Peer support groups, mobile phones and refugee women in Melbourne

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Abstract

In this article, we discuss qualitative findings basing on the experiences of refugee women living in Melbourne, Australia, who participated in a peer support training programme and received a free mobile phone. We pay attention to social support as a health enhancing strategy and empowerment that occurred among the participants. Participation in peer support groups and access to a mobile phone were beneficial for the women. Peer support functioned as social support among group members. The programme allowed the women to be connected to their families and the wider communities and assisted them to access health care and other settlement aspects with greater ease. It also increased personal empowerment among the women. Our programme shows that by tapping on community resources to ameliorate personal or resettlement issues, the burden on service providers can be reduced. Our findings also offer a model for future research and programmes regarding refugee people elsewhere.

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