Council celebrates Refugee Week

Kenny Nguyen of Saigon Chopsticks at The Entrance is featured in If These Walls Could Talk

Central Coast Council will celebrate the region’s growing multicultural communities with a range of initiatives that share their stories and contributions as part of Refugee Week (June 19-25).

This year’s theme, Healing, acknowledges the importance of connection to place and community, where shared experiences can assist with building human connection and a sense of belonging.

Council’s Unit Manager Community and Culture, Glenn Cannard, said the Central Coast is home to many multicultural communities.

“According to the Department of Home Affairs, between 2012-2022, over 4300 migrant families have made the Central Coast their home and speak over 73 different languages,” he said.

“These community members have either migrated or sought refuge to settle in our beautiful region.

“Council welcomes and celebrates diversity and values the range of identities, lifestyles and experiences of all community members, making the Central Coast an inclusive place to live, work and play for everyone.”

Council has developed a series of initiatives to support, share and celebrate multicultural communities during Refugee Week.

If These Walls Could Talk is a visual storytelling project which shares the voices of eight migrant business owners from The Entrance and Woy Woy.

The stories highlight the adversity faced by many recent settlers in our country, and how each harnessed the capacity to build a business and life on the Central Coast.

One of the stories is of Kenny Nguyen, owner of Saigon Chopsticks at The Entrance.

He and his hardworking family have an incredible story of how they created a beautiful homage to Vietnamese street food culture after fleeing a violent regime in Saigon in the 1980s.

Discover his and other stories and images online, or by visiting a pop-up exhibition at Anderson Memorial Park, Woy Woy, from June 20.

The visual storytelling book, Home, created in 2022, will be available at local libraries from June 20, showcasing the diverse voices of the Central Coast’s migrant communities.

The book photographic portraits and written stories that represent refugees, new arrivals and established migrant communities.

It also includes a First Nations welcome note and ceremony delivered by Local Elder, Uncle Gavi Duncan, a proud Gomillaroi, Mandandanji and Awaba man.

A booklist highlighting community language resources is available at the region’s libraries.

Community members can also enquire at their local library branch about accessing multicultural information and resources online through the NSW State Library.

Local service information for residents with English as a second language can be sourced through Northern Settlement Services, Central Coast Council, and relevant community organisations from Sunday, June 19.

The resource was developed through a partnership with Northern Settlement Service and Central Coast Multicultural Interagency.

Information is displayed through accessible plain English format and infographics, suitable for migrants and new arrivals with limited English.

It communicates information about local services including health, community, education, training and employment.

Council Administrator, Rik Hart, said coming together during Refugee Week, is an opportunity for everyone in the community to reflect upon and celebrate the many cultures that make up the fabric of our region.

“We are extremely lucky to have a community that is built on a diverse range of cultures and backgrounds,” he said.

“It is important we continue to foster that sense of belonging, where all community members feel confident in sharing and celebrating their stories.”

Source:
Media release, Jun 16
Central Coast Council

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