All Newsletters : December 1998 : Reunification Travel: "We'll Meet Again"
"...We'll Meet Again..."
Ninety percent of former child migrants who have been assisted by C-BERSS to make a reunifcation trip to their country of origin, continue to keep in touch with their overseas family by letter and/or by phone once they return to Australia.
C-BERSS Manager/Clinical Co-ordinator Zish Ziembinski says the high level of family contact maintained by former child migrants is one of the most gratifying findings of a survey recently conducted on the C-BERSS reunification service.
About 50% of the 136 men who have so far been assisted by C-BERSS to make the trip back to the country in which they were born took the opportunity to feed back their impressions by responding to the survey.
Most (or 84%) reported that they were "very pleased" to have undertaken their reunification trip and 80% felt they were "very well" prepared by C-BERSS beforehand.
Mr Ziembinski says the survey results clearly show that the majority of C-BERSS clients not only very much appreciate and benefit from their reunification experience but that they are also very satisfied by the service offered by the staff of C-BERSS to help them prepare for meeting up with their family again.
"Family reunification is both a difficult and sensitive process and that is why we encourage clients to come and discuss their preparation strategies with us beforehand. Clients consistently assess our staff's contribution in helping them prepare as being very positive."
In helping former child migrants to prepare for their trip back to their country of origin, some of the things the men said they appreciated were:
the provision of accurate information and explanation of what the trip would entail
help in establishing contact with family before the trip
help with practical issues (passports, car hire etc.)
Reinification Travel Tips from Former Child Migrants:
Make sure you're well prepared practically and emotionally before you go
Establish your channels of communication before you leave and make sure you have a contact/base at your destination
Talk through the issues at length and get support of your partner
Be prepared for the unexpected (including the possibilities of a negative reception)
Taking along gifts and souvenirs is a good way of breaking the ice
So Near and Yet So Far
You don't have to have been born overseas to lose contact with your family of origin, as Australian-born ex-resident Chris Caldwell (Castledare and Tardun) can testify. He is pictures above with his sister Gloria at their reunification in Tasmania. Read the full story here...