day to coordinate the program @ $47 per hour$2,800

Support Creative Arts for Refugee & Asylum Seeker Women

Got a question about this project or ready to contribute? Contact our Philanthropy & Impact Team.


As a broker of change, we invite social change initiatives to apply for funding. Eligible proposals are shared with our giving community via our Granting Opportunities directory.