In recent years, people from Sudan have comprised a large percentage of the Australian settlement program with widespread diaspora following decades of civil war in their homeland. The majority of past research on the experiences of individuals settled through humanitarian programs has largely focused on reports of post-traumatic stress disorder and pathology resulting from prior trauma. An in-depth study using qualitative and quantitative methods was completed in 2007 to examine the individual and community experiences of Sudanese in southeast Queensland and to explore experiences of adaptation, life satisfaction, and wellbeing over and above the experiences of adversity and pathology.
A total of 90 Sudanese adults participated in the project with the principal aim of examining the impact of individual experience, community context and programming on the resettlement experience. The presentation will reflect on key themes highlighted from the research and developed in conjunction with ongoing collaboration with the Sudanese community. Key themes include the role of social ties, basic skills, and opportunities for advancement within Australian society as essential components for successful adaptation. Discussion of positive and negative factors in settlement and recommendations for future advancements in settlement practices will be provided.