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Category: Interviews »

Subject: Cultural Studies »

Migrant Resource Centres and their roles in the wider polity

George Lekakis.

George Lekakis explores the development of Migrant Resource Centres and their roles in the wider polity



Date Added:

18 February 2009


source not available


mov (Quicktime);

File size:

5.6 MB






I applied for a job in a migrant resource centre which I duly got and realised that I could combine some of my more radical views about social work and theoretical frameworks at the time with my commitment to looking after basically what were representations of my parents and the struggles that they went through, only with the new waves of migrants that were coming through. So I embarked upon helping people individually and I had long lines every morning of clients coming through with all sorts of problems.


An uncaring bureaucratic framework that one would say, looking at it with hindsight, we had some incredible welfare systems in – in operation that we could help people with a whole myriad of different problems, rather than what occurred when I exited that sector.


I then went on in 1988 to manage for the first time, a migrant resource centre in my own right at Footscray, which was Little Saigon at the time. So I replaced the Russians and some of the other communities from Prahran and I walked into an environment where I had long lines of Vietnamese and long lines of Africans from Ethiopia and Eritrea coming to see me and I had to manage staff and manage programs in order to shape some of the initial responses to people’s problems, so I was very reticent of what people - had difficulties with housing, getting a job, dealing with family problems, domestic violence, abduction of children, homeless – you name it, we – no money, we had some – and of course, the ongoing nature of people wanting to be reunited with relatives, whoever those relatives – immediate, non-immediate, long lost child, long lost estranged sibling, whatever that may be.


End transcript