African education funding cuts out of order

By , 09/07/2018 17:40

An Orderof Australia Medal recipient who was recognised for helping people in Melbourne’s African community find jobs, could himself be out of a job next month as funding for the program dries up.
Nanjing Night Net

Carlton Neighbourhood Learning Centre’s Horn Afrik multicultural officer Omar Farah made the 2013 Queens Birthday Honours List last week.

For the past eight years, Mr Farah has run programs addressing education, training and employment needs for people from the Horn of Africa.

In the last six months of 2012 the service helped 179 people, including referring 36 clients to employment opportunities.

But the program, which is funded by the Commonwealth government, could cease to exist from next month.

Centre manager Mary Parfrey said she had applied for funding beyond June 30 through the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs but she was concerned because she had heard nothing.

A spokeswoman for the government said a decision about successful applicants would be made soon. But without a guarantee of funding before the end of the financial year, Ms Parfrey said she would be forced to terminate Mr Farah’s employment.

“It would be a terrible irony because Omar could become a victim of the circumstances he’s been trying to prevent,” she said.

Mr Farah, who migrated to Australia in 1988 and hold a Masters in international development, said he was more concerned about African clients.

“I can survive. I am a translator and I can always go back to the taxi industry,” he said.

Omar Farah. Photo by Scott McNaughton

UPDATE: The day after Melbourne Times went to press the government confirmed it had committed funding to continue this project.

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