In May, Integreat Queensland welcomed our new Acting General Manager Charmaine Bennett into the organisation.
Coming from South Africa to Gladstone 8 years ago, Charmaine is no stranger to how difficult it can be to integrate into a new community.
“Coming from a big city to a regional town like Gladstone was a cultural shock not only for its size but also in understanding the culture of Australia or more specifically Queenslanders, and how they operate and work,” Charmaine (pictured) said.
“I come from a diverse and linguistic country where English is spoken every day however, despite being able to communicate with everyone here in Gladstone, things are done differently and myself and my husband had to learn the culture and understand it’s intricacies.”
Having run a business in South Africa and working with a non-for-profit organisation for the past 5 years in Gladstone, Charmaine is no stranger to developing community initiatives and programs.
“I really enjoy working with people and supporting them in building a future for themselves, their family, and the community” she said.
“For me, it’s about fostering economic and community development both on an individual level and within the community as a whole. By enabling people to participate in initiatives and programs focused on community development, I strongly believe it promotes social inclusion and strengthens the bonds within the community.”
Charmaine is excited for the future of Integreat Queensland and plans to build on its current infrastructure and initiatives and work with the team to continue delivering and creating new and exciting programs that assist people to integrate into the community throughout central Queensland.
“Integreat Queensland’s mission is to open opportunities for everyone from everywhere to get involved, feel welcome, learn new things, and contribute to a strong, thriving local community,” she said.
“The Integreat Queensland team has been helping new and existing residents across central Queensland to come together and enrich their lives through programs and events and by making connections in the community.
“We will continue to be committed to our mission of providing assistance to individuals from different countries, backgrounds, and regions of Australia, and empowering them to settle in with confidence. Our aim is to assist in forming friendships, the sharing of skills and culture, and the building of relationships with local residents, that benefits everyone involved.”