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 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.”
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.
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.”