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Point to Pinnacle

Students in carpark  

Climbing mountain inspiring metaphor for refugees

Heavy rain did not deter a young group of former refugees from tackling the Point to Pinnacle in November 2016.

When TasTAFE Young Migrant English Program (YMEP) teacher, David Birch, suggested young refugee students participate there was great enthusiasm.

Initially David thought five students might enter.  Instead19 young students arrived at the start line on a rainy Sunday. Due to the wet weather conditions, vehicles could not access Mt Wellington and the race was re-routed to become the Point to Point.

“It was a great success. The students were tired and cold at the end of the race, but absolutely thrilled to have entered it and completed it. Speaking to them after the race it was clear that they really proved something to themselves,” David said.

Making it to the top of the mountain and overcoming challenges was a metaphor David used during the training process telling the students to imagine themselves on top of the mountain looking down at Hobart and thinking how you could achieve anything.

Despite inspiring metaphors of conquering mountains, some students almost gave up during the training sessions.

“Some were really struggling during the training. They almost talked themselves out of doing the Point to Pinnacle. To their great credit they persisted, entered and finished the race and are clearly very proud of themselves,” he said.

“The enormity of what they achieved is all the more pronounced as I know that some of the young participants have been dealing with some extremely tough personal circumstances in their lives this year. Hopefully this represents a turning point for them.” 

The refugees who participated originally came from countries including Sudan, Ethiopia, Afghanistan, Iran, Bhutan and Nepal.

YMEP provides English Language classes and pathways to further study or work. The social and friendship side of student’s life is also important at YMEP and there are many activities throughout the year such as; YMEP camp, joint projects with other schools, assemblies and excursions.  In training for the Point to Pinnacle the students did many walks around different parts of Hobart.

The Point to Pinnacle was an important event as health, community engagement and developing confidence is part of settlement process.