S8: Rethinking multicultural community engagement and cooperation

Time: 11:55am – 12:45am
Location: King Room
Nissrine Khadra Daher, News Presenter, SBS Arabic News team

8.1 Innovative Community engagement strategies through grassroots approach 

Aurelia Rahman
Community Migrant Resource

About the presentation

For over 25 years, CMRC has been active in the multicultural sector, supporting recently arrived refugees, migrants and people seeking protection from persecution.  This workshop will explore how CMRC have engaged communities for the last 25 years.

About the presenter

Aurelia Rahman has tertiary education degrees from the University of Bucharest, Romania and various diplomas in Community Services and Welfare in Australia. She has extensive experience in settlement, community engagement and management, partnerships and networking.  Aurelia has been working in the not-for-profit sector at Community Migrant Resource Centre (CMRC) in various capacities for close to 25 years. Aurelia’s passion is about community engagement and capacity building, inclusion and participation in life in Australia.  Some of her more significant projects have been Women Creating a Better Tomorrow, Community Learning Circle, Community Services Expos, the Multicultural Ambassador Program, Career Pathways project and facilitating services networks and project partnerships.  

8.2 Best practice collaborative community capacity-building program to address barriers for newly arrived migrant and refugee communities - MLC Train the Trainer Program 

Vasili Maroulis
Marrickville Legal Centre 

About the presentation

The COVID-19 pandemic had a disastrous impact on Australia’s workforce, particularly for vulnerable and disadvantaged migrant workers. Despite growing community legal need, many newly arrived migrants and refugees were simply not aware of their rights and faced systemic barriers to accessing legal help. In response to this, MLC delivered a capacity-building and training program in employment and discrimination law. The program upskilled migrant worker communities so they can spread awareness about workplace laws and improve access to legal services for vulnerable migrant workers. 16 community workers and leaders participated in the program to prepare and present education sessions to their communities in language. The program, which was delivered with training partners including Fair Work Ombudsman, Fair Work Commission, Legal Aid NSW and other pro bono law firms, helped to bridge the gap in access to justice by informing people about workplace rights and available services, and through empowering communities to enforce their rights by building relationships and trust between vulnerable workers and services that can assist.  

About the presenter

Vasili Maroulis is the Managing Principal Solicitor at Marrickville Legal Centre. He has digitally transformed the Centre’s operation through innovative digital strategies to optimise legal service delivery and increase access to justice.  In 2018, Vasili founded 'low bono' firm Justice Avenue, to provide affordable fixed-fee representation to clients who are unable to access community legal services due to eligibility requirements, lack of resources or funding restrictions. Vasili also serves as a Director of the Ethnic Community Services Co-operative.

8.3 Weaving through Colour – Grassroot approaches to gender equality in culturally diverse communities

Sharmila Falzon & Ramani Regis
City of Parramatta Council

About the presentation 

The City of Parramatta's Community Capacity Building Team, through a variety of approaches, has been delivering projects and workshops promoting gender equality for several years.   Working in a community that is cultural and linguistically diverse, the team has developed several approaches that have led to genuine engagement across this cohort. The team also work with all genders and have developed an understanding of what works and does not. This workshop will impart knowledge by weaving stories of triumphs and challenges with practical information that has worked for the City of Parramatta's Community Capacity Building Team.  The workshop will be interactive which will allow the participants to really explore and understands the approaches that have been successful. The participants will increase their of knowledge of intersectionality and successful approaches to promoting gender equality, utilising effective partnerships and project design.    

About the presenter

Sharmila is a primary prevention practitioner, policy officer and trainer whose practice is centred in social justice and intersectional feminism. Over the last five years, she has assisted in the development of the national resource- Prevention Toolkit of Local Government, authored City of Parramatta Council’s inaugural Prevention of Domestic and Family Action Plan and lead the development and implementation of primary prevention initiatives across Western Sydney.  Sharmila has a Masters in Social Development from University of NSW, and has worked extensively within the not-for-profit sector as well as local government, covering a variety of fields—settlement services, youth work, family support, policy and organisational development. 

8.4 Breaking the mould: Responsive community-centered engagement in a public provider context

Myriam Bahari & Zac Ekandi

About the presentation

TAFE NSW applies innovative practices to engage multicultural communities so that all individuals can fully participate in vocational education and training opportunities. Authentic engagement in the education space is critical because of the transformative value that learning has on all aspects of a person's life, including the social, economic and civic. This presentation will address a knowledge gap in contemporary multicultural engagement discourse  - highlighting education as foundational. Four case studies are showcased across community and education settings to examine the processes, partnerships, challenges, outcomes and impacts of meaningful engagement. TAFE multicultural practitioners will present models of collaborative engagement that create spaces for co-design, leadership and participation. The four case studies focus on diverse cohorts including newly arrived migrants and refugees, women, skilled migrants and regional settlement, in both face-to-face encounters and digital environments.

About the presenter

Myriam Bahari is a Cultural and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) Coordinator at Western Sydney. She has over 30 years' experience working in the Community and Government sector supporting and assisting migrants across Western Sydney. Myriam has worked at TAFE NSW based at Bankstown for the past six years bring education to the community and working towards breaking the barriers of access to VET programs in the Canterbury Bankstown community.

Zac Ekandi is a TAFE Services Coordinator at Newcastle who has worked in the organisation for over 12 years in both student support and multicultural engagement. Zac has established key community engagement programs and strategic partnerships to support educational access for rural and regional multicultural communities. Through his collaborative leadership and innovative programs, multicultural communities have thrived at TAFE NSW and this led to Zac being awarded the NSW Director General's Award for Excellence in Public Education in 2012.

Last updated:

12 Oct 2022

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