Home Dinners and other activities in Brisbane

In the second half of 2016 we held three home Welcome Dinners and attended numerous festivals and workshops to raise awareness about the project. In the process we made some incredible connections:

10 June – Our work with Digital Storytellers began in June at the Luminous Lantern Parade where we walked with thousands of other passionate people of Welcome.

11 June – Welcome Dinner in Annerley. The warmth extended on a cold winter’s night to thirteen new arrivals, plus six of their children and seven locals. With 26 guests in total it was a BIG home dinner! The Welcome Angel Cake was transformed into a birthday cake and the traditional Happy Birthday song was sung for one of our little guests. It was a night of fun, laughter and delicious food.

26 June – We hosted a Welcome Dinner Project stall and has an awesome night at the #BringThemHereGig! We congratulate and thank the organisers (Erin Kennedy, Camille and Nuala Furtado) and the Foundry for generously providing the venue and to all the fantastic artists for donating their time. Not least of all Robbie James from Gangajang and Scattered People and Tu Pham! 100% of the proceeds went to refugee support organisations which are part of BRASS (Brisbane Asylum Seeker Support) Network.

18 July – Building Better Communities training was attended by the WDP Qld co-coordinator, Thiri. The 20hr free course was designed for residents in a local area who want to make a difference in their communities by way of supporting a more connected and inclusive community. Designed by the Community Praxis Co-op the course has been run in many parts of Queensland.

19 July – Eddiefy with Br Damien Price – If not you then who? Why young people MUST be the change they want to see in the world. We visited our good friend Saba at Mu’ooz Eritrean Restaurant & Catering, West End to listen to a talk on how young people are making a difference. We could up with some Welcome Dinner Project facilitators and guests there and had an opportunity to share the story.

13 August – Welcome Dinner in Yeerongpilly. On a balmy Brisbane winter’s night in August, we met a family (mum, dad and three daughters) who welcomed us from the moment we entered their front gate. All the children instantly became friends and a park playdate was arranged for the following week. The hosts Andrew and Britt felt the warmth and love that was brought into their home by the guests attending. From this Welcome Dinner this family has met up with their guests at a Picnic in the Park, Riverfire, Morning Tea at their home and at the Walk Together event. Friendships are blooming and more catch ups are being planned.

17 August – We attended the UQ Volunteer Expo. One of our facilitators, Aleyda, joined me with my two youngest children in tow. We were ALL welcoming and friendly but the children were our secret welcoming weapon…they brought the cuteness!

7 September – We attended the UQRTC ‘Welcoming Young Refugees to Australia’ Panel to listen to a constructive conversation on how we can effectively welcome young refugees to Australia! Panel members included: Yassmin Abdel-Magied, Dr Homa Forotan, Sonia Caton and Jane Griffin

25 September – Responding to Islamophobia with Ali Kadri and Dr Mehreen Faruqi. Thiri and fellow WDP facilitators attended a free community forum about Islamophobia and racism to understand systemic racism in modern Australia and unpack how we as a community can best respond to rising Islamophobia. This event was held at the University of Queensland. The speakers were Dr Mehreen Faruqi – Member of the NSW Parliament’s Upper House and the first Muslim woman to win a seat in an Australian parliament and Ali Kadri – Islamic Council of Queensland spokesperson, member of Queensland Multicultural Advisory Council.

1 October – Community organising skills workshop. The focus of this workshop is twofold, to further develop your skills in (1) communicating the message on issues, and (2) deepening your community’s engagement, confidence and energy in the challenges social justice presents.

7 October – A Meal with Muslimah. We were invited by the University of Queensland Muslimah Society to listen to attend a dinner at Mu’ooz Eritrean Restaurant & Catering and to listen to Ali Kadri who shed light on issues surrounding the current situation of Muslims in Australia. Thiri, Narseen and myself with baby Ned attended this fabulous dinner. We met amazing people and Ned had some cuddles with some old and new friends.

14 October – Youth Voice Total Wellbeing Dinner! We were invited to attend and host a stall at the Total Wellbeing Dinner as part of National Mental Health Week presented by Youth Voice (a Department of Social Services (DSS) funded initiative) Youth Voice aims to inspire young adults from refugee and multicultural backgrounds in Brisbane, Ipswich and Logan. This event invited youth to discover their passion for social justice! There was dancing, panel discussions and dinner provided! The keynote speaker was Matthew Johnstone, the famous author of ‘I Had a Black Dog’ and ‘Living with a Black Dog’.

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