Cultura Connect: March 2023

A word from our CEO

Dear friends,


As we approach our first anniversary as a new organisation, I am delighted to take a moment to acknowledge the exceptional work of the Cultura team over the past year. As CEO of this non-profit organisation, I am extremely proud of our team’s accomplishments and their unwavering commitment to making a positive impact in our community.

I am pleased to share with you that Cultura has achieved significant progress across a range of programs, which is a testament to our team’s hard work and dedication. The merging of two organisations takes time, evidenced by the fact we are still awaiting certain registrations to be granted in Cultura’s name. We are, however, buoyed by our recent review of our Strategic Plan, showing we have achieved a great deal in our first year. Programs continue to grow in Settlement, Aged Care and our Commonwealth funded Residential Facility is at full occupancy. Our Supported Residential Facility has also welcomed a number of new residents in the past few months. Looking forward, we are excited about the upcoming official launch of Cultura Training; more information will be provided on this in next month’s edition.

As I reflect on last month’s Pako Festa and anticipate our upcoming first anniversary celebrations, I am optimistic about Cultura’s future. Thousands of happy locals lined up along Pakington Street on Saturday 25th February – it was truly a wonderful demonstration of our cultural diversity. We have already commenced working on a bigger and better Pako Festa for 2024, so watch this space!

As part of our birthday celebrations, we will be holding a special competition which will be revealed via social media on Saturday March 18. So please keep a look out for this as you won’t want to miss it.

Once again, I would like to express my gratitude to all who have contributed to Cultura’s success, and I look forward to continuing our work together to create positive change in our community.


Kind regards,

Joy Leggo OAM


Sadiq Ali Babaee arrived in Australia by boat in August 2010. Little did he know that this would mark the beginning of a long, winding journey that would take him through countless obstacles and trials, including a heart-wrenching lengthy separation from his beloved family. In December 2011, Mr. Babaee enlisted the help of a Cultura Migration Agent, Antoinette Siketa, to apply for a visa under the Special Humanitarian Program’s Split Family provision. This program was designed to help families who had been separated due to war, but unfortunately, Mr. Babaee’s application was affected by the ‘No Advantage’ policy, which meant that he would have to wait 10-15 years for it to be assessed and was soon declined.

Despite this setback, Mr. Babaee was determined to be reunited with his family, and he received a loan from a Geelong church group to help him apply for a partner visa. With the assistance of Diversitat Migration Agent Grazia Shrimpton, he was able to lodge and receive the visa in December 2013. However, this was not the end of Mr. Babaee’s struggles. Changes in immigration legislation meant that his family application was essentially ‘frozen’ until he gained citizenship. And because he arrived by boat, this process took twice as long as usual.

But Mr. Babaee never lost hope. He persevered, and in January 2021, after gaining citizenship, he resumed processing his family’s visa application. This time, Taniya Wader was his migration agent, and she fought tirelessly for two years to help reunite him with his loved ones. And finally, on March 1st, 2023, Mr. Babaee received the news he had been waiting for: his wife and children had been granted their permanent resident visas, and they would soon be joining him in Australia.

This journey was not an easy one, and there were many emotional moments along the way. But through it all, Mr. Babaee remained determined to be reunited with his family, and the commitment of his migration agents never wavered. In the end, he got what he deserved: the chance to be with his loved ones once again.


The team at the Barwon South West Public Health Unit (BSWPHU) were recently recognised with two awards at Barwon Health’s Barwon Best Care Awards for the work they have done in partnership with Cultura.

The BSWPHU received awards in two categories for this work Connected Care and the Special Board Award for the submission on “Continuing Support for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) Communities for Vaccination and Beyond”.

The pandemic magnified inequities, where disadvantaged, marginalized and vulnerable people were most at risk of illness including those in culturally and linguistic diverse (CALD) communities.

The same inequities were apparent when the COVID-19 vaccination program commenced which could have potentially left behind those most at risk and leave them exposed. The vaccination roll out required a deep understanding of people, place and diversity. The government CALD information was generic, in written format and often not suitable to those unable to read their own language.

The BSWPHU vaccination rollout was the first Barwon Health program to identify and target vulnerable groups within the CALD community with . This same method is now being used to ensure continued engagement with these communities on other future health areas such as thunderstorm asthma, long COVID, COVID antivirals, emergencies and buruli ulcer.

Cultura Community Development team produced the many videos and the team of bilingual staff who translated all of the messaging and recorded the voiceovers for the videos.  This was often time sensitive and urgent work and everyone put in such a great effort to ensure our communities received important information as soon as possible.


Exciting news from Cultura Training! As we continue to focus on delivering the best possible training and education to our students, we are pleased to announce the transfer of our students to Cultura Training is underway. We believe this move will offer our students even greater opportunities to enhance their learning and career prospects.

Our team is starting to work on the new Cultura Training website to ensure that it provides an even more user-friendly experience for our students and partners. We are committed to making it as easy as possible for everyone to access the information they need and to stay up to date on the latest news and events from our RTO.

Speaking of events, mark your calendars for early April, when we will be hosting a graduation ceremony and an Open Day. This will be a fantastic opportunity to meet with industry experts, trainers, and others who are passionate about education and training. Stay tuned for more details, follow Facebook for updates and we look forward to seeing you there!


Volunteering with Cultura is a great way to give back to your community and gain valuable skills and experience. As a volunteer, you will work with people of all ages and abilities to ensure that everyone has a positive and enjoyable experience.

To become a volunteer, you must be over 18 and have the motivation, initiative, and interpersonal skills to make a positive impact. After discussing your skills and passions with one of our volunteer coordinators, you will complete a Police check and WWCC and provide proof of a current Covid-19 vaccination certificate. You will also receive training covering occupational health and safety aspects and cultural awareness.

Cultura offers a wide variety of interesting and varied volunteer positions. Whether you’re interested in working with children, seniors, or people with disabilities, we have a position that will suit your interests and skills. We will work with you to find the perfect fit and ensure that you have a positive and rewarding experience as a volunteer.

Don’t wait! Join the Cultura Volunteer Program today and make a difference in your community while gaining valuable skills and experience. Contact us to learn more about our program and how you can get involved.

People & Culture

We are thrilled to introduce Allan Dunn, our new Human Resources Manager at Cultura People & Culture team. With a career in HR spanning two countries – New Zealand and Australia – Allan brings a wealth of experience to our team.

In New Zealand, Allan worked in public and private sector organisations as an HR Manager/Advisor, mainly in public hospitals and the building/construction industries on a contracted basis. In Australia, he worked in Community Health and Aboriginal service organisations in the Northern Territory, New South Wales, and Victoria.

Allan is not just a dedicated HR professional but also a passionate athlete. He enjoys participating in recreational activities, particularly athletics and disabled sports, where he has volunteered as an administrator. This year, Allan is working towards completing his national athletic official requirements and hopes to officiate at national athletic meets.

At Cultura, Allan’s goal is to support the frontline of our business, providing good advice, and supporting and guiding managers and supervisors around people management. With his good sense of humour and calm demeanour, Allan is sure to be an excellent addition to our team.

Please join us in welcoming Allan to Cultura People & Culture team!


Current Job Opportunities with Cultura


We have some exciting vacancies available at Cultura:

  • Second Cook – applications close: 22 March 2023
  • Accountant – applications close: 19 March 2023
  • Activity Worker – Ongoing
  • Wellbeing Worker – Ongoing
  • Personal Carer –  Ongoing
  • Trainer and Assessor – Diploma of Counselling –  applications close: 10 April 2023


For more information, please visit our ‘Careers’ page

Community Aged & Disability

Welcome to Club Wellness at the Healthy Living Centre! Our programs are designed to help improve physical and mental wellbeing and provide our clients with opportunities to connect with others who share their interests.

We are thrilled to introduce our new program, Friday Strength and Balance! This is a progressive physiotherapist-led strengthening program for adults over 65, designed to improve mobility, balance, quality of life, and reduce pain from osteoarthritic symptoms. Group-based sessions run every Friday from 10.30am to 12.00pm, and an initial and ongoing physiotherapist assessment is included with the program.

At Cultura Centre-based groups, we also offer Mind-Body-Moves, a gentle chair-based exercise program to increase strength and mental/physical wellbeing with group sessions running every Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday from 10.30am to 12.00pm. An initial physiotherapist assessment is also included with this program.

Our Wellness Programs are available for older community members eligible to receive support through the Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP). To join our programs, please contact My Aged Care for a referral at 1800 200 422. For more information about our programs, please contact the Healthy Living Centre at 5222 7275 or email us at [email protected].

We look forward to helping you achieve your wellness goals!

Club Wellness Flyer March 23

Adult Community & Further Education

At Cultura ACFE program we take our students’ mental health and wellbeing as our priority. Students from the ACFE Group B took part in an exciting cooking activity this month at the Cultura Hub kitchen. The mouth-watering dishes they cooked, chicken biryani and vegetable salad, were a hit with the staff and clients alike.

Before the cooking session, the students spent time in the classroom discussing ways to help themselves relax both physically and mentally. They agreed on a stress-free cooking activity centered around healthy food. To ensure they achieved their goal, they put their health and safety knowledge into practice while also exercising their English communication and employability skills.

The result was an enjoyable and educational experience for everyone involved. By engaging in this activity, the students learned practical ways to take care of their mental health and wellbeing while developing valuable life skills. It was a resounding success and a testament to the power of hands-on learning.

Pulse - Community Radio

Looking to break into the exciting world of radio broadcasting? Look no further than 94.7 The Pulse’s Intro to Radio Broadcasting course! March 20th is JUST around the corner and spots are limited so don’t miss out!

Our comprehensive course covers everything you need to know about radio broadcasting, from scripting and editing to on-air presentation and more. With experienced industry professionals as your instructors, you’ll get hands-on experience and insider knowledge to help you get started in your broadcasting career.

The opportunities are endless:

  • Host your own program
  • Present a special segment
  • Join someone’s program
  • Get involved in outside broadcasts
  • Become a voiceover artist
  • Become a producer

Don’t wait – enroll now and take the first step towards your dream career in radio broadcasting. Visit our website at…/intro-to-radio-broadcasting/ to learn more and sign up for our upcoming course. We can’t wait to see you there!

Residential Aged Care

Residential life has been brimming with joy and excitement this month, starting with a celebration of love on Valentine’s Day. We took the time to cherish our loved ones, reflecting on the beauty of friendship and savouring delectable raspberry ice-cream floats. But the fun didn’t stop there – we embarked on a thrilling bus ride to the local surf coast highway strawberry farm, indulging in freshly-picked berries and scrumptious homemade ice-cream.

Our musical senses were also stimulated this month as we enjoyed the delightful performances of Ben Costanzo and Melbourne recital, Arcadia Wind. The sweet melodies filled the air, leaving us mesmerized and eager for more. The kitchen was buzzing with activity as we whipped up some delectable pancakes for Shrove Tuesday, generously slathering them with butter and jam for a delicious treat.

As the weather grew milder, we took advantage of the opportunity to stretch our legs and enjoy some exercise in the piazza with Dani. And who could forget the spectacular Pako Festa? We had a blast as six of our residents and a family member joined in the cultural residential entry. Though they had seen the parade before, this was the first time they had participated in it, and it was truly a sight to behold. The vibrant colors, lively music, and exuberant atmosphere of the festival left us with memories that we will cherish for a long time.

Upcoming Events

Pako Festa returned to Geelong last month after a two-year hiatus due to Covid. The festival is a vibrant celebration of diversity and community, with colourful costumes, lively music, energetic dance performances, and delicious food representing the rich cultural heritage of the region and beyond. This is a unique festival that provides an opportunity to experience the diversity of various cultures in one place, with participants showcasing their unique traditions and customs. Whether you are a first-time visitor or a long-term resident of Geelong, Pako Festa is an unforgettable celebration of community and diversity. With something for everyone, it’s no wonder this festival has become a beloved staple of the region’s cultural calendar. One of the best things about Pako Festa is that people from all backgrounds and ages come together to enjoy the festivities.

We would like to take this opportunity to congratulate our 2023 Pako Festa Parade winners:

  • Most Culturally Aware – Chinese Association of Geelong
  • Most Innovative use of theme ‘Sharing and Connecting Cultures’ – Wathaurong Co-op
  • Best Musical Entry – Indonesian Association of Geelong
  • Best School Entry – Greek School Hellenic of Geelong

Joy Leggo OAM, Cultura CEO says: ‘This year’s event reminded us of the beauty of our differences and the power of unity. We’ve already started planning for next year’s event. Hope you will all join us in what will be an even bigger and better Pako Festa.’

Tomato and Chilli Competition!

Attention all tomato and chilli growers! It’s time to put your gardening skills to the test and show off your best produce in our Chilli and Tomato competition. Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or just starting out, we invite you to participate in our exciting event.

We have seven different categories that you can enter your tomatoes and chillies in, so there’s plenty of opportunities to showcase your produce. Here are the categories:


  • Biggest Tomato – Do you have a tomato that’s impressively large? We want to see it!
  • Tastiest Tomato – We all know that size isn’t everything. If your tomato is bursting with flavor, enter it in this category.
  • Longest Chilli – How long can your chilli grow? Show us your impressive chilli length.
  • Hottest Chilli – For those who like it spicy, we want to know which chilli will make us break a sweat.
  • Sweetest Chilli – Think your chilli has a sweet side? Enter it in this category.
  • Most Unique Tomato – Do you have a tomato that’s a little out of the ordinary? We want to see it!
  • Most Unique Chilli – Is your chilli a rare breed? Or does it have an interesting shape or color? Enter it in this category.


To participate, simply register your entries on our website before the deadline. Entries will be judged by a panel of experts in the gardening and culinary industries, and winners will be announced at our awards ceremony.

Not only will you have the chance to win prizes, but you’ll also get to meet fellow tomato and chilli enthusiasts and share your passion for gardening. So don’t wait any longer – register your entries today and join us in celebrating the best of the best in the world of tomatoes and chillies.

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We are Cultura.

Cultura emerged as the vibrant new organisation from the merger of Diversitat and Multicultural Aged Care Services (MACS) in 2022. 

ABN: 71 355 229 834

Multicultural Community Services Geelong Inc. trading as Cultura

Cultura acknowledges Aboriginal traditional owners of country throughout Victoria and pays respect to their cultures and elders past, present and emerging.

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