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18 June 2018

An international student safety video, that started out as a local Wollongong Police initiative, is now being rolled out across NSW.

The video was produced with funding from the IMB Bank Community Foundation in 2015 and also supported by the NSW Government.

Wollongong Police Multicultural Liaison Officer (MCLO), Rima Elhage, works within the Crime Prevention Unit and part of her job is to provide information to refugee and international student groups about the role of law enforcement in the local area as well as personal and property safety.

“We used to do our presentations across community and student groups but at times we were not getting enough engagement, with language barriers proving difficult,” Rima said.

“A couple of years ago, we agreed that a video may be a better way to communicate these messages to the groups and we applied for funding from IMB Bank Community Foundation.”

When their application was successful, a local production house, Wicked Bee, and local students and volunteers worked with Wollongong Police to shoot a 15-minute video for international students attending Wollongong University. Another version with slight changes was also made so it would be suitable for refugees settling in the local area.

The videos covers a range of important safety and crime prevention topics such as the role of the police and how to identify them, the rights and responsibilities expected by the community as well as safety tips on swimming, walking alone at night, locking up property and how to access interpreters.

IMB Foundation

A video, designed to help refugees and international students better adjust to life in Wollongong, has been so successful, it's being rolled out across New South Wales.

Posted by WIN News Illawarra on Thursday, 14 June 2018

Last year, an Inspector from the Wollongong Police District attended a stakeholders meeting in Sydney with a focus on international students in NSW, and presented the video to attendees from other universities, Government, TAFE and student organisations.

Parliamentary Secretary for the Illawarra and South Coast Gareth Ward said the NSW Government’s StudyNSW, which supports the international student sector, provided co-funding last year as part of its “partner projects” program to have the Police Safety Video subtitled into eight other languages and also assist its dissemination.

“StudyNSW’s co-funds a range of partner projects each year to support international education in NSW including assisting production of this important video, and applications are currently open for 2018-19 partner projects for interested organisations,” Mr Ward said.

MCLO Elhage said: “We are now distributing it far and wide across the state and thrilled that it is being used by other groups to educate students coming to NSW, on and off shore.”

Pending further funding, Rima and her team would like to also produce the refugee video in other languages.

IMB Bank CEO Robert Ryan praised the Wollongong Police initiative, confirming that the widespread benefit beyond the local area was one of the key aspects of the Community Foundation funding decisions.

“We always look to fund projects that impact as many people in the community as possible, and we are thrilled that the video funded by the IMB Bank Community Foundation will now be seen across the State.

“I congratulate Rima and the Wollongong Crime Prevention Unit and look forward to hearing how they progress with the refugee video next year,” he said.

Now in its 19th year, the IMB Bank Community Foundation is soon to announce a further $500,000 for local projects, bringing total funding to $9.1m across almost 650 projects in the areas in which it operates.

Successful recipients for the 2018 round of funding will be announced on June 27.

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