by Bev Jordan
State minister for Multiculturalism and Disability Services Ray Williams was special guest of the Community Migrant Resource Centre (CMRC) on Monday to meet staff and program partners.
CMRC which now operates in the North West has spent over 20 years working newly arrived migrants and refugees in Western Sydney.
Mr Williams thanked the staff for all they do. “We are the most culturally diverse nation on earth and the most cohesive …you are the reason we have a cohesive society.”
CEO Melissa Montiero said the aim of CMRC programs was to equip new arrivals with the skills to become fully participating members of the community and give back.
Services include settlement advice, community development activities, training, English and employment programs.
There are over 25 bilingual staff.
BusinessConnect, which is funded until June, offers advice for new arrivals from the Chinese, Korean, Vietnam and Arabic speaking communities on how to start up a new business in Australia. In the past financial year it has helped 500 clients.
Aurelia Rahman spoke about the settlement services program which she said responds to the needs of recently arrived migrants and helps them achieve community participation.
In the last financial year more than 1500 clients were helped, with English, education and employment the main focus.
She said: “Obstacles include the lack of work experience opportunities.”
The Youth support program is focussed on providing pathways to education and employment.
The Early intervention and program for young families is seeing around 280 families a month as well as running workshops.
The Building safer communities program has been working with the Make Bullying History Foundation to provide programs in local school to foster “healthy attitudes”.
Brett Murray from the Foundation said: “We are teaching (students) what respect is and Investing in the next generation of young people .”
Another collaboration is with the Positive Vibes Foundation which has resulted in a series of workshops at the At The Corner venue in Arthur St, Baulkham Hills.
To find out more visit cmrc.com.au