Introduction

Health Education Program

We make health information work for migrant and refugee women in Victoria. Here is how.

Health Education Program

IMPORTANT NOTICE:  COVID-19 has temporarily changed the way that MCWH delivers health education. For the time being we are not running any face-to-face workshops, but we are delivering sessions to groups online, using the Zoom platform. If you would like to know more about ways we are sharing health information, read our COVID-19 Multilingual Health information page or contact amira@mcwh.com.au to make a booking.

Health education for migrant women

At MCWH we believe information is power and we love to share health information with other migrant women! That's why we travel to where migrant women work and live, to share health messages directly with them in their first language. We've been doing it for over 40 years because we know it works.

If you are a business, organisation or service, a social club and you want to host a health education workshop, read on to find out how.

Booking a health education session is simple:

1. Bring migrant women together

group of women

Our free education workshops are for migrant women of all ages. Whether you are a parents group, seniors group or school group, a business, organisation or social club, we want to talk to you about women's health!

Our educators can deliver online or travel anywhere in Victoria to visit you at your meeting room, community hall, workplace, neighbourhood house, school, social club, community health service or place of worship. Contact our Health Education Manager to make a booking.

2. Choose your language

Languages available

Arabic     العربية
Burmese     မြန်မာစကား
Cantonese     廣東話
Croatian     hrvatski
Dari     دری
English
Farsi     فارسی
Greek     Ελληνικά
Hindi     हिंदी
Italian     italiano
Karen     (S’gaw Karen) ကညီကျိ
Lotuko (Otuho)
Ma’di     Ma'diti
Mandarin     普通话
Marathi     मराठी
Punjabi     ਪੰਜਾਬੀ     پن٘جابی
Sudanese-Arabic     سوداني
Tamil     தமிழ்
Tigre     ትግረ
Tigrigna     ትግርኛ
Vietnamese     Tiếng Việt

Our group speaks many languages

We can run sessions in simplified English for your group if you speak many different languages.

For large groups or workplaces where more than one main language is spoken, two or more educators can deliver sessions in more than one language
(depending on numbers).

If you don't see the language you want in our current list, please contact us.

I don't see my language on the list

If you don't see the language you want in our current list, please contact us.

If we do not have an educator who speaks you language, we may still have written and visual resources in your language We will work with your group to try to make sure you can still access health information you want.

3. Pick your health topic(s)

What is women's health?

For groups that choose to book our full health education course, this subject explains why women's health is important.

It covers a very wide range of topics. We will talk with you to find out what your group will find most useful.

If there is something you want to know more about you can request to cover some topics in more detail:

  • Breast health (breast cancer, checks and screening)
  • Cervical health (Pap smears, what happens if I get and abnormal pap test, HPV, cervical cancer, ovarian cancer)
  • Endometriosis
  • Menopause and Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)
  • Menstruation (Periods),
  • Osteoporosis
  • Pelvic Floor
  • Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
  • Your health rights
  • Navigating the Australian health system

Making healthy choices

Tips on how to stay healthy and reduce your risk of chronic illnesses like heart disease, diabetes. We also talk about how to manage chronic illnesses if you ahve one and where to get support.

Ask for this health subject or choose specific topics:

  • Healthy Heart
  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Diabetes
  • Exercise
  • Nutrition
  • Alcohol
  • Illicit Drugs
  • Smoking
  • Arthritis
  • Gambling harm

Working well: Workplace health and safety

Many women spend long hours working, in paid employment and unpaid care, volunteering, studying and housework. Find out about how to take care of yourself at work. This subject covers many important topics including:

  • Asthma
  • Discrimination
  • Dust
  • Heat
  • Hygiene
  • Machinery
  • Manual Handling
  • Parental Leave
  • Noise
  • Occupational Overuse Syndrome
  • Sexual Harassment
  • Stress
  • Varicose Veins
  • Workplace Violence
  • Workplace Bullying

 

Mental health and using medicines safely

Mental health is not always talked about but it is so important to our well-being. Mental health can affect our physical health too. This subject can cover a wide range of issues, including:

  • Pain Management
  • Relaxation
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Stress
  • Mental Illnesses
  • Better Sleep
  • Using drugs - prescription & non-prescription
  • Alternative therapies 

Sexual and reproductive health

Like all our health subjects, reproductive health covers many important topics. You can request the specific topics that are most relevant to your group.

  • Fertility and infertility
  • Vaginal health and hygiene
  • Sexuality and sexual identity
  • Contraception and contraceptive choices
  • Pregnancy Choices (Abortion, Adoption, Foster care)
  • Pregnancy and birth
  • Safer Sex and Sexually Transmitted Infections STIs, including HIV and Hepatitis B
  • Cystitis and Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)

Women’s safety and wellbeing

1 in 3 women in Australia (34.2%) has experienced physical and/or sexual violence perpetrated by a man since the age of 15 (Our Watch). Women of all ages and backgrounds can experience violence. Violence has many negative effects on women's health and well-being. Research tells us that migrant and refugee women are less likely to know their rights and how to get the right support.

It is important that everyone understands what violence is, how we can prevent it and where we can get support for someone we know. This subject covers many issues in a non-judgemental way:

  • Sexual assault and harassment
  • Healthy relationships
  • Gender equality and preventing violence against women
  • Family violence
  • Support services and how to help someone you know

About our educators

We employ and train a team of health educators, who collectively speak over 20 languages and understand the challenges of migrating and settling in Australia, and strongly believe that every woman should have equal opportunities to access health information and learn about the services available to them. You can learn more about our health educators on the staff page.

Our health educators receive regular training from health experts and are paid for their invaluable skills and time. Unlike interpreters, whose role is to convey the words of others from one language to another, health educators can immediately and directly explain, clarify and answer questions that women may have about health topics.

Although some health educators are also trained medical professionals, health educators do not provide health advice. If you are unwell, you need to seek medical advice from a doctor.

 

Have more questions? Read our Frequently Asked Questions below. Or contact us for more information.

How much do workshops cost?

Our workshops for migrant women are free of cost. We are a government funded, non-profit organisation.

Where will my workshop be run?

You can book a workshop anywhere that works best for your group in Victoria. We can travel to your workplace, office, business, community space, school, meeting house, place of worship or meet online. Your session can be daytime or at night, outside of work hours or even on the weekend.

You do need to hold your health workshop somewhere that is safe and accessible for the women in your group and we will discuss this with you when you make a booking. 

How long is a workshop?

Workshops are flexible to suit the group. Depending on the topic or topics, workshops generally run for 30 minutes, one hour or one and a half hours. Some groups will organise for series of workshops that run once a  week over a period of weeks.

When you book your workshop, a staff member will discuss your options with you.

Are the workshops confidential?

Health workshops are about learning together in a safe and trusting environment, where women can share stories and hear about general health information.

Our health educators are highly professional and will never share your personal information. Educators may ask for information about you to help them evaluate the workshop. This information might include asking which suburb you live in, how old you are and if you have ever attended a workshop before. You do not have to give any information if you don't want to.

Everyone who participates is free to choose how much they want to share. Through workshops, we learn about issues that are important to migrant women and health challenges that migrant women experience. We may talk about these challenges when we advocate about these issues, but we will never identify individual women or their stories without their permission.

Health educators cannot diagnose conditions or provide medical advice.

Do you provide written resources?

Health educators often bring written and visual resources to explain health topics. They will also provide written material that workshop participants can take home. If you want to look for health information in languages other than English you can search our multilingual library catalogue.

How do I know that the health information you provide is accurate?

Our health educators receive regular up-to-date training from key health organisations including Jean Hailes, Heart Foundation, Diabetes Victoria, Cancer Council Victoria and BreastScreen Victoria.

Who do I contact for more information?

For further information you can contact our Health Education Manager, Amira Rahmanovic on (03) 9418 0918 or through our Contact Us page.

You can also use our free call number 1800 656 421.

Why health education?

We want women living in Australia from migrant and refugee backgrounds to have the same opportunities as other women to:

  • make informed health decisions for ourselves and our loved ones
  • know about and access health services available in Australia
  • understand, maintain and improve our health and well-being

Each of us can learn to make positive changes for our health. Some things we can't change. That is why we also train health providers, advocate for equity in health and support research into migrant women's health.

This Health Education Program is funded by the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services.