Notre Dame international student produces survival DVD to assist migrants and refugees

Document Type

Media Release

Publication Date

Fall 16-5-2007

Publisher Name

The University of Notre Dame Australia, Fremantle

Publication Place



Master of Business and international student, Mr Andres Arevalo has been working closely with the Fremantle Multicultural Centre to produce a DVD which will assist refugees and new migrants to develop their ‘Sight Survival Literacy’, in other words, to read signs.

Funded through a grant from the Department of Education, Science and Training, the DVD is produced in five languages and covers areas where signs are mandatory such as roads, footpaths, train stations, schools, shopping centres, car parks, the workplace, warning signs, first aid and labels on foods.

Mr Arevalo, originally from Colombia, explained, “A lot of migrants come from rural areas in their home country, it is a real culture shock when they first arrive.

“Not only is there a language barrier, but Australia is very sign orientated. We hope to assist them in gaining a basic understanding of signs.”

Mr Arevalo undertook extensive research in preparation for this important project. He conducted a number of focus groups who identified the many challenges that refugees and migrants have in the daily life, such as the difficulties in just finding their way around with public transport.

Mr Bernard Wandei, who also works at the centre as the Refugee Youth Access Officer, said that the DVD will be very useful. He explained that, “Many refugees come from a background where rules are not necessarily enforced as they are here. It is important that they respect the rules and understand their relevance especially for their own safety.”

Mr Arevalo and Mr Wandei shared the experience of watching a bus go past their bus stop because they didn’t know that they had to ‘hail it’, and also not knowing that they had to ring the bell in the bus so that they could get off.

It is Mr Arevalo’s hope to attract more funding so that the 36 minute DVD can be produced in an additional four languages. He also hopes, once he has graduated, that he will be employed so that his family can settle in WA permanently.