WCC Annual Report - Page 19

Settlement Programs Report COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT The Harmony The 30th issue of The Harmony has just been published. Edited by a dedicated team, the Arabic language newsletter continues to provide information to Arabic speaking communities who remain the largest and most diverse of newly-arrived communities in the City of Whittlesea. The Harmony assists community members to remain informed about their local community, events, businesses and services contributing to the sense of connection, belonging and social inclusion, and building bridges between nationalities and ethnicities. Copies of The Harmony are available from key community facilities and reach an increasing number of readers. Whittlesea Career Pathways Employment Working Group WCC continues to convene the Whittlesea Career Pathways Employment Working Group, consisting of representatives from a wide range of local services. In 2011 the network organized a ‘What Employers Want’ breakfast which aimed to generate a greater understanding about what employers want and what newly arrived jobseekers have to offer. The breakfast was attended by over 80 job seekers and feedback received from employers and job seekers was very positive. In 2012 the Working Group also organised the ‘Journeys to Employment’ forum which allowed speakers from migrant and refugee backgrounds to present their stories of job success with other newly arrived job seekers. This forum will form the basis of a soon to be published booklet with practical strategies about how to get into work. Whittlesea Multicultural Issues Network This network has continued to thrive in the past year, helping to co-ordinate services for those from migrant and refugee backgrounds in the municipality. The network participated in the Refugee Council of Australia consultation in relation to Australia’s Refugee and Humanitarian Program, ensured information about the major changes to community detention and on shore protection processes were circulated, and had a focus on health & mental health and education issues. REFUGEE WEEK st On the 21 June, 2011 Whittlesea Community Connections presented the Whittlesea Refugee Week Awards in partnership with the City of Whittlesea, with the theme of “Restoring Hope”. Sponsored by the VMC, MFB and CFA , the City of Whittlesea, and supported by an organising committee, the awards acknowledged the contribution and leadership of people from a refugee background to the local community. The achievements of all nominees since their arrival in Australia were outstanding and they all shared great passion to give back to the community. The winner of the 2012 Whittlesea Refugee Week Awards, Miriam Ina Bah founded the Migrant African Women’s Association (MAWA) and works to empower young people and African women. The recipient of the Encouragement Award was Loar Loar who plans to become a social worker or a paramedic when he leaves secondary school so that he can give back to the community. Loar can be seen regularly at WCC’s homework club where he demonstrates great leadership and character. As part of a student placement arrangement, a Liberian community leader was recruited to help organize the event and make connections to the refugee community. A DVD was produced to provide a snapshot of the lives of recipients and available for distribution via WCC. Whittlesea Community Connections 18