You Can’t Ask That – Refugees

You Can’t Ask That asks refugees the awkward, inappropriate or uncomfortable questions you’ve always wanted to know the answers to, but never had the guts to ask.

View the video here on the ABC ivew website:


Happy New Year to Friends of the FHEAL Foundation

Happy New Year to friends of the FHEAL Foundation, and all best wishes for a great year ahead.

The school year has commenced, so the kids are hearing the clatter of classroom doors, feeling the weight of the lugging of over-filled bags, and anticipating  the fun and excitement of being among peers again. Our kids of refugee backgrounds tend to find the holidays too long, too boring, and too hot. So they are all smiles now that school is back, and especially happy to see their returned therapists as well. Some have lost a bit of their English during the long school holiday break, but they are keen to make up for lost time and get back into the learning. And the FHEAL therapists are busy sorting their timetables so every referred child is seen, and to allow for screening new arrivals as they come.

Hoping your 2017 is as full of satisfying challenge and learning as ours!


Jane    (Jane Griffin, CEO Friends of HEAL Foundation)

A Note From Friends of HEAL CEO – Jane Griffin

Dear Supporters and Friends of HEAL

Season’s Greetings to one and all!  What a wonderful six months we have had since I last wrote. Thanks for enabling some seriously important work with Creative Arts Therapy for refugee newcomers in Brisbane schools!

Our big news in August was winning the QLD Multicultural Award for “Services and Communities Award Organisation”


Of course it’s great to get an award, but it’s especially good to know that word is getting around about the great value of creative therapy to refugee newcomers. This assists with our master plan, to encourage schools to understand the great difference this work makes, which encourages them to advocate for it, and assist with finding funds for it…


Welcome Fest

October was fun with our involvement in WelcomeFest, a large Multicultural Festival – we took along the mobile art van “HEAL on Wheels” and provided free art activities for attendees.

This included messages for refugees which were written on post-its, and pegged to our Welcome Tree.

The pictures show some of our past students visiting FHEAL Board Member Janelle Paterson and Art Therapist Catherine Winlaw, on the day; the Welcome Tree, and some of the post-its people contributed.



We have been helping many young people from the various corners of the earth this year. They are referred by teachers because they are struggling with learning, or perhaps are withdrawn and appear sad, or are involved in peer conflict and lack self-control. They are from Syria, South Sudan, Iraq, Somalia, and Myanmar, to name a few countries of origin.

One Iraqi boy I met with last week spent some time sharing photos with me. They were before and after pics of his home. The “before” showed a middle-class style two story home with a fancy staircase and tiled kitchen. The “after” pic showed just rubble. His home was in Mosul, and was completely destroyed. However, his family were lucky enough to be brought here as refugees, and he is doing well at school, after some difficulty with peers. Having been referred to HEAL, he has been able to express his feelings and grief, something he prefers to do in private, and the HEAL space offers privacy and support.

Don’t forget, these kids do not want pity.  They are adolescents- they want acceptance, and great music, and good looking clothes!

Now with the help of therapeutic activities he has learned about his own emotional regulation, so that he is able to function more peacefully. This assists his learning, and improves the chances of a bright future in his new place here. You helped this happen, for him and many others.

The Board, including Chair Adele Rice, (pictured below) appreciate your support. FHEAL Services are happening at Milpera, Yeronga, Kedron, and Woodridge State High Schools, at Watson Road and Richlands East State Schools, and at St James College. Thank you to the anonymous donor who is funding the Watson Road work, that is indeed a generous gift to the refugee background children there. Thanks to MDA who are funding some of the Richlands East work. We have also provided service to ACCESS for their Community hubs this year, and provided staff development work in the corporate world. Thanks to our monthly donors who help to keep our service flourishing.


In the coming year we are planning to hold our annual lunch on Sunday May 21 (the perfect Mothers Day present, tickets for a lovely lunch a week after Mum’s Day), so please claim the date in your new  diary!

We are also hoping to be offering a QPAC Concert, as we had last year. Please keep an eye on our website for further news about these events.

Thanks for your assistance, whether it be via donation, or buying our online products, such as cards and colouring books (www.fheal.com.au), or just caring enough to be well-informed. We could not help these amazing kids without such support.

Enjoy some pics of present HEAL kids and a few grown-up ones plus friends :



Wishing you and yours all the best for a Happy Christmas time, and may you enjoy the peace which comes from knowing you are making a difference in the world, with thanks,

Jane    (Jane Griffin, CEO Friends of HEAL Foundation)

Increasing Peace Using Arts

Our CEO Jane Griffin was invited to write a Blog post for Arts QLD. See the resulting piece here. Read all about the Friends of HEAL and why what we do with your support is so important.

Art has the power to do many things including heal. In Queensland Mental Health Week, Jane Griffin, CEO of Friends of HEAL Foundation charity talks about arts programs which support young people of refugee backgrounds.

Arts Therapy and Music Therapy help ameliorate the effects of trauma, and assist with the difficulties encountered by young newcomers as they settle into a new country and attend school. The Friends of HEAL Foundation (FHEAL) is a unique charity providing Creative Arts Therapy in schools for traumatised refugee children in Queensland.

The challenge:
Young refugees arrive in Australia, having experienced intense hardship, such as war, refugee camp life, forced dislocation, deprivation, torture, trauma, and grief. For some, the journey to good settlement is difficult. They suffer the symptoms of trauma, feelings of anxiety and fear, inability to feel safe or to relax, difficulty with relationships, and cognitive problems affecting memory and learning ability.  CONTINUE READING

WelcomFest October 2 Annerly Soccer Fields


Come one, come all!!  FREE Entry.  Big fun celebration of multiculturalism at Annerly Soccer grounds.  Come along and get creative at the HEAL on Wheels van. It’s a great day out.

For more information see…….. https://mdaltd.org.au/welcomefest

QLD Multicultural Award Winners!

Great news! FHEAL was presented the QLD Multicultural Award the Saturday before last. Presented by MP Grace Grace during a great lunchaward-tile2

at the Logan Entertainment Centre, our Chair Adele Rice received it on our behalf. The actual award is a framed ceramic piece made by an African girl with great creativity. So appropriate!  Big thanks to our Board, our therapists, and our supporters in getting this award.

Thanks also to the Commonwealth Bank Staff Fund, who have granted us $5000 for a project at Woodridge State High School. Our Board Director, Lisa Siganto, accepted the cheque along with therapists Gayle Crisp and Judith Gordon.

FHEAL participated last Saturday in “Communities Together”, a free seminar day put on by the QLD Multicultural Council. There is always something exciting going on!