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Eastern Multicultural News
Edition 188, June 2022

MIC News
Support and Discussion Group for Zomi Women. In May and June 2022, MIC held a 6-week program for women from the Zomi community to discuss how they can have safe, healthy relationships and  build stronger families in Australia. The support group was for women who were interested in sharing and learning from other women to help improve their quality of family life. The program was attended by women from the Zomi community. The project is jointly funded by the Australian Government Department of Home Affairs through the Settlement Engagement and Transition Support (SETS) programme and the Victorian Government Department of Families, Fairness and Housing (DFFH) - Specialist Women's Services.
MIC Multicultural Playgroups. MIC currently facilitates two multicultural playgroups for families living in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne. Our playgroups provide an opportunity for parents, grandparents and carers from migrant and refugee backgrounds and their preschool aged children to come together in a fun, safe and supportive environment. Playgroups are facilitated by our trained staff and volunteers and include assisted play, games, story-time and music, as well as guest speakers from early childhood services such as Maternal and Child Health services who provide important information for newly arrived families and excursions to local toy libraries, kindergartens and parks.

Currently, the playgroups run every week on Fridays, 11am to 12pm and 1pm to 2.30pm, during the school term. The Playgroups are funded by the Australian Government Department of Home Affairs through the Settlement Engagement and Transition Support (SETS) programme. For more information, please contact Juliet at MIC on (03) 9285 4888 or Email jnoonan@miceastmelb.com.au.
Living is Australia Program. In May and June 2022, MIC ran a series of information sessions comprising the 'Living in Australia' program for members of the Iranian community. The 5-week program held via Zoom provided participants with information about Australia culture, citizenship, democracy and multiculturalism. This program is funded by the Australian Government Department of Home Affairs through the Settlement Engagement and Transition Support (SETS) programme.
Monash and Maroondah Chinese Grandparents Playgroups. These playgroups provide an opportunity for grandparents from a Chinese background and their preschool aged grandchildren to come together in a fun, safe and supportive environment. Playgroups are facilitated by our trained staff and volunteers and include assisted play, games, story-time and music, as well as guest speakers from early childhood services such as Maternal and Child Health who provide important information for newly arrived families and excursions to local toy libraries, kindergartens and parks. The playgroups are currently meeting face-to-face. The playgroups run every week during the school terms. For more information, please contact Amber at MIC on (03) 9285 4888. Funded by the Australian Government Department of Home Affairs through the Settlement Engagement and Transition Support (SETS) programme and the City of Monash (Monash City program only). 
         
Mental Health Literacy Project with NEAMI National. On the 10th of June 2022, MIC provided 12 participants from the Zomi community with a workshop that focused on wellbeing. The aim of the program was to increase the mental health literacy of the Zomi community. The workshop was facilitated by a qualified mental health practitioner and covered tips for coping with stress, anxiety and depression, helping someone who is suicidal and covered the services and support available. A Zomi interpreter was also provided. This program is jointly funded by the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing, Multicultural Affairs, Strategic Partnerships Program in partnership with NEAMI National and Maroondah City Council. 
Cyber Safety Information Session with the Arabic Community. MIC held an important information session for members of the Arabic community about Cyber Safety on the 8th of June 2022 via Zoom. The session focused on staying safe online and recognising fraud and scams. Funded by the Australian Government Department of Home Affairs through the Settlement Engagement and Transition Support (SETS) programme.
Employment Information Session for the Zomi Community. On 15th June 2022, MIC held an employment information session for participants from the Zomi community via Zoom. The session focused on the MIC employment programs. Funded by the Australian Government Department of Home Affairs through the Settlement Engagement and Transition Support (SETS) programme.
MIC Homework Support Programs (HSP). Our trained staff and volunteers assist children to complete their homework and improve their written and spoken English, reading and comprehension skills so they can keep up with their peers at school. The HSPs not only assist children and young people to do their homework; they help them develop study skills and study routines and provide opportunities for children to make new friends and build social skills. MIC is currently running two HSPs for primary school aged children from Great Ryrie Primary School (via Zoom) and Croydon Primary School (face-to-face), every Monday and Thursday respectively. For more information about these programs, please contact Robyn at MIC on (03) 9285 8888 or email rtan@miceastmelb.com.au. Funded by the Australian Government Department of Home Affairs through the Settlement Engagement and Transition Support (SETS) programme.

Employment Information Session for the Falam and Mizo Communities. MIC will invite members of the Falam and Mizo communities to attend an Employment Information Session. The session will take place via Zoom from 6pm – 7.30pm on Wednesday the 29th of June 2022. For more information, please contact Wesley or Liante at MIC on (03) 9285 4888. Funded by the Australian Government Department of Home Affairs through the Settlement Engagement and Transition Support (SETS) programme.

Information Sessions for Members from the Chinese Community in Knox. As part of the Knox City Council Minor Grants, MIC has been holding various information sessions via Zoom, for members of the Chinese Community living in Knox. Three sessions were held in May and June 2022, which covered the following topics: Aged Care (55 participants attended), Retirement Villages (87 participants attended) and Immigration (24 participants attended). Funded by Knox City Council 2021-2022 Minor Grants.
Volleyball Program for the Mizo Community. MIC is inviting members for the Mizo community to have the chance to come and get active with a weekly Volleyball Program. The program is held weekly every Saturday from 6.00pm to 8.00pm at Maroondah Nets, Heathmont. For more information, please contact Wesley at MIC on (03) 9285 4888. This program is funded by Department of Families, Fairness and Housing, Multicultural Affairs, Strategic Partnerships Program.

Information Session for members from the Chinese Community. MIC held two information session via Zoom for members of the Chinese community. Guest speaker Susie from Consumer Affairs Victoria attended the sessions which took place on the 13th of May and 10th of June 2022 via Zoom. The first session covered information about buying a house and was attended by 25 participants. The second session was all about scams, with 20 participants in attendance. Funded by the Australian Government Department of Home Affairs through the Settlement Engagement and Transition Support (SETS) programme.

Conversational English Program with members of the Falam Chin Community. The MIC facilitates a weekly English conversation program for women from the Falam Chin community on Zoom. The women meet every Tuesday over Zoom from 6.00pm to 8.00pm to practice their English in real life scenarios.  For more information, please contact Wesley at MIC on (03) 9285 4888 or email wbawia@miceastmelb.com.au. This program is funded by Department of Families, Fairness and Housing, Multicultural Affairs, Strategic Partnerships Program.

MIC is currently looking for volunteers to support our work across a range of programs including:

Community Visitors Scheme (CVS) Program
MIC is looking for volunteers to support older people who are from a Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) background experiencing or at risk of experiencing social isolation and loneliness. CVS volunteer support provides friendship and social interaction with older people. The purpose of the program is to assist eligible clients to:
  • Reduce social isolation and loneliness;
  • Enhance wellbeing and happiness;
  • Improve quality of life.
Weekly visit activities may include chatting, going for a walk, reading a book out loud, listening to music together, playing a board game, etc. 
 
If you would like to assist and have a few spare hours per week, please contact Mervat Dahdoule on 9285 4888 or email mdahdoule@miceastmelb.com.au. All prospective volunteers are encouraged to apply, irrespective of English language skill ability. Applicants with second language skills may be matched with language appropriate residents. Current need is for Polish, Croatian, Cantonese, Mandarin, and Greek language skills.
 
Homework Support Program (HSP)
MIC is currently seeking Volunteer Tutors to support the academic progress and English language skills of students from refugee backgrounds. Opportunities are available to assist students at primary level or secondary level. Homework Support Programs (HSP) are facilitated by MIC staff, with the support of Volunteer Tutors. Programs are held in Ringwood, Croydon, Heathmont and Mooroolbark. 

Driving Mentors
MIC is currently seeking Driving Mentor Volunteers to provide driving practice sessions for people from refugee backgrounds. Driving Mentor Volunteers provide on-road practical driving experience to complement lessons from registered driving instructors using MIC’s dual brake motor vehicle. For further information, please contact Mervat Dahdoule on ph: 9285 4888 or email mdahdoule@miceastmelb.com.au.
 
MIC Youth
Youth Services Marathon. Young people (aged 12 - 25 years) are invited to participate in a fun youth activity during the school holidays to learn about local youth and community services and gain confidence using public transport.  The program aims to provide participants with information about services they can access for support in the eastern region, through a race where young people are required to visit each service in a small group, using public transport to get to each service.  The program will be held on Wednesday 29th June 2022 and will start and finish at REALM Library, Ringwood. The program will run from 9.30am to 4.30pm, is free and lunch and prizes will be provided. This program is funded by the Australian Government Department of Home Affairs through the Settlement Engagement and Transition Support (SETS) Programme.
Young Men's Program. In May and June 2022, MIC held a Young Men's Program which was attended by 9 participants. The Young Men’s program aimed to provide participants with a framework to cultivate positive habits, navigate relationships and provide participants with tools to problem solve and manage emotions. The program was held after school at EV's Youth Centre in Croydon on Wednesdays. The last session was held at Strike Bowling, Ringwood and was enjoyed by all. For more information, please contact Rohan at MIC on ph: 9285 4888. This program is funded by the Australian Government Department of Home Affairs through the Settlement Engagement and Transition Support (SETS) Programme.
Youth Employment Workshops. MIC held a series of employment workshops for English language students at Swinburne, Croydon campus. The program aimed to provide participants with job seeking skills and personal development strategies including goal setting and time management. The program included three workshops which was attended by 10 participants. The topics covered included time management, goal setting, job readiness and also provided participants with information about employment services and how to access them. This program is funded by the Australian Government Department of Home Affairs through the Settlement Engagement and Transition Support (SETS) Programme.
Language & Education Programs
Free Migrant English Conversation Classes. English conversation classes have resumed at Heathmont Uniting Church, 89 Canterbury Rd, Heathmont. The classes run every Monday from 7.30pm - 9.00pm and Thursdays from 11.00am - 12.30pm. Students may attend either or both classes each week, during school term. The focus is on spoken English needed for daily life but can be varied to suit particular student needs or interests, such as job-related terminologies. We also do some basic written work, as appropriate for the student's particular level. For more information, please contact Marie on 0429 294 007 or email mariett19@hotmail.com.
 
REALM Library Conversation Cafe. Is English your second language? Practice your English skills with our friendly volunteers, meet new people and bring a coffee to enjoy together. The group meet every Friday at 10.30am at REALM Library, Ringwood. All ages welcome! Bookings are essential. Numbers are limited. Social distancing will be observed. All attendees must abide by Realm's conditions of entry. For more information, please contact (03) 9800 6430 or visit events.yourlibrary.com.au
 
Professional Development 
Anxiety in Primary School Aged Children: Online Seminar. Eastern Health CYMHS Community Seminars is holding an online workshop Anxiety in Primary School Aged Children on the 14th of July 2022. The workshop will focus on understanding anxiety and how it is experienced in primary aged children, helpful and unhelpful responses and management strategies. The target audience is staff working in a range of settings including education, wellbeing, and child and family services. For more information or registrations, please contact Marion Bernard, Community Engagement Service via email marion.bernard@easternhealth.org.au or call on (03) 9871 7710. 
 
Supporting clients using cultural intelligence: Training for Service Providers. Why do we need to attend to our client’s culture and our own cultural background in community services? What tools can we use to hear client’s stories in the context of their cultural background and lived experience? What is the psycho-social impact of racism and Islamophobia? How do we support the development of cultural intelligence within our organisation? You are cordially invited to join us for a highly interactive and thought-provoking workshop to discuss strategies to better understand Muslim clients when they require case management and advocacy after incidents of Racism and Islamophobia. This workshop has been designed for community service providers. This may include professionals working in community health, case management, community engagement, settlement services, neighbourhood and housing services, and community centres. The session will take place on Thursday the 30th of June 2022 from 10.00am - 1.30pm at the Islamic Council of Victoria, West Melbourne. For more information, please click here.
 

CMY Training Calendar: July - December 2022. The Centre for Multicultural Youth (CMY) offers workshops to help you and your organisation work more effectively with young people from migrant and refugee backgrounds, and their families and communities. CMY Training has a new calendar of training events just out, including some new modules. All registrations are through Eventbrite. For more information and a full list of training events, please visit the CMY Website. Upcoming events:

Reverb: Amplifying the voices of multicultural young people in mental health
July 20th 2022 (online)

Schools Standing up to Racism
July 26th 2022 (online)

Culturally Responsive Practice 
August 18th 2022 (CMY Carlton)

Community Programs

Play Learn Grow – subscribe to receive free tips from early childhood experts. Play Learn Grow is a free text message program which supports parents and carers of children aged two and three with their child’s wellbeing, learning and development at home. Developed by the Victorian Government in partnership with early childhood parenting experts, the program provides parents and carers with practical information, advice and support, as well as fun and easy activity ideas to do at home. Participants will receive three personalised text messages a week, developed by early childhood education experts. Text messages will cover reading, playing, talking, and self-care, and is available in six languages – English, as well as Arabic, Dari, Farsi, Simplified Chinese and Karen. Participants can opt-in and opt-out at any time. Text PLAY to 0428 606 027 to subscribe – it’s free! Find out more here.

Participants Needed
Understanding Client Experience Project. Have you experienced or used family violence, and accessed support services in the Eastern Metropolitan Region? The Royal Family Violence Partnership (RFVP) is looking for participants to take part in an 'understanding client experience' project. The aim of this project is to learn about people’s experiences with local support services, so that we can improve and make our services better. Participants will complete a 1-2 hour interview with 2 workers from a service in the Eastern Metropolitan Region. If you are interested in participating or would like further information, please contact: Christine Robinson    - Christine.Robinson.RFVP@edvos.org.au or Alyssa Scott - AlyssaS.RFVP@edvos.org.au
 
Health & Well-Being

Multicultural Health Connect. This service provides professional health information and advice in your language. You can call Multicultural Health Connect to:

 
  • Find health services such as doctors, hospitals and community health centres.
  • Get health advice from a nurse.
  • Better understand Australia’s health system and where to get help.
  • Learn about COVID-19, including managing the disease, COVID-19 vaccines, isolation and close contacts.
This is a free service and interpreters are accessed if required. For more information, please call 1800 186 815 or visit healthdirect.gov.au.
 
Mental Health and Wellbeing Hub. Mental Health & Wellbeing Hubs aim to respond to mental health and wellbeing needs as a result of the stressors and concerns brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. The service will assist in addressing issues such as anxiety, stress and fear that relates to a deterioration in wellbeing and mental health. The services is also available to those who are experiencing isolation and disruption in their life through the pandemic. This may include job loss, income concerns and returning safely to everyday life. Our trained and qualified mental health workers will provide: 
  • Fast tracked and tailored support 
  • Psycho-social information relating to mental health concerns and wellbeing strategies 
  • Brief goal orientated interventions 
  • A limited walk-in service at a couple of community service sites. 

We will provide a pathway for recovery through a Wellness plan and coaching, which is done in conjunction with any current support service you have. Get in touch by calling the Partners in Wellbeing hotline on 1300 375 330 or visit www.partnersinwellbeing.org.au. Or Drop in to: EACH Box Hill: 26-28 Prospect St, Box Hill. 

Resources
Kidney Health Australia: Translations Resource Library. Kidney Health Australia aims to increase awareness and the early detection of kidney diseases, as well as connect people to vital resources so they can achieve a better quality of life. Kidney Health Australia have a range of resources on kidney disease, in 19 languages, to help you manage your kidney health or life with kidney disease. To access the resources, please click here
 
Rapid Antigen Tests (RAT) Resources for Multicultural Communities. The Department of Health has developed downloadable, translated resources and information about rapid antigen tests (RAT) in Australia. The fact sheet provides information including where to get rapid antigen tests, what to do if you get a positive result and the use of rapid antigen tests on children. To access this information, please click here. The fact sheet is available in over 60 community languages including Arabic, Burmese, Chin Hakha, Chinese, Karen, Persian and Vietnamese. 
 

COVID-19 Vaccine Resources for Multicultural Communities. The Department of Health has developed downloadable, translated resources and information about COVID-19 vaccines in Australia. This language set contains translations of a fact sheet that summarises the changes that have been made to the COVID-19 vaccination program by the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) on 27 April 2022. To access the fact sheet, please click here
 

Family Violence and Healthy Relationships: Translated Resources. Whittlesea Community Connections have produced a suite of community family violence and healthy relationships resources which are now available on the WCC Website. There are 4 types of resources:
  • Family violence is unacceptable in any culture
  • How to support someone experiencing family violence
  • We all have a right to live free from violence in Australia
  • Are you worried about your relationships?  
Each of these resources are in the following languages: English, Arabic, Farsi, Nepali, Hindi, Sinhalese and Urdu.

 
For more information on MIC programs and services or to contribute to the MIC's newsletter, Eastern Multicultural News, please contact Robyn Tan at the MIC or visit our website www.miceastmelb.com.au 

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