Working With Communities

Our approach to building community capacity recognises the collective impacts of traumatic events on refugee background communities and promotes protective factors in health, education, employment, family and community life. Activities undertaken incorporate a trauma-informed approach.

Our Framework for Community Capacity Building recognises that individuals can begin to recover from pre-arrival trauma when the communities they are part of, and the service systems they interact with, are inclusive, safe, responsive and provide meaningful connections.

The three key principles which guide our approach to working with communities are:

1. Build cohesive relationships and external partnerships

2. Build reciprocal understanding through dialogue

3. Build on community skills and resources

We use the term ‘community capacity building’ when Foundation House:

  • Establishes structures and processes which identify a community’s strengths and concerns
  • Provides information from a trauma-informed perspective which addresses community concerns
  • Works alongside a community to set and advance their own goals
  • Supports communities to take control over their health, education, employment, family and community life

Our specialist work with communities includes:

  • Community advisory groups
  • Community-based psycho-education
  • Community engagement and networking
  • Community advice and consultation
  • Partnerships with service providers and community
  • Therapeutic group work
  • Recording community stories (testimonials)

Our work with communities is supported by a team of bicultural community liaison workers and other staff with community development expertise. Bicultural workers provide crucial historical, geographical, political, language and cultural information and context relevant to each refugee background community.


Mardi Stow
Manager, Community Capacity Building
T: (03) 9389 8904

Foundation House
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