30 May 2018

Free Multicultural Women's Expo this Saturday packed full of discussion, information & stallholders

| Sophia Brady
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CMWF committee members with training facilitator – consultation held in partnership with UNIC. Photos: Supplied.

The Canberra Multicultural Women’s Forum (CMWF) has an upcoming information expo this Saturday the 2nd of June from 11 am-2 pm at the Hellenic Club in the City.

The Multicultural Women’s Expo will give attendees the opportunity to access material from various service providers that are specific to multicultural women in the ACT and surrounds. Deputy Chief Minister and the Minister for Women, Yvette Berry will be opening the expo before a relaxed afternoon of food, tea, coffee and knowledge sharing.

Laura Aoun, Chair of the Canberra Multicultural Women’s Forum, has a strong background in teaching and government policy and has been an active member of the multicultural community, having been involved in establishing cultural associations, ethnic broadcasting and diaspora organisations. “The Canberra Multicultural Women’s Forum was established in March 2017 and it aims to represent and advocate for the interests and concerns of multicultural women in the ACT,” she said. “CMWF also provides a network for these women as well as providing capacity building opportunities. We have held many events in partnership with renowned organisations such as the UNIC (United Nations Information Centre) as well as Bluestar amongst others. Our objective is to influence policy through meaningful and culturally relevant as well as far-reaching consultation.”

“The expo comes as a wrap-up event concluding the consultation project funded by the ACT Office for Women. This saw CMWF hold a series of 7 consultations in 7 different language groups where we sought to pioneer new, innovative and effective ways of culturally relevant consultation. We consulted with the communities on their experience accessing services and their recommendations – services includes those around domestic violence, education, legal, health and others.”

“The expo then brings together a whole host of service providers to interact with multicultural women and offer information in a culturally sensitive matter about the ways that relevant services are potentially customised to cater for their needs, or how this could be improved upon.”

Laura Aoun, Chair of CMWF; Diana Abdel-Rahman, deputy Chair of Canberra Multicultural Community Forum; and Saba Awan, Secretary of CMWF.

Through the consultation process and findings, Laura said: “Multicultural women in the ACT and surrounds have told us that they face isolation, they face challenges accessing services that cater to their needs especially of language, cultural sensitivity and relevance. They do not see themselves represented equally in all areas of employment, leadership and participation. They want to feel like they are more than just a token gesture but brought into the crux of service delivery and policy.”

Giving Multicultural women in the ACT and surrounds the opportunity to access service providers is key, and the stallholders reflect this need. According to Laura, those that will be in attendance at the expo include: Domestic Violence Community Service, 1800 Respect, ACT Health, Centrelink, Canberra Institute of Technology, CMS Community radio, AIDS Action Council, Capital Health Network, Breast-screening ACT, Salvation Army, Northside Community Service, Woden Community Service, Belconnen Community Service, Communities at Work, Fairwork, Multicultural Youth Service, Ombudsman ACT, Breastfeeding ACT, Relationships Australia, Global Sisters, Climate Change, Transport Canberra, Libraries ACT and Hepatitis ACT.

CMWF consultation with a language community.

If you would like to attend The Multicultural Women’s Expo on the 2nd of June from 11 am-2 pm at the Hellenic Club in the City at 13 Moore Street, Civic, register online.

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