The Ubuntu Empowering Mothers project provides direct support to mothers, young people and families. 

The project is delivered in partnership by the University of Melbourne, Afri-Aus Care and the Australian African Foundation for Retention and Opportunity (AAFRO). As at the end of 2022, the project has supported 319 mothers, young people and children since 2020, with 158 participants and family members securing employment.

As well as supporting families in Melbourne’s south-east and west to connect them with the right services, the project has also developed guidelines and a toolkit for:

  • service providers
  • professionals
  • community organisations, and
  • government.

The aim is to improve work with African-Australian families in respectful, inclusive and culturally responsive ways.

The project is grounded in the African philosophy of Ubuntu which emphasises the importance of connections and strong relationships between individuals, families and communities and is often described by the statement ‘I am because we are’.

The Ubuntu team has developed guidelines to understand what ubuntu looks and feels like in practice:

Ubuntu Guidelines (PDF 1.28MB) (External link)

The Ubuntu Empowering Mothers project has received further funding through the Building Safer Communities Program to continue supporting the wellbeing of mothers, building their connectedness and capacity to support young people in their communities.

Learn more about AAFRO's involvement in this project:


Video transcript - Ubuntu Empowering Mothers Project

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Case Study: Ubuntu Empowering Mothers Project (Australian African Foundation for Retention and Opportunity) AAFRO


The three AAFRO workers pose together, then are working around a desk, and sitting on the steps outside the AAFRO office. We see artwork of an african woman and a photo of smiling African children in traditional dress.


Under the Building safer communities program, the Victorian government has supported AAFRO to share in funding through the Ubuntu Empowering Mothers project. This project provides culturally sensitive support for African Australian mothers and their children.

Mamadou Diamanka, CEO, Managing Director – AAFRO:

My name is Mamadou Diamanka, CEO and Managing director Australian African Foundation for Retention and Opportunities, AAFRO.

Rayan Hassan, Case Manager and Support Worker – AAFRO:

My name is Rayan Hassan I work as a case manager and support worker with the organisation AAFRO.

Kuei Kuany, Case Manager and Support Worker – AAFRO:

 My name is Kuei Kuany and I work as a case manager/support worker as well,  and I work for AFFRO too.

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Can you tell us about the Ubuntu Framework?


View of a t-shirt that reads "Together we build stronger and better communities. Ubuntu.".


First of all ‘Ubuntu” means “I am because we are, because we are that's why I am”. So for this framework we have been working with the top Melbourne universities. What AAFRO is doing with it is we are utilizing through a culturally responsive way to work with particularly African communities and beyond.


More shots of the the three AAFRO workers at their computers around a desk, working.


A famous saying that encapsulates the idea of the Ubuntu framework is: “it takes a village to raise a child”.

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What outcomes do you hope to achieve through your work?


AAFRO helps to bridge the gap between Africans and other communities.


The empowerment of the women that we work with. The facilitation of empowerment. We want to build their skills and their ability to access and integrate into society.

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What kinds of results have you seen with your work?


We've been very fortunate enough actually this year. We have assisted some families to get a job - so the parents get into work but also the young person gets their education because that's what they're asked to do. So from age three to year 12, really technically every parent what they wish for their child is really to get an education.


Find stable housing. We've seen a lot of them start working after having zero work experience.


The young ones weren't able to do their own homework and they weren't able to because of language barrier. Where they know now on Saturday mornings with Affirmative to Learn they are able to get the support for their kids.


Another great change that we've seen that I'm very particularly proud of is a great improvement in the participants’ mental health. So, seeing a lot of the mothers become a lot more social, put themselves out there more. It's been really great to see.

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Read the case studies below to find out more about the project.