21st December, 2018

On the 20th of December 2018 we celebrated the end of another busy year at our annual Christmas Party. Over 300 clients, volunteers and members of the MARSS family joined us for dinner and festivities in the Function Hall.

There were performances from MARSS dancing group and the MARSS teacher Maneerat’s choir singing Christmas carols. Certificates of appreciation and gifts were presented to our generous volunteers. Children also received gifts from Santa himself!



30th November, 2018

The International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women was on the 25th of November, 3 days later we held our final workshop for the In Her Words Program, which featured 4 presentations:

  1. Padma Menon of Moving Archetypes – what to expect from the In Her Words dance production

  2. Roberta James, Team Leader of Domestic Violence Crisis Service – definition, forms and dynamics of domestic violence.

  3. Laura Aoun, representative of culturally and linguistically diverse people on the Domestic Violence Prevention Council – data from the ACT from a recent report commissioned to the Canberra Multicultural Women's Forum and complex forms of DV that apply to CALD communities. 

  4. Sally Hardiman and Dominique from the Australian Federal Police’s Family Violence Co-ordination Unit - When/how to approach for help (access to local service providers and risks involved), Response to domestic violence calls and how domestic violence is dealt with in Australia

All participants were invited to come to the ANU School of Art & Design’s Graduating Exhibition 2018 after the presentations, as an opportunity to continue conversation, meet other migrant women and unwind following discussion of heavy topics.

We had a great turnout of 43 women from 23 different countries, on average they rated the workshop 9.15/10 with half the participants rating it a 10. 88.8% of clients said they can talk about DV to their friends, family or community members which is extremely high considering that it may be a taboo topic in their cultures. The written feedback indicated the presentations were helpful, informative and useful for knowing where to go to get help.


Although that was the last of the women's only workshops, the In Her Words Program will continue in the form of theatre performance next year! It will showcase the strengths of multicultural women through stories of folk heroines, goddesses, and inspiring women. It will use dance, music, poetry and more to break the stereotype that domestic violence is endorsed in their cultures. Rehearsals will begin in 2019 and the production will take place on the 15th of June. If you are a multicultural woman with cultural myths, stories, songs, poetry or music that inspires you, we'd love to have you participate



29th October, 2018

On the 11th of October, MARSS celebrated the International Day of the Girl Child with the first women’s only workshop of our new In Her Words program. It featured a series of 3 talks:

  1. Padma Menon of Moving Archetypes – what to expect from the EWFATZO dance production

  2. Claudia Maclean and Lauren of ACT Women’s Legal Centre – definitions and forms of domestic violence, Australian law and order measures, and access to local service providers.

  3. Linda Hayden and Chelsea Malinee of Beryl Women’s Inc. – preventative measures, when and how to get help (and risks involved) and access to local service providers.

In the adjacent room we had volunteers to engage clients’ children in painting activities during the talks. Both groups were invited to come to Floriade after the presentations, as an opportunity to continue conversation, meet other migrant women and unwind following the discussion. 


The workshop had an overwhelmingly positive response, with the average rating being 9.13/10 with over half the participants rating it a 10! Speakers were considered easy to understand, relevant and helpful and gave women more understanding of the topics than before the workshop. 64.7% of respondents said they would be able to talk to friends, family or community members about domestic violence,  which is very positive given its taboo nature. All the feedback form respondents (3/4s of participants) said they would be interested in or recommend future workshops.

This program will also continue in the form of a theatrical performance showcasing the strengths of multicultural women and breaking the stereotype that domestic violence is endorsed in their cultures. Rehearsals will begin in 2019 and the production will take place June. If you are a multicultural woman with cultural myths, stories, songs, poetry or music that inspires you, we'd love to have you participate


Our next workshop will be held on the 28th of November from midday with 3 new speakers and a trip to the gallery, contact us to attend or for more information. If you are a man interested in these topics, we also hold Men's Outreach Workshops. Our last one was held on the 27th of October and will return next year, express interest here



28th September, 2018

On Wednesday September 26, Judith's Wednesday morning English class was driven to Floriade. We were delighted Lyn, another teacher, could join us. The two hours were very well spent learning the English names of flowers. It was also a great opportunity to both learn and revise English words for the vast range of colours.


The grounds were not too crowded and the variety of stalls and products on display provided even more opportunities for English language learning. On Friday the 28th of September, Friday's English Advanced class also went to Floriade to enjoy the colours of spring. 


20th August, 2018

On the 15th of August MARSS held their seasonal Multicultural Matters meeting (MuMaMe). The MuMaMe invites Canberran organisations that provide services for and affecting multicultural clients to attend and speak about what they offer and any issues they would like MARSS to take forward. In this meeting we had Warrick Eppelstun from Unitingcare Kippax presenting on Home Interaction Program for Parents and Youngsters (HIPPY) Belconnen and Chief Magistrate Walker from the ACT Magistrates Court explaining the court process and suggestions from A Path to Justice: Migrant and Refugee Women’s Experience of the Courts.


15th July, 2018

Program for After School Studies is concluding for another term, and we're celebrating with a trip to the cinemas with our students on the 10th of July. We're very proud of our students who are graduating this semester! They left us some comments about how the program has helped during their studies.


"The teachers are very kind. They always try to teach carefully, truly, sincerely and their advices are correct. I wish to thank them from the bottom of my heart and it was the best opportunity to know this program. And there were some delicious snacks to work my brain.


Writing essays and reports is the main homeworks, so there are lots of grammatically wrong things to fix. A teacher teached it and it was helpful. Also I have some questions in math. A teacher explains how the formula is made and how to solve the questions." -Jin Jang


"I like the fact that all students have their own tutor to help with our assignments. MARSS has actually help me a lot. I understand the topics I couldn't understand in school." -Kelsang Dolkes

"I like when I have some things or some times I don't understand the words, they help me a lot. [They] always try to teach carefully. They helped me [with] a lot of homework and what I don't understand. I can write easier and also reading easier. Thank you :)" -Inthira


21st June, 2018

On the 19th of June, MARSS celebrated the contributions refugees have made to Australia on International Refugee Day. Refugee week throughout Australia aim to understand the diversity, difficulties faced, hope, and strength of refugees through various types of events. In our function, we had several of our clients dance and speak about their refugee journeys including a performance by MARSS' own dance class. We capped these with speeches from our CEO, Chairman and MLA Rachael Stephen-Smith. 


3rd May, 2018

MARSS is excited to announce its expansion into New South Wales. On the 1st of May, MARSS launched its new office at 8/166 - 168 Crawford St, Queanbeyan. This office will initially be run by our generous volunteers, offering casework, and a number of programs and referral.


11th April, 2018

For many of our clients, going on a holiday to the coast is something outside of their reach, so to be able to offer this opportunity is truly special. A group of 55 of Canberra’s newest refugees and migrants from 12 families of 6 nationalities went on a weekend holiday Pambula from the 6th to the 8th of April 2018. They travelled via Cooma, Brown Mountain and Merimbula and stayed with host families to explore the beauty of the Sapphire Coast.

They participated in activities organised by the Social Justice Advocates of the Sapphire coast including: visiting a native animal sanctuary, beaches, sport, music, dance, and a traditional Aboriginal Welcome to Country complete with a smoking ceremony, musical performance and visit to an ancient site. “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,” MARSS Chief Executive Officer, Mrs Dewani Bakkum said.

We are excited to announce that are planning another Sapphire Coast Excursion in April 2019, if you want to join us or have inquiries, contact MARSS


12th March, 2018

MARSS staff, clients and women from the wider Canberra community celebrated International Women's Day on March the 8th. We had cake, snacks, dances and many inspirational female speakers, all seen cutting the cake below.

(02) 6248 8577

Level 2, 180 London Circuit, Civic, ACT