Community Engagement: Harmony Day Professional Development Event

21 March 2017 marks Harmony Day (http://www.harmony.gov.au) – a celebration of cultural diversity in Australia with this year’s theme ‘everyone belongs’. The day also coincides with United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (http://www.un.org/en/events/racialdiscriminationday).

In conjunction with Harmony Day, Inala Community House’s Community Engagement Services co-organised a special Harmony Day Professional Development Event along with our wonderful partners: Multicultural Community Network, QPASTT and Brisbane City Council.

The Event was free and open to all, held from 9am to afternoon at Inala Hall (corner of Corsair Avenue and Wirraway Parade).

It also featured a mini expo of multicultural organisations providing information stalls and support to local refugee communities, such as Culture in Mind, St Vincent de Paul Society Queensland, Diversicare and more.

After registration, our Harmony Day Professional Development Event started with an exclusive screening of an inspiring film called ‘Constance on the Edge’ that was filmed over 10 years.

The film was followed by a well-rounded presentation by QPASTT staff regarding refugee experience, settlement and trauma recovery. We also had a Q&A session regarding how us service providers can continually reflect, adapt and deliver the best community support possible.

“We all react to trauma differently. My definition of trauma can be entirely different for another individual. We should never impose expectations but strive to be more open-minded, accessible and weloming to work with everyone in their unique ways. Events like today’s Harmony Day Professional Development are important for all services to gather, network and brainstorm on how we can serve our local community better,” said QPASST Manager of Community Relationships and Capacity Building Team Fernanda Torresi.

“As service providers, it’s important to understand and respect cultural differences from other countries. We need to keep engaging in productive conversations and strategies to remain relevant,” said QPASST Training Coordinator Elise Barton.

“Trauma can affect anyone – not just refugees. Today’s event has been a great success for vital networking especially in a multicultural community like Inala with amazing growth potential. At Inala Community House, we always endeavour to provide a more welcoming and positive service to all members of public,” said Community Engagement Services Manager Haley Kiata.

The event concluded with a free networking lunch for all attendees.

Thank you to our wonderful Inala Community House client Mulu Kbede from Ethiopia who volunteered to provide delicious Ethiopian coffee and food!

For more information about the wide range of services provided by Inala Community House, please contact us today (07) 3372 1711 | info@ich.org.au.

Community Settlement Service: Mother-to-Baby Massage Group Graduation Party

Inala Community House’s Community Settlement Service (CSS) aims to promote self-reliance of our newly arrived clients and achieve successful long-term settlement in Australian society. Our services commonly include casework, referrals, classes and information sessions covering a wide range of issues according to changing needs.

On Wednesday 8th March 2017, our Community Settlement Service (CSS)’s Mother-to-Baby Massage Group organised a special graduation party to celebrate the achievements of our participants in completing our first ever five-week course!

The Mother-to-Baby Massage Group is a strategic partnership between Inala Community House (http://www.ich.org.au | https://www.facebook.com/ICHAustralia), Queensland Mental Health Commission (https://www.qmhc.qld.gov.au) and Communify QLD (http://www.communify.org.au). We endeavour to educate women on how to massage, communicate and bond more effectively with their babies, while reducing social isolation especially among culturally and linguistically diverse communities in Australia.

The biggest thank you to both wonderful Group facilitators: Linda Rylands from Diversity OT (http://www.diversityot.com.au | https://www.facebook.com/diversityot) and Shameera from Sweetpea Infant Massage (https://www.facebook.com/sweetpeainfantmassage).

“Please continue to massage your babies at home, and always adapt your techniques to suit their developmental needs and habits,” advised Group facilitator Shameera during the final session.

As calming instrumental music played in the background, our participants were encouraged to freely massage their babies, ask questions, exchange insights and gain professional feedback.

In the end, we also asked for participants’ final feedback in order to review and improve our course to help more people in future.

All smiles: Community Engagement Services Manager Haley Kiata, Nayda from Forest Lake Councillor Charles Strunk’s office and babies.  

“Councillor Charles Strunk would like to send his congratulations to the success of this amazing Mother-to-Baby Massage Group. We always look forward in supporting more community-centred initiatives like this,” said Nayda the media representative from Forest Lake Councillor Charles Strunk’s office.

After the final Mother-to-Baby Massage Group session, we organised a special certificate and gift award ceremony. Special thank you to Federal Labor Member for Oxley Milton Dick for providing the certificates to acknowledge our participants and facilitators.

“We would like to thank everyone for making this Mother-to-Baby Massage Group happen. We are proud of our participants for their full attendance and cooperation for the past five weeks. At Inala Community House, we pride ourselves to be innovative and adaptive to our community’s needs through various programs and activities,” said Group main coordinator Seble Tadesse.

“We have thoroughly enjoyed and will miss our weekly sessions watching every mother grow along with their babies,” said Group facilitator Shameera.

“This is the best Group I’ve facilitated so far with great attendance every week. Besides sharing the useful knowledge of baby massage, we have more importantly built meaningful connections among this unique group of women,” said Group facilitator Linda.

“Thank you to both faciliators Linda and Shameera for always being so patient to teach us how to massage our babies. I have been really excited to attend the weekly session. Finally, biggest thank you to Inala Community House for introducing this enriching and socially-inclusive course,” said Wegahta Gebreyesus who originated from Eritrea and now lives in Annerley.

Free lunch buffet spread for all to enjoy while networking.

The art of giving back: thank you to our wonderful CSS client Mulu Kbede from Ethiopia who volunteered to provide delicious homemade Ethiopian food!

Everyone enjoyed a taste of unique Ethiopian culture.

For more information about the wide range of services provided by Inala Community House, please contact us today (07) 3372 1711 | info@ich.org.au.

Community Settlement Service: Men’s Group BBQ Cook-Off

Since 2016, Inala Community House’s Community Settlement Service (CSS) has started a program called Men’s Group to address the wide range of life issues and needs of a specific group of new male arrivals fleeing from the Syrian conflict.

Our Men’s Group is a 10-week program providing a friendly, supportive and positive platform welcoming all participants to form meaningful bonds while engaging in various community-based activities. Our weekly activities include useful information sessions, talks, exercise classes, excursions and more!

Our dedicated staff members and volunteers are always available to provide one-on-one support, advice and referral to other services to better enhance every participant’s settlement journey in Australia.

On Friday 3rd March 2017, our Men’s Group held a special BBQ cook-off at Suttons Beach, Redcliffe. The cook-off event provided an exciting opportunity for participants to celebrate their unique cultures, Aussie love for a barbie, and cooking skills in using lamb cutlets and traditional spices.

Our Community Engagement Services Manager Haley Kiata was invited as the respectable judge in this healthy little competition between both Syrian and Iraqi teams:

“Today’s experience was an overload of my senses with the crisp sea breeze complimenting the fresh BBQ-cooked kebabs. I was informed that only little seasoning was used to not overpower the natural flavours of the meat. Thank you again to all our amazing Men’s Group participants – I can’t express the privilege it was to be part of this day and the happiness it brought me to share in the fun and food with these wonderful men.”

Overall everyone had a great time enjoying great food and company. We look forward in organising more fun and exciting events in future!

At Inala Community House, we always welcome EVERYONE to join our various FREE and FUN activities around the local community. Join us today: (07) 3372 1711 | info@ich.org.au | http://www.ich.org.au.

Community Settlement Service (CSS): Tuesday Homework Club Is Not Just About Homework!

For over 5 years, Inala Community House’s Community Settlement Service (CSS) has been actively running an ‘ICH Homework Club’ – on every Tuesday of the school term from 3pm-4.30pm – at 20 Skylark Street, Inala.

Our ‘ICH Homework Club’ is a free, safe, friendly and supportive service welcoming students of all ages based in Inala and beyond. Our dedicated team of volunteer tutors provides weekly homework or general academic assistance to any drop-in students, especially those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds who may not receive similar opportunities at home.

It is also important to note that some ‘ICH Homework Club’ students come from refugee families whose English is not their first language while facing various other settlement challenges. As a result, ‘ICH Homework Club’ has become not only a source of academic support based on Australian schooling system, but also a nurturing network of positive relationships understanding individual issues, needs and lives.

Our ‘ICH Homework Club’ usually runs for one and a half hour as students are welcome to bring in their homework in a range of subject areas, or to improve general study skills like research, essay writing and time management.

To make things more interesting, our ‘ICH Homework Club’ Coordinator Anushka Abeyewardene has recently introduced more non-homework related activities such as science experiments, story time, printable puzzles and more.

“Our primary objective is still getting the homework done. At the same time, we always brainstorm for more new exciting ideas to inspire the children and encourage a more wholesome learning experience,” said ‘ICH Homework Club’ Coordinator staff Anushka Abeyewardene.

Homework Club goes outdoors: trying out simple, fun and educational science experiments like the Pulley Experiment.

The children were effectively engaged as they started to ask questions and envision how the theory can be applied in real life!

Thank you to our wonderful volunteer tutors including Mr. Andrew Mc Crohon, a teacher and about 10 students from St. John’s Anglican College.

We truly appreciate their dedication in volunteering their time every week to make a positive difference in these children’s lives.

St. John’s Anglican College volunteer student Max leading the story time. We hope to encourage and cultivate the habit of reading books since young.

At ‘ICH Homework Club’, we always welcome new students and volunteer tutors to join us! For more information, please contact us (07) 3372 1711 | info@ich.org.au | www.ich.org.au.

Community Settlement Service: Success Story of English/Citizenship Preparation Class

Inala Community House’s Community Settlement Service (CSS) aims to promote self-reliance of our newly arrived clients and achieve successful long-term settlement in Australian society. Our services commonly include casework, referrals, classes and information sessions covering a wide range of issues according to changing needs.

Meet our Community Engagement staff Anushka Abeyewardene and a satisfied client Yemane Beshou who passed his Australian citizenship test on first try. Congratulations!

Inala Community House’s Community Settlement Service (CSS) offers a FREE English/Citizenship Preparation Class – every Thursday 10am-12pm – at Inala Community House (38 Sittella Street, Inala QLD).

We welcome everyone who requires support in improving your English skills or passing the Australia citizenship test. The Australia citizenship test is in English, consists of 20 multiple choice questions and has a pass mark of 75 per cent. The test is designed for citizenship applicants to demonstrate the satisfaction of legislative requirements in becoming an Australian citizen, including:

  • an understanding of the nature of their application
  • a basic knowledge of the English language
  • an adequate knowledge of Australia and the responsibilities and privileges of citizenship

(For more information about Australia citizenship test: https://www.border.gov.au/Citizenship/Documents/citizenship-test-course-leaflet.pdf)

35-year-old Ethiopian Yemane Beshou is one of our many successful real-life examples of how CSS has helped in his settlement journey in Australia over the years. Back in 2012, Yemane was first referred to our service and became a registered client to receive continuous assistance in various day-to-day issues such as accommodation, job-hunting and most recently, the passing of Australia Citizenship Test.

Since October 2016, our CSS staff Anushka started helping Yemane in the test preparation process. This included filling out necessary forms and documents, providing a cover letter recommendation, translating and communicating with various government departments. Besides one-on-one case management support, Anushka also encouraged Yemane to attend the weekly group English/Citizenship Preparation Class to improve his English skills and self-confidence.

“Anushka has been amazing to work with. She guided me step-by-step throughout the entire process. Initially I wasn’t confident and even thought that I would require special assistance for the Australia Citizenship Test. I finally took the test on 14th February 2017 and passed on first try. I couldn’t believe it! I could never have done this on my own,” said Yemane.

Yemane lives in Inala with his family. He works as a part-time cleaner at Griffith University and is actively looking for a full-time job.

“I would definitely recommend everyone to come to Inala Community House if you need help or support in any life issues,” said Yemane.

Congratulations to Yemane again for officially becoming an Australian. We hope that Yemane’s success story will inspire more people and we look forward in providing greater community settlement support in future.

For more information about our services, please contact Haley Kiata (07) 3372 1711 | info@ich.org.au.

Community Settlement Service: NEW Mother-to-Baby Massage Group

On 8th February 2017 (Wednesday), Inala Community House’s Community Settlement Service staff Seble Tadesse and team were excited to launch our new Mother-to-Baby Massage Group to promote the well-being of mothers and babies of pre-crawling age, especially from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

NEW Mother-to-Baby Massage Group

Date: Every Wednesday

Time: 10-11.30am

Venue: Inala Community House (35 Sittella Street, Inala QLD)

This free 5-week program in partnership with Queensland Mental Health Commission (https://www.qmhc.qld.gov.au) and Communify QLD (http://www.communify.org.au). Our primary aim is to educate women on how to massage, communicate and bond with their children while reducing social isolation.

Say ‘Hello’ to Linda Rylands – one of our Group facilitators!

Linda Rylands is the founder of diversity OT (http://www.diversityot.com.au | https://www.facebook.com/diversityot). Linda has over 10 years of experience in mental health as an occupational therapist, and has more recently gained qualifications as an anthropologist and Okido yoga teacher.

​“I am really excited to be part of this new Mother-to-Baby Massage Group which can offer an opportunity for learning new skills and confidence by bringing together women from diverse cultural backgrounds living in the Inala area,” said our Group Facilitator Linda Rylands.

Meet our other Group Facilitator – Shameera Osman!

Shameera is the founder of Sweetpea Infant Massage (https://www.facebook.com/sweetpeainfantmassage). With her background in occupational therapy, Shameera now works as a qualified infant massage instructor certified by Baby in Mind.

“I feel really privileged to be involved with this group. It offers a supportive, relaxed and friendly environment to learn cue-based infant massage that has many benefits for mother, baby, families and communities in general,” said our Group Facilitator Shameera.

Throughout the one-hour Group session, both our Facilitators – Linda and Shameera – took turns in providing step-by-step instructions, explanations and helpful advices regarding infant massage. Our participants were also actively encouraged to ask questions, discuss and provide feedback regarding individual concerns.

“Keep practising and try to incorporate infant massage into your daily routine. Don’t be afraid to explore and find out what works best for you and your baby. Research has shown that infant massage has various key benefits in terms of your child’s health, development and bonding in the long run,” said our Group Facilitator Linda Rylands.

“I am 40-week pregnant and will be having my first baby. I have no experience in child care and am keen to attend this weekly Group in order to learn how to better communicate and care for my baby,” said 20-year-old Shaima Azizi from Afghanistan. After arriving in Australia, Shaima actively learned English from TAFE and looks forward in being a stay-at-home mom.

The Group session concluded with a complimentary morning tea for all.

If you are an existing or expecting mom, we welcome you to join us! For more information, please contact Seble (07) 3372 1711 | info@ich.org.au.

Kickstart Change: Inala Multicultural Youth Soccer Project

On 6th February 2017 (Monday), Inala Community House’s Community Engagement team hosted an interagency meeting regarding an upcoming Inala Multicultural Youth Soccer Project.

The Meeting was held from 3.30-5pm at Inala Community House Business Centre (38 Sittella Street, Inala QLD 4077 | http://www.ich.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Hall-Hire-DL-Trifold.pdf).

We invited key decision-makers of local schools, community groups and network partners – such as QPASTT, Brisbane City Council and MDA – to collaborate in establishing a new non-profit community-based Inala Multicultural Youth Soccer Project. This Project aims to promote physical health, social cohesion and fair opportunities for all Inala youth, especially those from refugee or less privileged backgrounds.

The Meeting started off with one-on-one Introduction by our diverse mix of attendees and their individual goals for the Project.

“Thank you everyone who has made the time to attend today’s Meeting. Sports can be a great common ground for young people, especially those who may not speak good English. Sports need no language and you can easily connect simply by kicking a ball and having fun together,” said Brisbane City Council Community Development Coordinator Donna Bowe.

At this stage, our primary focus will be to first secure a $20,000 funding grant for the Inala Multicultural Youth Soccer Project.

“We also plan to hire a specialised Project Worker who will closely correspond and address the specific needs of every participating organisation to ensure the overall success of this Project,” said Brisbane City Council Community Development Coordinator Donna Bowe.

This Inala Multicultural Youth Soccer Project is also linked to Inala Community House’s Community Cup (https://www.facebook.com/ICHCommunityCup) which will be a hosting a family-friendly charity soccer tournament later this year. We will also invite sports clubs like Lions Clubs to participate by possibly offering scholarships or reduced fees for less privileged Inala youth.

“Inala State School is interested in engaging students beyond school hours. This Project can educate our children about proper rules and sportsmanship, while overcoming language or cultural barriers. Our grade 3 and 4 boys are the most passionate about playing soccer,” said Inala State School Principal Pam Ruddell.

“At Inala Community House, we are committed to enhancing the lives of our Inala community members. By encouraging youth sports participation, we are building a stronger and healthier community in the long run,” said Community Engagement Manager Haley Kiata.

We encourage ongoing feedback and support from every participating individual and organisation for this Project. If you’d like to get involved, please contact Haley Kiata info@ich.org.au or call (07) 3372 1711 today!

‘My Place’ Family Day Care at Springfield Markets

Since 1975, ‘My Place’ Family Day Care has provided an award-winning Family Day Care service in South-East Queensland. We have proudly served thousands of families with highly affordable and excellent quality child care, winning an overall assessment rating of ‘Exceeding National Quality Standards’.

On Friday 3rd February 2017, ‘My Place’ Family Day Care was pleased to organise an exclusive information stall from 3-8pm at the popular Springfield Markets of Robelle Domain Parklands (155 Southern Cross Circuit Springfield Central, Queensland).

Springfield Markets are typically held on the first Friday of every Month (https://www.springfieldmarkets.com). The Markets feature a great variety of stalls including local arts and craft, food, drinks, culture and local businesses. It offers free public entry as visitors are welcome to bring family and friends to enjoy a leisurely browse, live music and performance, or even a swim at the onsite Lagoon.

As a result, ‘My Place’ Family Day Care team was keen to participate in this family-friendly event on a bustling Friday evening. Our friendly Coordinators had the wonderful opportunity to meet many potential Educators, Children and Families who were interested in our service. In return, we were more than happy to spread the benefits of Family Day Care within our local community!

Free goodie bags were also handed out, including stationery supplies as we encourage lifelong learning – one of our biggest mottos at ‘My Place’ Family Day Care.

Family Day Care provides a 100% nurturing, flexible, all-inclusive education and care that closely supports your child’s growth under one-on-one attention of a professional Educator – which is different from other child care centres.

The Markets’ atmosphere was fun, friendly and lively!

Say cheese – at ‘My Place’ Family Day Care photobooth!

Thank you again to everyone who came and supported ‘My Place’ Family Day Care! We look forward to joining more local community events in raising awareness about Family Day Care benefits and serving Queensland families.

To become an Educator or enrol your child at ‘My Place’ Family Day Care, please visit our website (www.MyPlaceFDC.org.au/find-child-care), call (07) 3372 1711 or e-mail FDCadmin@ich.org.au.

‘My Place’ Family Day Care: Happy Australia Day Playgroup

Since 1975, ‘My Place’ Family Day Care has provided an award-winning Family Day Care service in South-East Queensland. We proudly serve thousands of families with highly affordable and excellent quality child care, winning an overall assessment rating of ‘Exceeding National Quality Standards’.

Happy Australia Day everyone!

On 27th January 2017, ‘My Place’ Family Day Care was excited to celebrate Australia Day via our specially-themed playgroup with our Educators, Children, Families and Friends!

“We love to celebrate Australia Day with our family, friends and the local community. The day is about exploring and embracing what it means to be an Australian. We also teach children about Australian history, culture and traditions to understand this beautiful country that we call home,” said ‘My Place’ Family Day Care Manager Sandi Herbert.

“Australia Day is a truly wonderful opportunity for people to come together as a community and celebrate our country,” said one of our Educators Tammy Stafford.

Our Australia Day Playgroup kicked off – quite literally – with a thong-throwing competition! This provided great opportunities for children to develop hand-eye coordination, body control and self-confidence while having lots of fun.

Ready, Aim, Toss! We’ve got some serious thong-throwing potential here.

Another main Australia Day themed activity was children learning how to make vegemite sandwiches themselves! All children were taught to thoroughly wash their hands, make positive food choices and preparing their own meal from start to finish. All under the supervision of Educators and Coordinators, of course!

Everyone also got to enjoy lamington slices as side treats.

Involving little ones in meal planning can help spark interest in what they are eating. Children can learn to make decisions about food helps and develop healthy habits that will last a lifetime.

Besides that, we organised various fun and educational activities like water sensory play and making Australian flags throughout the playgroup session.

Educator Zoe O’Donohue with two boys in her care: one-year-old Cooper and 2-year-old Ezekiel. Zoe is one of our most experienced Educators who has been with our service for 25 years and counting!

You can view Zoe’s Educator Profile here: http://myplacefdc.org.au/care-centre/zoe-odonohue/

“Besides the usual Australia Day celebrations, I teach the children about the significance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and heritage as well. This is to pay tribute to the survival and resilience of Australia’s first people,” said Educator Zoe O’Donohue.

Everyone is welcome to join our weekly playgroup to encourage social interaction, learning and fun with other Educators, Children and Families! Contact us via FDCadmin@ich.org.au or (07) 3372 1711.

Community Engagement Services: NEW Goodna Transitional Housing

Inala Community House Community Engagement services have been witnessing a noticeable increase in homelessness, especially among our more vulnerable clients.

In fact, homelessness can affect anyone of various backgrounds and circumstances. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, approximately 20,000 people in Queensland experience homelessness – which is 1 in every 200 Queenslanders (https://www.qld.gov.au/housing/emergency-temporary-accommodation/homelessness-prevention/).

As a result, our Community Engagement team has started to offer a NEW transitional housing service – which is a temporary shared accommodation facility in Goodna to help people with housing difficulties.

This facility will serve as a safe, clean and positive space for our clients and families to live temporarily, as we assist them to find more stable long-term accommodation.

This facility has a total of 5 comfortable bedrooms with common cooking and living spaces. We will be able to accommodate either single clients or those with a small family.

This initiative is the result of overwhelmingly high demand from clients experiencing or at risk of homelessness with no eligibility of immediate support from other services. Safe and secure accommodation is a basic human need and unfortunately there is not enough supply for the high demand of housing support services.

Thankfully, Inala Community House board and management have dedicated the Goodna office and allowed our Community Engagement services to use it for this transitional housing project. Homelessness is often the result from a multitude of issues going on in people’s lives. The stress and trauma of homelessness can lead to further problems such as health decline, social isolation and more. Our goal is to provide a safe and supportive space where clients can catch their breaths, gather their thoughts and start addressing the problems that led to their accommodation and financial hardships.

From there we can develop practical support plans that encourage clients to address and overcome obstacles so they may reach their goals. This journey will vary for different people but we want the end results to always be the same – suitable and affordable housing achieved by the client because of the choices they made.

Please note that the accommodation will be offered to those who meet our assessment criteria and are found to have difficulties in securing suitable temporary accommodation due to changes in living circumstances.

If you have any questions or feedback about our Community Engagement’s transitional housing service, please contact us today (07) 3372 1711 info@ich.org.au.