Tomasa Morales from CatholicCare Melbourne wins a Merit Award for Excellence in Service by an Individual at the Catholic Social Services Australia award

Posted 23 October 2014 12:33pm


23 OCTOBER 2014

Tomasa Morales, the Team Leader for CatholicCare Melbourne’s Refugee Settlement Program in Dandenong was acknowledged with a Merit Award for Excellence in Service by an Individual, The Perkins Award, at the 2014 Catholic Social Services Australia Awards.

The Refugee Settlement Program equips people who are new to Australia as refugee and humanitarian entrants with the social and life skills necessary for successful integration and settlement in the community.

For over three years Tomasa has provided a leadership role at the Refugee Settlement Program. Over and above her exceptional leadership, Tomasa brings something extra: the depth of understanding and empathy gained through her own experience as a refugee.

Tomasa recently shared her story at CatholicCare’s International Women’s Day event, telling of her life as a child in El Salvador, the war from which she fled, how she sought asylum in Honduras, to her arrival in Australia as a refugee. Her journey is compelling and confronting.

It is through her understanding and shared experience that Tomasa offers hope and support to those who have experienced a similar journey, fleeing their homeland to come to Australia seeking a new life.

Among her clients are former Unaccompanied Minors who are now 18 and struggling to secure suitable housing with minimal financial support. Other people that Tomasa supports have arrived in Australia as ‘Women at Risk’. Tomasa helps them all to navigate their way to a better future.

Tomasa’s service is exemplary not only to the families she supports, but also to the colleagues with whom she works.

Catholic Social Services Australia award judges said that Tomasa is a fantastic example of someone using their own experiences to help others. “Besides our Indigenous brothers and sisters, every Australian has come from somewhere else, though we often forget this,” noted the judges. “Tomasa though has not forgotten her past and builds on her heritage and experiences to assist others through the Refugee Support Program.”

The 12th Annual Catholic Social Services Australia Awards were announced on Tuesday evening at Parliament House, Canberra in the presence of Senators and Members of Federal Parliament.

Catholic Social Services Australia is the Catholic Church’s peak national body for social service agencies across the country. For over 50 years it has assisted its member agencies to promote a fairer, more inclusive society that reflects and supports the dignity, equality and participation for all people.

The Catholic Social Services Australia Awards pay tribute to the outstanding programmes, organisations and people, who work tirelessly and often quietly for a better life for vulnerable people within our communities.

Media queries, including high resolution images, please contact Chris Norris on (02) 6285 1366

For more information on CatholicCare Melbourne’s Refugee Resettlement Program, please contact Bernadette Garcia, on ( 03) 8710 9600

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