NEW BRAND LAUNCH
31st October, 2019
On Tuesday the 29th of October, MARSS Australia Inc. officially launched its new name, logo and branding. Ngunnawal Elder, Mrs Jannette Phillips presented a Welcome to Country, and our MC, ABC’s Adrienne Francis, commenced the proceedings. We also had addresses from the Governor General of the Commonwealth of Australia, His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Retd); Chairperson of the Board of Management, Andrew Alwast; and Chief Executive Officer, Dewani Bakkum.
GOVERNMENT HOUSE OPEN DAY STALL
20th October, 2019
MARSS held a stall at the Government House Open Day on the 12th of October. The public had the opportunity to meet and learn about the work of the 30+ charities and community groups that are supported by the patronage of the Governor General of Australia and Mrs Hurley. This includes MARSS Australia Inc. whose patron is His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Retd). Guests could also meet their Excellencies Governor General and Mrs Hurley, explore their residences - which are some of Australia’s most historic properties, and tour their gardens.
SCHOOL HOLIDAY PROGRAMS
20th October, 2019
Children and families were taken on a tour of Parliament House on the 9th of October. The tour was run by the APH education manager and was a great opportunity to learn about Australia’s parliamentary democracy. The tour included visiting and discovering the two chambers, the Senate and the House of Representatives, and an explanation about the Australian Government, opposition and the people who help the Parliament do its work. The education program also included a play conducted by the participants about the process of how to legislate a law in Australia.
Children and families were invited to a tour of Old Parliament House and the Museum of Australian Democracy (MoAD) on the 10th of October. Participants found out how Australia has become a vibrant, multicultural democratic nation, and how citizens can participate in determining its future. There were innovative exhibitions, tours of the Senate and the House of Representatives, and children’s activities in the Senate garden, as well as the spaces such as PlayUP, DressUP, Use Your Voice Zine Lounge, and Superhero museum trail.
BELCONNEN OFFICE LAUNCH
19th September, 2019
The launch of our new Belconnen Office was on the 6th of September. Our new premises are located in Level 3 of the Belconnen Churches Centre, 54 Benjamin Way, Belconnen, ACT, 2617. There was an opening address by Chris Steel MLA the Minister for Multicultural Affairs, and Minister for Transport and City Services; Community Services and Facilities. There was a performance of African drumming by Charles Koker and refreshments were provided.
SAPPHIRE COAST EXCURSION
4th August, 2019
38 of Canberra’s refugees and migrants were given a glimpse of the treasures and adventures the Sapphire Coast has to offer when they departed from in front of the ACT Legislative Assembly for Pambula on Thursday 4 July at 3pm. The group, comprised 10 families from 4 nationalities, will travelled by chartered coach to Pambula Beach where they stayed with host families for a four-day long weekend. MARSS Australia Inc. has, for the second year, organised this unique experience in partnership with the Social Justice Advocates of the Sapphire Coast.
The Social Justice Advocates organised for the group to be billeted by Sapphire Coast locals, who were looking forward to opening their homes and sharing their beautiful part of the world with these refugee and migrant families. MARSS’ Chief Executive Officer Mrs Dewani Bakkum said the families were be encouraged to get involved in activities organised by the Social Justice Advocates of the Sapphire Coast throughout the weekend, including sport, musical or dance jam sessions, or in whichever way they feel comfortable. “This will be an experience that will stay in the hearts of our groups as much as it will be embedded in the hearts of their hosts,” Mrs Bakkum said.
Our clients families departed from MARSS on Thursday 4th July. On our trip, we had breaks to explore Cooma and Brown Mountain. We were greeted with a reception at the Anglican Annexe, where our client families were introduced to the families that would host them and received a rundown of the weekend activities. Clients left with their host families to have dinner at their respective homes. On Friday 5th July our client families visited Lumen Christie Catholic College and Bega Primary School for a meet & greet. They went on tours of the libraries, gardens and playgrounds from the students.
In the morning of the 6th of July, we went to Bournda Education Centre for some activities at the National Park. Following this we had a BBQ lunch run by local volunteers. After that we went to a park for more fun and games. A local prominent Aboriginal gave our clients a Welcome to Country, complete with a smoking ceremony, dancing, and a musical performance of Indigenous instruments. On Sunday the 7th of July, our clients gathered at Spencer Park at Merimbula for some free time to play and lunch. After this, our clients said their goodbyes to the generous families that they had spent a lot of time with during the last four days. We then boarded the bus and returned to Canberra.
For interviews and photos, contact MARSS Manager Naresh Gunasekere on 0450 443 556.
IN HER WORDS
1st July, 2019
On Saturday the 15th of June, the Empowering Women for Action towards Zero Tolerance Program finished with the performance of “In Her Words”. The program is funded by the ACT Government Office for Women, with equipment sponsored by Sidestage Productions. In Her Words was written, designed and performed by a local all-women cast , all hailing from CALD communities. They met in weekly rehearsals to connect with each other and share movements and music from their various backgrounds. These contributions were woven together under the artistic direction of Padma Menon to form the performance. “In Her Words” showcased the strengths of women through traditional dance, storytelling, poetry, music and film. See some photos from the performance below.
The performance was preceded by speeches from Chair of the Board, Andrew Alwast; ACT Minister for Women; MLA Yvette Berry, and Director, Padma Menon. After the performance there was a book launch of “Savannah to Suburbia” with Authors Mary Edmunds and El-Gack; and Professor Jen Webb, Director of the Centre for Creative and Cultural Research at the University of Canberra. In this book, local women who have migrated from Sudan share their experiences of settlement, and MARSS has sponsored the publication. All attendees were given a box of sweets to celebrate Eid. We raised $1870 from ticket sales. These proceeds were donated to two local not-for-profit organisations that help multicultural Canberran women experiencing Domestic Violence: Domestic Violence Crisis Service and Beryl Women’s Refuge.
INVITATION: IN HER WORDS
10th June, 2019
This program focuses on educating culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) women about Domestic and Family Violence (DFV), empowering them to speak about it, recognise the signs, and reduce it. The program is women’s only and is funded by the ACT Government Office for Women, with equipment sponsored by Sidestage Productions.
MARSS is continuing the program with rehearsals leading up to a theatrical production. A diverse group of women meet in weekly to connect with each other and share movements and music from their various backgrounds. These movements and music are woven together under the experienced guidance of Padma Menon. The performance “In Her Words” will showcase the strengths of women through traditional dance, storytelling, poetry, music and film. In Her Words is written, designed and performed by a local all-women, all CALD cast. Below you can find what the participants had to say about the program.
After the performance there will also be a book launch of “Savannah to Suburbia”. In this local women who have migrated from Sudan share their experiences of settlement, and MARSS has sponsored them to print the book. All attendees will be given a box of sweets to celebrate Eid. Proceeds from ticket sales will go towards two local not-for-profit organisations that help multicultural women experiencing Domestic Violence: Domestic Violence Crisis Service and Beryl Women’s Refuge.
Image Credit: Barbie Robinson, Writing with Light
IN HER WORDS
6:30pm, Saturday 15th June
Hawker College Theatre
SAPPHIRE COAST EXCURSION
15th May, 2019
47 of Canberra’s refugees and migrants were given a glimpse of the treasures and adventures the Sapphire Coast had to offer. The group, comprising 12 families from 6 nationalities, will travel by chartered coach from Canberra to Pambula Beach where they will stay with host families for a four-day long weekend. MARSS Australia Inc. has for the second year, organised this unique experience in partnership with the Social Justice Advocates of the Sapphire Coast. The Social Justice Advocates have organised for the group to be billeted by Sapphire Coast locals, who are looking forward to opening their homes and sharing their beautiful part of the world with these refugee and migrant families.
Our clients families arrived departed from MARSS on Thursday 11th April. On our trip we had breaks to explore Cooma and Brown Mountain. We were greeted with a reception at the Anglican Annexe, where our client families were introduced to the families that would host them. Clients left with their host families to have dinner at their respective homes.
On Friday 12th of April, our client families visited Tanja Primary School and Bega Primary School for a meet & greet. They went on tours of the libraries, gardens and playgrounds from the students. After lunch, they were welcomed in a assembly with traditional Indigenous dances.
In the morning of Saturday the 13th of April, we assembled on Pambula beach for a picnic. It was a beautiful sunny day, perfect for the families to enjoy some fun in the sand and surf. Lifesavers from the local Surf Rescue even treated some of our clients to rides on their life-raft. After that we went to a park for more fun and games. A local prominent Aboriginal gave our clients a Welcome to Country, complete with a smoking ceremony, dancing, and a musical performance of Indigenous instruments. Following this we had a BBQ lunch run by local volunteers. Our clients participated in fun and games, including a performance for our generous hosts and volunteers.
Our clients gathered at Ford park at Merimbula for some free time to play and lunch on Sunday the 14th of April. After this, our clients said their goodbyes to the generous families that they had spent a lot of time with during the last four days, we then boarded the bus and returned to Canberra.
HARMONY SPORTS CARNIVAL
29th April, 2019
On Saturday the 23rd of March, MARSS celebrated Harmony Day with our annual Sports Carnival. Elizabeth Kikkert MLA was in attendance and shared her thoughts on Harmony Day and how sport could be used to bring Harmony amongst diverse cultures.
The tournaments for futsal and volleyball were played in round-robin style with local sports teams with diverse players. Winners of their tournament were presented with a ball signed by the ministers and players from the MARSS Harmony Sports Teams received medals. Goody bags were given to all players and refreshments were provided throughout the day.The tournaments for futsal and volleyball were played in round-robin style with local sports teams with diverse players. Winners of their tournament were presented with a ball signed by the ministers and players from the MARSS Harmony Sports Teams received medals. Goody bags were given to all players and refreshments were provided through the day.
MULTICULTURAL LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM GRADUATION
3rd April, 2019
On Friday the 22nd of March students from the conclusion of the first 2 implementations of the Multicultural Leadership Development Program (MLDP). We had speeches from CEO Dewani Bakkum, Mina Zaki, MARSS Chairman Andrew Alwast. Alistair Coe MLA, Elizabeth Kikkert MLA and consultant and trainer David Simpson. The students also shared their experiences gained from participating in the MLDP. This was followed by the presentation of certificates of completion to the participants by our chief guests.
The MLDP enhanced the communication, managerial, business, media, planning and event delivery skills of existing and potential leaders of migrant communities so they can learn and improve their leadership skills. This will assist them in advocating their needs and interests with local government and other agencies, landlords and businesses to assist individual migrants and their families find employment, education, training and social integration. If you are interested in participating in the next sessions of MLDP, please contact MARSS.
STATEMENT ON THE MOSQUE SHOOTINGS, CHRISTCHURCH, NZ
18th March, 2019
The Board and Staff of MARSS Australia Inc. joins all good people in New Zealand and Australia in condemning most strongly the abhorrent and barbaric act of violence and terrorism in Christchurch. We sympathise with the victims of this act, and with all New Zealanders so deeply shaken by this outrage.
MARSS condemns all senseless acts of terrorism and violence directed against defenceless civilians, wherever they happen to live as violating values shared by all civilised people, regardless of their race, ethnicity and religion.
MARSS strongly opposes all extremist ideologies, especially those embracing hatred and violence and condemns all preachers and supporters of such toxic views.
MARSS calls on the Australian and New Zealand Governments to take all appropriate measures to prevent such terrorist acts and to counter and stop the dissemination of all such toxic ideologies which threaten to destroy our multicultural way of life.
Andrew Alwast Dewani Bakkum
Board Chairman Chief Executive Officer
INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY
13th March, 2019
MARSS celebrated International Women’s Day on the Friday the 8th of March and we celebrated with a brunch. We had speeches by MLAs Suzanne Orr and Elizabeth Kikkert, and 2 performances by MARSS dancing group.
Lynne Johnson, coordinator of MARSS Sewing and Craft Class presented on the work this women’s group has achieved. Textile products made by these women are now on display in the Theo Notaras Multicultural Centre’s Foyer and are available for purchase. Padma Menon, internationally well-known choreographer and director of MARSS’s production spoke about In Her Words.
NATIONAL MULTICULTURAL FESTIVAL
20th February, 2019
On Saturday 16th February, MARSS held it’s stall at the National Multicultural Festival 2019. The festival is a chance for the various cultural and ethnic communities that make up Australia and it’s capital to showcase their culture through food, dress, song and dance. The MARSS stall sold out of all the food. One happy customer said that of all the samosas he had tried that day, MARSS samosas were the tastiest!
15th January, 2019
We are putting on a theatre performance with an all-female, all-migrant background cast, and are seeking potential performers from various backgrounds. It’s completely beginner friendly, no previous performing arts experience is expected, a good way to make friends, get active and best of all, it’s free!
It will showcase the strengths of multicultural women through traditional dance, poetry, music and more using stories of folk heroines, female relatives, historical figures, goddesses etc. The director Padma Menon (Moving Archetypes) has done similar community projects around the world. Ticket sales from this show will be split between 3 charities that help multicultural women in Canberra (MARSS, Beryl Women’s Refuge and Domestic Violence Crisis Service).
We’ll be having a Come and Try Day Sunday 10th February from 1-2pm at the Theo Notaras Multicultural Centre where you can get a flavour of what the rest of the program will be like. Following there will be almost weekly rehearsals on Sundays from 1-3pm leading up to the performance on Saturday evening, 15th of June. If you need more information or want to participate, email or call 6248 8577.