The Minister's Visit

The Minister for Multiculturalism and Disability Services, Hon. Ray Williams MP visited the Community Migrant Resource Centre today to witness the various services provided by the organisation and to meet with the centre’s staff, stakeholders and various partners.

Addressing the crowd, the minister said “I look around me today and I am heartened to see all these service providers, you are the people that make us a cohesive society, you are the reason that makes our multicultural society a work in progress, the reason why people feel welcome in this country, the reason they embrace the English language whilst also not forgetting their own background and culture and the reason they are provided the opportunity to receive gainful employment.”

 The Hon. Ray Williams addresses the audience

The Hon. Ray Williams addresses the audience

The minister acknowledged and spoke of the tireless work of the CMRC, especially in providing early intervention support to migrant and refugee families. “I acknowledge the efforts of the CMRC, especially their early intervention program, in dealing with families and their children, specifically children with disabilities. The ramifications of not providing support for these families are huge, it means that children are often handed over to the state government, we don’t want that, we want children to remain in their homes and be part of strong families.”

Melissa Monteiro, CEO CMRC said “we have been working tirelessly to provide settlement support to many diverse migrant and refugee communities to build their capacity in order for them to become self reliant. We aim to equip our communities so they can contribute positively to society in all facets, culturally, economically, environmentally and politically.”

 CMRC CEO Melissa Monteiro talks about the critical role CMRC players in empowering communities

CMRC CEO Melissa Monteiro talks about the critical role CMRC players in empowering communities

Key CMRC stakeholders also spoke of the importance of CALD service providers like CMRC. Anne Flint, Principal of Holroyd School said “We are the largest special needs school in NSW with 188 students, who have a wide spectrum of disabilities. We have 35 different cultural groups, many of whom are migrants and refugees. 

They feel the dual edge of social isolation and having a child with a disability often without family support networks. We spend a significant part of our role in connecting our families with services and trying to put them on a path of empowerment to build their capacity, which takes away from our core business of education, creating extra strain on our staff.

 Holroyd School Principal Anne Flint talks about the value CMRC has added to her school and its families

Holroyd School Principal Anne Flint talks about the value CMRC has added to her school and its families

My long term vision with working with Margarita (Early Intervention and Perinatal Support, Manager CMRC) and Anisha is to have them come and live at our school, they’ve done so much for us and developed a great rapport, trust and connections with our families and school. They’ve educated our families on how to negotiate the NDIS, positive parenting practices and services they have rights to. We are extremely blessed to have them, it allows us to do our role which is education.”

Health and Wellness Expo

People from CALD backgrounds across Western Sydney will gather at Auburn Centre for Community this Thursday 15th February for the Health and Wellness Expo. 

Attendees will receive free health check ups on the day from health care professionals, learn about preventative measures they can take to safeguard their health and about health care services available to them. 

 Dalya Karezi speaks with a young person during a community forum in Guildford

Dalya Karezi speaks with a young person during a community forum in Guildford

Dalya Karezi, Tobacco Health Officer for Community Migrant Resource Centre (CMRC) works specifically with Middle Eastern communities to educate them about the dangers of all forms of smoking. She spoke about the intent behind the forum, "The aim is to motivate the community and make them proactive about their health. We want to let them know that health is primary for them and to not only think about health in terms of pathological diseases, but in a more holistic sense."

Dalya has been working closely with Arabic speaking populations and healthcare professionals in the Cumberland local government area over the past several months to develop a Tobacco Control Program. "The program cuts across four levels of engagement, training GPs and specialists, building a model for youth, training frontline staff and finally community engagement." 

 Dalya speaks to community members about Tobaco cessation at a community forum about NDIS in Holroyd

Dalya speaks to community members about Tobaco cessation at a community forum about NDIS in Holroyd

"On all levels the aim is to enable individuals to make healthier choices and facilitate others around them to do the same." Dalya will be at the Expo to answer questions about what practical steps people can take towards smoking cessation and also provide carbon monoxide testing for individuals. 

For more details about the expo visit the following link

Pongal for All

The month of January saw Sydney's Tamil community celebrate Pongal at Parramatta Centenary Square. An annual Tamil celebration dedicated to the Hindu Sun God, Thai Pongal is a festival that traditionally celebrates the new year's harvest. Symbolically, the Tamil diaspora use the occasion to commemorate and reflect on their previous years successes and milestones through song, dance, music, an awards ceremony and of course, food. 

The celebrations were attended by politicians, community organisations, community leaders, and the general public. With decorative activities, prayer and performances, the celebration of Thai Pongal was one of togtherness, community and most of all multiculturalism.  
 

Thank you to the following organisations for making this event possible 

Settlement Services International

Marist 180

Centre Jesuit Refugee Service - JRS

Anbaalayam Australia Tamil Women's Development Group

Tamil Arts and Culture Association Inc. (TACA)

Kamban Kazhagam



THROUGH THE LENS: PONGAL 2018