Global cuisines in the form of curries, Asian noodles, devilled eggs and Turkish gozlemes were shared at an inaugural South Bunbury Welcome Dinner party.
People of all ages and cultural backgrounds congregated at St Augustine Uniting Church on Saturday night where new friendships were nurtured and many a laugh was shared.
Organised by local Sharna Mensah, the aim of the dinner was to bring people together of all ages and cultural backgrounds and to strengthen connections between newly arrived and established Australians.
Mrs Mensah said she had recently returned to reside in the South West and was thrilled to see a visibly more multicultural community than when she left 10 years ago.
“Having a newly arrived Australian partner and as a teacher in the AMEP program, I was very aware of the difficulties facing many newly arrived people to form connections with established Australians,” she said.
“I attended a community dinner in Perth and loved the experience of sharing food and stories with such diverse dinner guests and this confirmed my decision to get involved.
“I decided I would volunteer to get things started in the South West as I could see just how valuable the project would be.”
Mrs Mensah said the response to the project had been immense, with many established Australians putting their hands up to volunteer to host home dinners.
“There is a huge amount of goodwill in the community to reach out to newly arrived Australians and to actively welcome them to our country and the South West – we already have a waiting list,” she said.
“It is such a refreshing change from the often negative responses we see publicised in the media.
“We are also working with the Bunbury Multicultural Group and other individuals working with newly arrived Australians to spread the word and to get more newly arrived Australians on our database.”
Follow The Welcome Dinner Project – South West on Facebook for information on future events.
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