KU Mayfield AMEP Child Care Centre celebrates one year milestone

GRAND OPENING: Adult Migrant English Program students John Ukwigwasa Mashikura and Khalida, front, with KU Mayfield AMEP Child Care Centre staff and supporters.
GRAND OPENING: Adult Migrant English Program students John Ukwigwasa Mashikura and Khalida, front, with KU Mayfield AMEP Child Care Centre staff and supporters.

A Mayfield child care centre has celebrated its one year anniversary by reflecting on the impact it has made on migrant and refugee families living in Newcastle.

The KU Mayfield AMEP Child Care Centre provides on site childcare to new migrant and refugee parents studying English through the Australian Government's Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP).

AMEP student Khalida, who migrated to Newcastle from Pakistan five years ago, said it had been "very helpful" to be able to bring her child, Abdula, aged 3, to the centre where she studies English and where he can learn and interact with children from a similar cultural and religious background.

"My baby is very shy. It is a really good environment for my baby to make him feel comfortable," Khalida said. "I'm very happy with them. If there is a problem I can come downstairs and speak to his teachers."

Khalida, who only has a first name, has been studying English for one year. She said learning English was important especially now that she had a child.

John Ukwigwasa Mashikura is the father of eight children two of which, Ishara, 3, and Jacques, 2, attend the Mayfield centre while he studies English through AMEP.

KU Mayfield AMEP Child Care Centre on November 21.

KU Mayfield AMEP Child Care Centre on November 21.

Originally from Congo, Mr Mashikura, who spent 16 years in a living in a Malawi refugee camp, and his family have lived in Newcastle for one year. He has been studying English for eight months.

Khalida, Mr Mashikura and other AMEP students joined KU educators, staff and representatives from Navitas English and MAX Solutions, providers and supporters of AMEP in Maitland, on Thursday, November 21 to celebrate the one year anniversary, which doubled as an official opening for the child care centre.

"We are very excited to be officially opening KU Mayfield AMEP. The centre is able to enrol up to 20 children each day and has five bilingual early childhood trained educators to ensure that all children settle well, learn and grow happily and safely in their new home country of Australia," KU AMEP and community programs manager, Sabira Sukurma, said.

Currently, the centre cares for children from seven countries including Syria, Tibet and Afghanistan.

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