From June 18th to June 24th, we will be celebrating Refugee Week, an annual event dedicated to honouring the journeys, resilience, and contributions of refugees to our society.
This year, Refugee Week carries a poignant theme, one that resonates deeply with the struggles and aspirations of individuals seeking safety and solace: “Finding Freedom.” It serves as a powerful reminder of the difficult journeys refugees undertake in pursuit of freedom, safety, and the chance to rebuild their lives in a new home. It also highlights the importance of fostering an inclusive and compassionate community that welcomes and supports refugees.
As I reflect on the importance of acknowledging Refugee week, I am reminded that each of our refugees has a unique story of their journey, be it adult or child their heritage belongs somewhere else. The very essence of their being, their culture, their language and their traditions, our lives are enriched by their presence.
As the CEO of Cultura, I believe it’s important to talk about this topic not just within our organisation, but also in the wider Geelong community. Geelong has always been a city that embraces diversity and understands that our differences make us strong. By recognising the experiences of refugees and creating platforms to share their inspiring stories, we can create an environment of empathy, inclusion, and unity.
Refugee Week offers us an opportunity to showcase the triumphs and contributions of refugee communities, highlighting their talents, skills, and culture that enriches our community.
Let us celebrate Refugee Week with compassion, understanding, and a renewed commitment to building a more inclusive and welcoming community.
Joy Leggo OAM
When our CSP clients are exiting the program, often their settlement journeys are not finished. Recently our CSP team visited their early clients, and the incredible progress they witnessed filled them with pride and joy.
One of our Cultura’s early clients, who the team went to visit in Melbourne was Dr. Karam Waleed Saeed and his wife Mrs. Abeer Aboudi. This determined couple, a dentist and pharmacist, fulfilled the CSP requirements and arrived in Australia with their three daughters in 2021. Driven to support their family, Karam worked as a cashier while they studied for the Equivalency exams.
A breakthrough came when Mrs. Abeer Aboudi passed her exam, securing a position at a Melbourne CBD pharmacy. Karam, still on his path, remained resolute, stating that anything is possible with determination.
This family’s journey captured the hearts of the CSP team, forming unbreakable bonds. Witnessing their transformation, the team celebrated their unwavering support and the couple’s incredible evolution.
As Dr. Karam and his wife continued their pursuit of professional success, the CSP team stood by their side, ready to cheer them on. Their story serves as a testament to the power of determination, community support, and the ability to turn any dreams into reality.
Our CD team recently organised an amazing getaway at Camp Wilkin in Anglesea, bringing the Karen/Kareni families together for an unforgettable experience. From Friday to Sunday, we immersed ourselves in a range of thrilling activities like rock climbing, canoeing, hiking, archery, games, and family movie nights with popcorn and ice cream. It was the perfect opportunity to relax, bond, and create lasting memories.
The camp struck a perfect balance between exciting new experiences and quality family time. Outdoor challenges like rock climbing fostered a sense of achievement and mindfulness, while games, shared meals, and exploring the area allowed us to unwind and connect. It was a rare chance for busy parents to spend quality time with their loved ones.
Here is what some of our happy campers had to say:
“The camp provided the opportunity to deepen my connection with family and friends, and brought us together to have a fun and relaxing time”.
“The camp allowed my family to explore new places and to experience the beauty of nature. Everyone had so much fun”.
“I would like to thank Cultura staff members who organised this opportunity for our community and families. My husband and I are often busy working, this camp allowed us to spend quality time as a family. Something we rarely get to do”.
We want to extend a special thank you to Meli for funding this project.
Withhout the support of incredible organisations operating in our Geelong region, we wouldn’t be able to create such amazing opportunities for our communities.
As we say goodbye to Camp Wilkin, we begin to look forward to more fun events in the future. We cannot wait for more adventures, laughter, and cherished memories.
Cultura Training team was very busy behind the scenes, working tirelessly to bring you an array of exciting courses. We are delighted to announce that enrolments are now open for the following courses:
The best part? These courses are free for eligible individuals. We believe in providing equal access to quality education and empowering individuals from diverse backgrounds to pursue their educational aspirations without financial barriers. Don’t miss this incredible opportunity to enhance your professional opportunities and make a positive impact in your community. Visit training.cultura.org.au to find out more!
Last month, Cultura celebrated National Volunteer Week, a special occasion to recognise and honor the invaluable contribution of volunteers. Volunteers play an extremely important role at Cultura, generously dedicating their time to support various programs and initiatives. Among these remarkable individuals is Mayreni, an exceptional volunteer who assists our clients in learning new skills.
Mayreni possesses a deep understanding of the challenges faced by many of our clients, as she was once a refugee herself. Through her dedicated work as a volunteer at Cultura, Mayreni creates a safe and welcoming environment, empowering others to unlock their full potential. Her passion and empathy shine through as she selflessly devotes herself to helping others.
Currently, Mayreni actively contributes to our Room to Grow program, where she shares her creativity and expertise by teaching participants how to use machines and hand saw garments. Her guidance and encouragement provide participants with the necessary tools to develop their skills and explore their creativity.
Mayreni believes that volunteering fills her life with the new meaning and teaches her something new every day.
Thank you to all incredible Cultura volunteers, we are so privileged to be touched by your kindness and love for the community.
Current Job Opportunities with Cultura
We have some exciting vacancies available at Cultura:
For more information, please visit our ‘Careers’ page https://www.cultura.org.au/careers
This May, the Healthy Living Centre welcomed three Year 10 work experience students from Sacred Heart College. It was lovely to have the students spending their days with our clients, a lot of learning, sharing and laughter was enjoyed by all. At the end of their five day visit we asked the students to reflect on their time at the Healthy Living Centre.
“This week May 1st – May 5th I was lucky enough to have the opportunity working at Cultura. This week I learnt a lot of new things, such as:
The happiness of each and every client.
How happy a conversation can make someone.
You learn something new every day.
These weren’t the only things I learnt whilst being at Cultura. I also did a lot of fun things with the clients like bingo, chair yoga, arts and crafts etc. Whilst being at Cultura I also learnt some Italian words and even realised I had a connection to Francesca (one of the clients)! Overall I have had a great time at Cultura, not only were the clients so fun to hang out with but the staff made me feel so welcome and I am very keen to come back and visit. Best week! Thanks you to everyone who made this experience 10/10.” Livi
“Working with the clients and the staff here has given me a great insight into what it’s like to age and all the good and the bad that’s happened. I have really enjoyed being over here the last week and listening to all the stories from the clients about their life and their families. I would recommend volunteering here to anyone as I have learnt so much.” Izzy
Thank you Livi, Layla and Izzy we hope the time you spent at the Healthy Living Centre has given you some food for thought for your future endeavors.
The students of the Adult and Community Further Education (ACFE) program embarked on an exciting journey to Glenairlie Farm, immersing themselves in a range of activities that not only connected them with nature but also fostered their English language skills. This memorable trip encompassed tree plantation, wood fire burning, BBQ of delicious kebabs, and learning about the outback, creating a unique environment for English learning and conversation.
At Glenairlie Farm, the students actively participated in a tree planting initiative.. Engaging in hands-on work provided valuable lessons in environmental conservation and sustainability, while also encouraging English language practice. Through conversations with instructors and fellow students, they shared their thoughts, ideas, and knowledge in English, enhancing language proficiency in a practical and immersive manner.
The students also had the opportunity to gather around a wood fire, where they learned traditional techniques of fire burning. This experience not only exposed them to the outback lifestyle but also sparked conversations about the significance of fire in Australian culture. As they engaged in discussions and exchanged stories, their English skills flourished, and students gained a deeper understanding of the local customs and traditions.
BBQ session featuring mouth-watering kebabs was organised, allowing the students to enjoy a delicious meal in the picturesque surroundings of Glenairlie Farm. Conversations flowed naturally, and the shared experience of enjoying food further facilitated English language practice and cultural exchange.
The trip to Glenairlie Farm exemplified the ACFE program’s commitment to holistic education, where students not only learn English but also immerse themselves in real-life experiences that broaden their horizons. By combining outdoor activities, cultural exploration, and language practice, the students gained a deeper appreciation for the environment, developed their language skills, and forged lasting connections with their peers.
The students returned with a renewed enthusiasm for both English language acquisition and the preservation of nature. The ACFE program continues to inspire and empower learners, fostering their growth as confident communicators and responsible citizens, ready to embrace the challenges of the interconnected world.
On May 11th, 94.7 The Pulse took their broadcast to Geelong West Neighbourhood House for a special event. We hosted a live fundraiser for cancer research, known as the Biggest Morning Tea. The renovated house hosted cancer survivors, who were joined by local MP Christine Cousins, Geelong City Councillor Peter Murrihy, and Jodie Flood from Neighbourhood Houses Barwon.
The speakers emphasised the importance of community houses in organising such fundraisers, highlighting their role in fostering connections and driving positive change. Keith and Tim, the hosts of the show “Local Legends,” led the event which was live streamed on 94.7 The Pulse. You can listen to their show every Thursday from 9 to 11 am.
The day turned out to be a great success, raising over $750 for cancer research and coinciding with Community House Week. It showcased the dedication of Geelong West Neighbourhood House in making a meaningful impact on their community.
In the midst of the renovated halls, compassion and determination echoed, reminding everyone that unity can achieve remarkable results.
As winter gracefully unfolds, nature’s paintbrush works its magic in our garden. The once vibrant green leaves of our trees in the garden now turned red, orange, and yellow, creating a stunning landscape enjoyed by our residents.
At Cultura Residential, we believe there is no better winter food than traditional Polish potato salad. It blends together a delicious range of ingredients, including crisp apples, sweet peas, dill pickles, sweet carrots, onions, and, of course, the star of the show—potatoes. What a way to reminisce about fine traditional dishes for our residents.
Last month we enjoyed some memorable outings that filled our hearts with joy and sense of adventure. One such adventure led us to our all-time favourites – Wah Wah Gee, located at the historic Cunningham Pier, a highlight of history, friendships and of course cake!
We also celebrated some very special people – our Cultura volunteers who are an inexhaustible source of inspiration to us all. Residents came together for a joyous happy hour dance, serenaded by the soulful melodies of Terry Feilding. Dressed in their finest clothes, our residents tapped their toes and waltzed the afternoon away.
We look forward to a special bus trip to the Geelong Art Gallery, to see the Clarice Beckett—Atmosphere exhibition. And we look forward to our men’s group bus trip this month and many upcoming cultural celebrations at Cultura Residential.
Please join us for a morning tea!
Where: Cultura Northern Community Hub
When: June 23, 9:30 am – 12:00 pm
See you there!
Cultura emerged as the vibrant new organisation from the merger of Diversitat and Multicultural Aged Care Services (MACS) in 2022.