Community Visitors Scheme celebrates 30 year anniversary

8 November 2022

Our Community Visitor’s Scheme (CVS) supports vulnerable and isolated people by matching dedicated volunteers with consideration given to diverse languages, cultures, ethnicity and interests. Last financial year our volunteers provided 2,163 connections through phone calls, face-to-face, digital connection and written communication

People in Victoria reported the highest level of loneliness 32.6% followed by NSW 14.6% and the rest of Australia at12.5%

One in two (50.5%) Australians feel lonely for at least:  one day in a week, while one in four (27.6%) feel lonely for three or more days. Which means, nearly 55% of the population feel they lack companionship.

Last Thursday, SMRC celebrated the 30th anniversary of CVS with our fun-loving volunteers! We enjoyed the tasty food of Afghan Rahimi Restaurant, dancers, singers and magicians from TW Musix and games that got the whole room up on their feet!

The friendship and connection that volunteers provide in the local community serves as a reminder that they can make someone’s day with a simple smile filled with compassion and empathy.

Volunteer with us today to make a difference in the community.

Carers Week recognises and celebrates carers and their outstanding role

26 October 2022

On Tuesday 18th October, SMRC hosted a spectacular Carers Celebration for all our carers. Over 40 people enjoyed different activities, a gentle massage, Filipino performance, dancing, Bingo and a multicultural lunch topped off with a large chocolate cake!

After two years, it was a joyous occasion to have 39 Clow St packed with smiling faces.

It was a great time to celebrate and thank our carers for all their unpaid work they provide to their families and friends

Find out more about our Carer’s Program.

Sangeeta, India

14 October 2022

Sangeeta was surrounded by the beauty of dance since she was four years old. Her family had a deep connection to dance and music and encouraged her to do competitions all over India. “Dance is my first love. It has so many contributions in my life. So I don’t want to lose that identity.”

Another love in drew her to Sri Lanka and on to immigrate to Australia in 2017. “For the first few years, only my husband was the bread earner. I think he had faced many challenges and he kept me free from all those difficulties.” Like many newly arrived migrants, Sangeeta couldn’t help but feel a sense of loneliness wash over her as she fell pregnant. However, it was the universal language of dance that connected her to the community she was seeking.

“A place that is unknown to me suddenly became people beside me now. I know each and everybody in this community, so it is only because of SMRC”.

She needed something to spark her happiness again and dance was that outlet. “I know the name SMRC reflects that they are an organisation for the improvement of refugee and migrant lives. I feel like I’m the best example of this I think because I have no PR (permanent residence) or citizenship. What exactly is SMRC doing? I’m a life example.” Whilst currently on her student visa studying a Bachelor of Nursing, Sangeeta reflects on her motto in life, “Now as a mother of two, I want to build my life to feed them because they deserve a good life.” Sangeeta is passionate about sharing her Indian culture through the universal expression of dance; “Everybody can understand the feeling … everybody has their own story.”

Fun and good times an emphasis for Seniors Week Celebration

7 October 2022

Four of our Social Support Groups came together on Monday at Springvale Community Centre for a fun filled Seniors Week Celebration! We had a wonderful day of activities with singing, a magician and a fashion parade. The hall was adorned with vibrant decorations and photos showcasing the years achievements for all. Around 80 energetic clients were up dancing with their friends, enjoying the delicious multicultural food and showing off their love for fun and new experiences.

We’d like to thank all the staff, coordinators and volunteers who worked hard to make this event a real success and bring a smile to our groups.

Youth Arts and Literature Exhibition opening night an inspirational success

28 September 2022

SMRC hosted the Youth Arts and Literature Exhibition opening night on Monday 26th October at local Connection Arts Space in Dandenong.

Around 20 extraordinary submissions were made from a diverse range of young people all showcasing a display of talent and commitment. The night saw local community and families showing their support and recognition for the artwork and exhibition. Under the theme of ‘GROUNDED’, we heard the emotional and inspiring stories and life journeys captured through literacy and art. The art will be proudly displayed at Connection Arts Space, 1-9 Walker St, Dandenong until 26th October.

SMRC would like to thank the judges, Connection Arts Space, Zart Art and Casey Cardinia Library for their support in making the exhibition a success.

The competition winners:

Adult Art Competition age 18-25

  • Naz Ahmadi
  • Fatima Sarmand

Adult Literature/ Writing Competition age 18-25

  • Asma Kakar

Junior Art Competition age 12-17

  • Abdullah Andalib
  • Nelofar Sarabi

Junior Literature/Writing Competition age 12-17

  • Gulsika Kakar

Evi, Ukraine

28 September 2022

Ievgeniia – or Evi as her friends call her – is passionate about using her connection to several cultures to bring happiness to others. Originally from Ukraine, she has been living in Australia for almost 10 years after living in Greece following her marriage. “Because it was the second time, I moved from another country, so I came, and I was already prepared.”

Her resilience to new environments pushed her to make friends and seek a career in an Aged Care facility right next door to her house. Years later, it was a social media interaction with SMRC where “[she] saw some Facebook posts, and then I started following, and then I found the course for bicultural workers.”

After completing her Introduction to Bicultural Language Work course, Evi successfully interviewed and was onboarded as an SMRC bicultural worker with the Enliven CALD Communities Taskforce.

“I met a lot of people from different cultural backgrounds and learn some new stuff from them. And I heard a lot of stories, which is sometimes heartbroken. But I’m still unfamiliar to [some] culture. But that’s why you’re learning some new culture for you and then it’s better for connection.”

Evi continues to draw from her connection to culture. “Community Services is a bit more about communication. And it’s like, you’re supporting people who [are] left a bit behind because of some language barrier, especially people who just came, or elderly ones. So, you’re just helping them to be updated with all information.” Evi’s goal in life is to go with the flow. “It’s a little bit odd because my country, I’m from Ukraine, it’s a war there. So, part of my soul and I’m here, but mentally I’m there. With family. I’m just going day-by-day.”

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