Integreat Queensland: Newsletter June 2022

Welcome to the June edition of the Integreat Queensland newsletter.

As we create this newsletter for you, I have spent time reflecting on the importance of connection.  As someone that emigrated to Australia (twice actually), and has moved many times from state to state, and traveled from town to town, I have experienced loneliness, and isolation, and recognized that my lack of connectedness is not good for me. 

When I am feeling connected to people here in Australia: family, friends, and the community, I feel happy, secure, and supported and it helps me feel a sense of purpose.  Connection to culture is also very important for many migrants and refugees, without it they feel they have lost their identity.

Our Flourish Festivals are about creating the opportunity for people to celebrate who they are, connect with others, and with the beautiful country we all call home.   Remember Integreat Queensland is there to help you, and others make connections, personal connections, workplace connections, and cultural connections.  If you would like to connect to our community in many different ways, please do not hesitate to contact Integreat Queensland today.

Thanks.

Julie Pettett

General Manager

Integreat Queensland


Flourish in Biloela

Integreat Queensland are celebrating cultural diversity in Biloela weekend with the staging of the Flourish Festival.

The Flourish Festival celebrates Biloela’s diverse multicultural communities through art, food, fashion, and dance. Integreat Queensland general manager Julie Pettett said the event will really be something special this year.

“The Flourish Festival celebrates community and culture through the arts,” Julie said.

“We have a diverse and creative program that has something for everyone with large-scale community art projects, cultural fashion parades, dances and performances, art exhibitions and workshops, multicultural food, live music, photography competitions and more.

Established in 2019, the Flourish Festival has been partnering with local individuals and groups in Gladstone and Biloela to create a festival designed by and for local communities. It provides a chance to embrace all cultures, share stories and experiences, and build connections with local people.

“The Flourish Festival is all about showcasing our pride in our multicultural community – who we are, where we’ve come from, and what we now share together. We believe art and culture are at the heart of diverse communities, and are powerful tools for creating social connections, boosting economic growth, and shaping a strong, healthy region.”

This year’s Flourish Festival will also welcome home Tamil asylum-seekers Priya and Nades Murugappan, and their daughters Kopika and Tharnicaa, who have spent the past four years in and out of detention. The Murugappan family are thanking the community for their support over the past four years which in part, is due to the success of the Home to Bilo campaign by the Biloela community.

“To have a platform like Flourish to welcome the Murugappan family “home to Bilo” is just incredible, the timing is perfect,” Julie said.

The Flourish Festival will take place this Saturday 11th June at the Biloela Civic Centre.

The Flourish Festival in Biloela is on this weekend June 11 starting at 3pm at the Biloela Civic Centre.


Biloela prepares to party as Murugappan family returns home

The Flourish Festival is currently making headline locally, around Australia, and around the world due to the Murugappan family finally coming home to Biloela after four years of being in and out of detention.

Integreat Queensland’s general manager Julie Pettett has been fielding questions from the media all week with a large contingent expected at the Flourish Festival this weekend due to the official welcome home for Tamil asylum-seekers Priya and Nades Murugappan, and their daughters Kopika and Tharnicaa.

One such media company, the Guardian Australia has been following the family closely over the past four year and last week they spoke with Julie who wanted to emphasize the Flourish Festival is, of course, more important than a welcome home party as the ordeal of the Murugappan family has affected the Biloela multicultural community, too.

“I really believe it’s going to give people a reason to begin that process of starting to feel more confident and safer,” Julie said.

“But we do not want this festival to be seen just as the party to celebrate the fact they’re home, because actually the Flourish Festival is far bigger than that. The community needs the opportunity to understand what the benefit is of having a diverse and strong and resilient migrant community.”

To read the full Guardian Australia article, connect here: https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2022/jun/04/biloela-prepares-to-party-as-murugappan-family-returns-home

Priya and Nades Murugappan, and their daughters Kopika and Tharnicaa.

How culturally diverse is Central Queensland?

Integreat Queensland’s Flourish Festivals celebrates community, culture, and the diversity of our community – but just how diverse is Central Queensland?

That’s a question Integreat Queensland’s learning facilitator Jaclyn Thompson was recently asked – “Compared to somewhere like Brisbane or Melbourne, we aren’t that diverse.”

“I heard this comment recently on a trip to Emerald, Queensland,” Jaclyn said,

“My rebuttal was that actually, you just haven’t noticed the diversity in Emerald.”

When you compare the 2016 census data for Emerald and Brisbane, the population of Emerald sits at 74.4% Australian born, versus 67.8% Australian born in Brisbane. When we look at Gladstone, where the Integreat Queensland main office is located, the number of Australian born is slightly higher at 77.5%.

Jaclyn said the figures and statistics, it doesn’t account for the cultural backgrounds or cultural connections of the population.

“Even if you were born in Australia, your parents or grandparents may have migrated from a different country,” Jaclyn said.

“Or like me, even though I was born in Australia, I spent many years living in Japan, so I feel a strong connection to Japan and Japanese culture. When we look closely, we find that our communities are rich with cultural diversity.”

Jaclyn admits it’s easy to fall into the trap of assuming that something doesn’t exist when we haven’t connected with it in our day-to-day life.

“We need to start asking questions such as – why don’t we see this diversity? Are people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds isolated within our community? How can we connect with and include people from all backgrounds in our community?

“This is why events such as the Flourish Festival are so important. It is an opportunity to celebrate the diversity of our community and to meet people that you wouldn’t usually have the opportunity to connect with.”

As the Integreat Queensland image above shows, cultural diversity is alive and well in Central Queensland.

Princess finds her confidence through the Get Work Ready program

Some of the reasons for the barriers faced by migrant women to find work and their chosen careers in Australia include confidence in the ability to apply and interview for a job due to English being their second language and understanding the Australian work context in terms of HR, work practices, and forms of communication.

Integreat Queensland’s Get Work Ready program initiative helps local people not only understand the Australian workplace and their rights and responsibilities, but also helps develop skills, gain qualifications, and provide direct assistance to enter and stay in the workforce.

Princess Aira Razon completed her bachelor’s degree in IT in the Philippines and worked as an Admin Assistant at a hotel for one year before moving to Australia with her family.

“When I arrived in Australia, I wanted to find a job and utilise my skills to be able to give back to my parents,” Princess told Integreat Queensland.

After arriving in Australia, Princess worked as a retail assistant and a mobile phone technician however, she really wanted to find another job but believed she didn’t have the qualifications needed to start a new career.

“My brother told me Integreat Queensland had a program for migrant women that could help me change my career by matching my interests and skills and assist me by boosting my confidence in communicating with others.”

Funded by the Australian Government Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet Women’s Leadership and Development Program with the objective to improve outcomes for Australian women, Princess said the Get Work Ready program was the first step in finding a new career and going back to what she really loved doing.

“During the program I learned a lot from writing a resume to interviewing skills and tips, my rights as an employee, and other employment-related topics, including the modern awards system. Most importantly however, I got to experience a proper job interview in a group and just by myself.”

Once the initial training program ended, Princess entered into a 12-week work placement matching her skills and desired career with Natalie Petersen from Evolve HR Solutions, a human resource coaching and services business that empowers growth and development while fostering the health and wellbeing of staff for a committed, productive workforce.

“When I started my first day with Natalie, she really welcomed me and it felt like we had known each other for a long time,” Princess said.

“I’ve attended a couple business expos and she has taught me about different online platforms, administration duties, and how small businesses connect with each other and help the community. Working with Natalie has not only taught me new skills but more importantly, allowed me to gain my confidence again.

If you would like to join the next Get Work Ready program in Gladstone or Rockhampton call Integreat Queensland on 4903 1931 or email admin@integreatqld.org.au

Princess with Natalie Petersen from Evolve HR Solutions at the Gladstone Business Expo.

You’re invited to AKONI

Integreat Queensland and Home to Bilo are excited to invite you to our ‘AKONI’ Refugee Week Premiere Event at Gladstone Cinemas on Wednesday 15 June from 6pm (Film will commence at 6.30pm).

AKONI is the story of a homeless refugee (Kit Esuruoso) struggling to integrate into Australian society after escaping conflict in his homeland. While living on the streets and on the receiving end of racist taunts, a young woman (Genna Chanelle Hayes) comes to his aid. Struggling with her own feelings of grief and loneliness, she soon finds solace in her unlikely new companion as he opens her up to a world beyond modelling, parties, and social media.

Following the screening of this powerful independent drama join writer/director/producer/star Genna Chanelle Hayes, star Kit Esuruoso, and Human Rights lawyer Alisson Battisson for a Meet The Filmmaker Q&A with host Angela Fredericks from the Home to Bilo Campaign. 

  • $30 Per Ticket.
  • Includes Beer, Wine, Soft drink, or Water.

Purchase your gala tickets TODAY via the following box office link below: https://gladstonecinemas.com.au/now-showing/akoni/

Official Trailer:  AKONI | Official Trailer | 2022 [HD] – YouTube

Featurette:   Akoni – Making Of (Featurette) ~ A One Love Original – YouTube

Kit Esuruoso playing the main character AKONI

Gladstone’s Flourish Festival a great success

The first of Integreat Queensland’s Flourish Festivals kicked off in Gladstone on May 28.

Held at Integreat Queensland’s Gladstone office at 1 Manning St, the Flourish Festival included live music, dancing, a variety of art exhibitions and activities, a fashion parade, photo competition, cooking demonstrations and of course, a wide variety of food from around the world.

The Flourish Festival also saw the launch of Ignite Community Art, a multicultural mobile art installation that has grown to include art by over 120 local artists from 20 countries.

Integreat Queensland general manager Julie Pettett said the event was a huge success with over 600 people attending.

“The feedback from the local community was incredibly positive and overwhelming, with many people saying they are already looking forward to more food and art in particular next year.

“In response to community demand, we’re now looking to build on the success of our current Flourish Festival by expanding our reach across Central Queensland.

“In 2023 and beyond, we are planning a reimagined festival that would run from May to July and visit the Central Highlands, Gladstone Region, and Banana Shire. Region-specific activities, pop-up events and ongoing initiatives such as competitions would be on offer throughout the duration of the festival, opening up different opportunities for people to get involved across the region.”

Integreat Queensland was formed to help migrants from all over the world integrate into the local community and the Flourish Festival was envisioned as a way for people to showcase and experience the rich variety of cultures now present in our region.

Julie said the Flourish Festival was also an opportunity for members of the local community to learn firsthand about some of the programs offered by Integreat Queensland.

“The programs include our multicultural playgroup that allows parents and children to meet new people and make new friends, programs that help women who are experiencing domestic and family violence, and a range of courses to help migrants acquire new skills and successfully transition into the workforce.

Integreat Queensland also took the opportunity to talk with the community about a new up and coming program that will help people moving into the community to acquire the skills necessary to start their own small businesses.


Ignite Community Art Project Launch

Integreat Queensland launched the Ignite Community Art – A multicultural mobile art installation – project at the Flourish Festival on Saturday, May 28. We are so proud of this project with art contributions from more than 150 community artists from Gladstone, Rockhampton, Biloela, Agnes Water, Yeppoon, and Emerald.

The community created separate artworks which as you can see have now become a multi-cultural mobile art installation that will travel throughout Central Queensland and be made available for other festivals, events, and local exhibitions. Next event – Flourish Festival in Biloela on June 11.

Elmira Esfahani was the designer and architect of this project so let’s hear from her as to what inspired this creative and fantastic artwork.

“The inspiration for this sculpture was nature,” Elmira said.

“I compare a community to nature. In my view, both community and nature are collectives defined by the elements that make them up and their relationship. The community’s character primarily comes with the layering of stories, values, diversity, and the relationships between people. Based on that, the idea was to show unity in diversity.”

Elmira said she designed the project in the form of a unique Architectural installation made up of small pieces/parts.

“This art has three levels,” she said.

“The first level is the statue or the overall sculpture, inspired by nature, shoreline, and sea on one side and the desert on the other. The central shape is a symbol the mountains. As you zoom in, the second level is five primary art formats: resin, paint, sculpture (recycling material), glass, and ink paints on teabag. The third level is each individual artwork done by community members—the stories behind them.”

The Ignite Community Art project will be on display at the Flourish Festival in Biloela this weekend at the Biloela Civic Centre 96 Rainbow St.

This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Office for the Arts Festivals Australia Program.

The Ignite Community Art project was launched on May 28 at the Flourish Festival in Gladstone.


Domestic and Family Violence Awareness in Central Queensland

Over the month of May, various events were organised around Central Queensland pushing the ‘Purple’ message during Domestic and Family Violence Awareness Month of May.

Domestic and Family Violence Awareness Month is about raising community awareness of domestic and family violence in our communities with the colour purple used to symbolize the important month.

Gladstone CCRDFV (Coordinated Community Response to Domestic and Family Violence), held a number of events with one event being held on May 31 at Spinnaker Park Cafe to recognise that it’s not only the family that are affected by domestic violence, but pets as well.

It is common for an abuser to threaten a pet in order to manipulate and exert control over their victim. As a result, many victims of domestic violence are concerned about leaving their pets behind and may delay leaving. In an abusive situation, the difference of one day can be the difference between life or death

Sergeant Vicki Dredge spoke about the importance of helping survivors leave with their fur babies and how people stay in dangerous situations because they lack support to help them with their pets.

In Rockhampton, the Capricorn Coast Domestic and Family Violence Steering Committee painted the Rockhampton Parkrun purple that culminated with volunteers and a BBQ on Saturday, May 28.

Integreat Queensland are proud to support these great organisations through our Safer Pathways Program, which is funded by the Australian Government, Dept of Social Services. 

Integreat Queensland held an information session for members of our training program during May explaining what DFV is, the types of DFV they will come across in their careers and what they should do about it.  The aim of Safer Pathways for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) Women program helps CALD women in regional areas who are experiencing, or are at risk of experiencing, DFV access the support they need.

Coordinated Community Response to Domestic and Family Violence Spinnaker Park event in May

Becoming a professional speaker

Congratulations to Esther, Alena and Rikki who recently passed the exam of Integreat Queensland’s first ever Professional Speaking Course.

They worked hard over 10 weeks to prepare for their exam, which required them to give a presentation and a social speech, read aloud, ask questions, and participate in a role play.

Rikki said the course was really helpful and he learned a lot.

“The program definitely boosted my confidence in public speaking. The teachers did an excellent job mentoring the participants.”

The exam is conducted by Speech New Zealand. Integreat Queensland are incredibly excited to be the first organisation in Australia to offer this amazing program.

We are now accepting expressions of interest to join the next professional speaking class. Please contact Integreat Queensland on 4903 1931 or email admin@integreatqld.org.au to enquire.

Esther, Alena and Rikki proudly displaying their Professional Speaking certificate

Integreat Queensland Programs and Events

Gladstone

Supporting women through healing transformation, and celebration.

Integreat Queensland would like to invite women to the SisterLife Circle, an intentional circle to support women with healing, transformation, and celebration.

SisterLife Circle is a safe and supportive environment for women to meet, share and connect with each other and share their thoughts and feelings.

Our Sisterlife Circle is a safe space to share and heal, as we believe to call another woman a sister is to say, “I trust you”, “I have your back”, “Your feelings are valid”, and “I believe in you.”

Funded by the Australian Government, our goal is to create a deep, authentic connection amongst women to participate in topical discussions where everyone has the opportunity to discuss a challenge they may be having or a success we can all celebrate.

  • When: 1st and 22nd of June.
  • Time: 10.30am to 12pm.
  • Where: 1 Manning St, Gladstone.

Circle of Security Parenting

Integreat Queensland are offering a FREE 4-week intensive Circle of Security® Parenting program.

Based on decades of research about how secure parent-child relationships can be supported and strengthened, the Circle of Security® Parenting program assists parents who might feel lost or confused about what their child needs from them.

The Circle of Security® Parenting™ program helps you make sense of what your child is really asking from you, and how to strengthen the parent-child relationship.

Circle of Security® Parenting™ is a parent-reflection program that aims to help you

  • understand and learn to read your child’s emotional needs
  • support your child’s ability to successfully manage emotions
  • enhance the development of your child’s self-esteem
  • ensure your child feels secure.

The Circle of Security® Parenting™ 4-week program commences on from July to August 2022.

Participants must attend all sessions. Registration are essential as limited places available. Please note: an online/phone interview is an essential part of registering for this program.

  • When: July – August (day to be confirmed)
  • Time: 5pm to 7pm
  • Program Delivery: Online and face to face
  • Location: 1 Manning St, South Gladstone
  • Cost: $110

If you are interested attending the Circle of Security® Parenting program, please contact the Integreat Queensland office on 4903 1931 or email: admin@integreatqld.org.au

Let’s Talk English Conversational Class

Integreat Queensland’s Let’s Talk Conversational English classes are exactly what the name suggests.

They provide a safe and comfortable setting where those who might not otherwise have the opportunity, can improve, and gain confidence in their spoken English. We cover practical themes like ‘visiting the doctor’ and ‘going grocery shopping’ to help empower participants in their everyday lives.

Most of all, however, our Let’s Talk Conversational English classes offer the opportunity for people to practice their speaking skills in a supportive and non-judgemental environment. The classes are in an informal setting to encourage connection and confidence in communicating, making new friends, and learning new things.

  • When: Thursdays (during school term). We start the classes in the 2nd week of the school term.
  • Time: 1pm – 2.30pm
  • Where: Integreat Queensland Office, 1a Manning St, South Gladstone.
  • Cost: Free. Registration required.

*Participants can join anytime during the term.

To register or for more information, please contact Integreat Queensland on 4903 1931 or email: admin@integreatqld.org.au

Rockhampton

Supporting women through healing, transformation, and celebration.

Integreat Queensland would like to invite women to the SisterLife Circle, an intentional circle to support women with healing, transformation, and celebration.

SisterLife Circle is a safe and supportive environment for women to meet, share and connect with each other and share their thoughts and feelings.

Our Sisterlife Circle is a safe space to share and heal, as we believe to call another woman a sister is to say, “I trust you”, “I have your back”, “Your feelings are valid”, and “I believe in you.”

Funded by the Australian Government, our goal is to create a deep, authentic connection amongst women to participate in topical discussions where everyone has the opportunity to discuss a challenge they may be having or a success we can all celebrate.

  • When: 16th of June.
  • Time: 1pm to 2.30pm.
  • Where: 223 Campbell Street, Rockhampton.

If you are interested or would like to join Sisterlife Circle, please contact the Integreat Queensland office on 4900 1617 or email:  rockhampton@integreatqld.org.au

Let’s Talk English Conversational Class

Integreat Queensland’s Let’s Talk Conversational English classes are exactly what the name suggests.

They provide a safe and comfortable setting where those who might not otherwise have the opportunity, can improve, and gain confidence in their spoken English. We cover practical themes like ‘visiting the doctor’ and ‘going grocery shopping’ to help empower participants in their everyday lives.

Most of all, however, our Let’s Talk Conversational English classes offer the opportunity for people to practice their speaking skills in a supportive and non-judgemental environment. The classes are in an informal setting to encourage connection and confidence in communicating, making new friends and learning new things.

  • When: 1st and 22nd of June.
  • Time: 10.30am to 12pm.
  • Where: 1 Manning St, Gladstone.
  • Cost: Free. Registration required

*Participants can join anytime during the term.

To register or for more information, please contact Integreat Queensland on 07 4900 1617 or email narelle@integreatqld.org.au

From little steps, big steps grow.

At Integreat Queensland’s Little Steps multicultural playgroup, parents and carers get together with their young children for a couple of hours each week to connect, learn through play and most importantly, have fun. Essentially, Little Steps is one of the first and most important social networks for children and families.

Held at 223 Campbell St, Rockhampton, Little Steps activities may involve craft, indoor and outdoor play and morning tea. At playgroup, families can learn new ideas for playing at home, make new friends and share their experiences in a relaxed environment.

The Little Steps multicultural playgroup is open on Tuesday each week from 9.30am to 11.30am every week. Morning tea, snacks, and fresh fruit provided. If you are interested in joining the Little Steps multicultural playgroup, please call the Integreat Queensland office on 4900 1617 or email:  rockhampton@integreatqld.org.au


Integreat Queensland opens up opportunities for everyone from everywhere to get involved, feel welcome, learn new things, and contribute to a strong, thriving local community

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