• Our Students & Our Difference

    About our students

    Our refugee students are typically aged 16 to 25 years old, unmarried and of African heritage.  They often experience social and community isolation as they are seen as transgressing the social norms through unmarried pregnancy.  They are particularly disadvantaged (compared to other refugees) in that most have never been to school prior to arriving in Australia. Our mainstream education system has not been able to cope with students coming from such a disadvantaged background.

    Our asylum seeker students are typically 18 to 35 years old and of African or Middle Eastern heritage. Many, after having received 50 hours of government sponsored classroom instruction, do not have a basic working knowledge of English. As a consequence, they find it very difficult to function in our community.

    What makes us different?

    What distinguishes River Nile from schools (and other organisations), is that we provide Individual Learning Plans tailored to meet each student’s needs.  The plans are support by a large numbers of volunteers who tutor the students.  As most students have suffered trauma or torture prior to arriving in Australia and continue to suffer here, we provide the additional support necessary for them to survive and study.  They are cared for by a social worker, supported by mentors and assisted with public transport and basic food staples.  The students’ children are cared for in our childcare facility, with their mothers study in nearby classrooms.

    Student testimonials

    RNLC Student speech

    Ascher speaking at our 2014 End of Year Celebration

    “Hi, my name is Ascher, I would like to thank River Nile management and volunteers for their dedication and time, I thank you from my heart.  I would like to thank all the volunteers who support us all the time.  I thank you very much.  A special thank you to Suzanne for teaching me about the moon and the sun and other things.  She always teaches me about my favourite topics.  A special thank you to Anne Marie for teaching us some very practical craft skills.

    I have achieved two of my goals this year.  My dream was to read and write.  I have achieved this.  I thank everyone who helped me to reach my goal, which I always wanted to achieve since I was a teenager.  I always said that I was not sure that I would make my goal.  For next year I would like to keep improving my writing and reading.

    Thank you to my teachers.  They are kind and understanding.  Maggie and Francesca thank you for teaching me.  You are the best.  I can be a person who sometimes can be horrible but I appreciate your time and honesty.  

    Abby I will never forget you.  You opened up my mind.  I didn’t think my dream was possible.  You have inspired me and you always saw us as your sisters.

    I feel like the River Nile is my home.  Every morning I wake up I get excited that I can come to my other home.  I hope that when I achieve my goals I can still be involved with the River Nile.  At the River Nile there are people that make me feel alive.  They always remind me of who I am.  You know that you are all special in my heart.  I wish the River Nile will grow bigger and better. “


    Agum with Bennelong Foundation GM Susan Frances and RNLC Director Lisa Wilson


    My name is Agum Maluach.  I am 22 years old.

    I want to share with you the brief story behind the now happy looking lady standing in front of you.  I was born in South Sudan and during civil war my family escaped to Uganda. I came to Australia in 2008 with some of my family members.  Due to family arrangement, I got traditionally married at the age of 16, only 11 months after my arrival and moved to WA with the father of my children.  To make it short, I now have 3 children, twin 3 year-old boys and a 5-year daughter. This is where RNLC came to the rescue.

    I came to know River Nile through a social worker and since then River Nile became part of my revolution, not only with my learning, but with my children also learning and successfully gaining the development they needed to get ready for life ahead of them.

    RNLC built my ability to ready myself for further studies and given that one-on-one mentoring I gained so much. I couldn’t get this help anywhere else. The other girls and I all became part of something very special and we are over lucky to be part of the River Nile learning centre. I successfully completed my senior VCAL at the end of 2013. Last year, I took up studying a Certificate IV of professional writing and editing at NMIT.

    I’m very ambitious and determined to be something and add positive things into the country I now call home, Australia.  River Nile was and still is my best mentoring environment, my motivator. I am now studying a BA of Communication Media studies at Swinburne University.

    I can confidently say I have a better understanding of who I am and what I’m doing and I have a better voice in my community.

    But all that wouldn’t have happened without the support of donors and volunteers. Given this chance to stand up here, on behalf of all the young women, we say Thank You, you are part of our successful journey not only are you changing lives, you are building a better society, our communities are very proud of your generous work.”