On this website you will find a history of Congolese settlement in Shepparton since 2005 when the first two families arrived from refugee camps in Tanzania.
Since then, Congolese people have integrated into the wider community through church attendance, sport, music, dance and our Congolese Independence Day celebrations.
I look at the reasons for settlement - the search for work and government policy encouraging regional settlement.
I acknowledge the support Congolese migrants have received from state and federal governments, local authorities and institutions in Shepparton.
I also look at the challenges ahead – the importance of stable employment, access to education and protecting our unique cultural heritage.
I hope this website is informative and provides a window into the Congolese community of Shepparton.
Welcome - 'Karibu'
Mushaamalirwa Derrick Bwhambi
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The Congolese community was settled in Shepparton through the Australian government’s humanitarian programs. The first two Congolese families arrived in 2005, as Shepparton has been chosen to be the first regional area in Australia to settle refugees directly from overseas. This program was called ‘Pilot’ to help government find the most effective ways of settling humanitarian entrants in regional areas and maximize the benefits for both refugees and the local community. However, as the government was committed to increase the number of migrants, other Congolese families from different refugee camps around Africa were granted permanent visas and also came to Shepparton. Since 2005, 18 Congolese families have arrived from refugee camps in Africa, 1 from Melbourne, 1 Adelaide, 1 Wodonga and 2 came under the family reunification program. All these families live in Shepparton. In 2006, they formed the Goulburn Valley Congolese Association Incorporation to serve the people with a Congolese heritage, links and cultures and share it with the broader community.
1. To advance and promote Congolese culture in the Goulburn Valley.
2. To informally support Congolese to settle in the Goulburn Valley.
3. To assist members with training, skills recognition and skill advancement for job readiness and employment
in the Goulburn Valley.
4. To assist members employed within the Goulburn Valley workforce with cultural awareness training
and mentoring in the work place.
5. To facilitate program in Goulburn Valley to raise awareness of Congolese culture.
6. To assist Congolese youth in performing arts, sport and creative endeavours.