The Griffith community celebrated Australia’s cultural diversity on Tuesday, March 21 with schools and offices throughout the city honouring Harmony Day with a number of events.
But Thursday’s kite flying afternoon, aimed at engaging unaccompanied members of the Griffith community on humanitarian visas, brought the importance of communities living together in harmony to the forefront of everyone’s minds – with many involved having faced unspeakable obstacles to reach the point where they could fly kites in peace.
“Harmony Day is all about accepting people of other cultures and just learning about them and what they do in their own countries so we can all be more informed,” Centrecare’s Joanne Fitzpatrick said.
“We work with humanitarian entrants, people who have come from war torn countries and they have made big journeys to come here, so we are promoting inclusiveness.”
The decision to fly kites was a nod to the previous homes of many who had travelled here for safety and an enormous success, according to organisers.
“Seeing them laughing and smiling, it was a really positive thing,” Ms Fitzpatrick said.
“When you work with humanitarian entrants their lives have sometimes been traumatic, but many have said they feel really comfortable here in Griffith.”
The comfort was easy to see as participants flew kites side-by-side with police officers and members of the fire and rescue NSW, a concept foreign to those who had come from places where officials often can’t be trusted.
“That is why we had so many service providers involved, we want people to have an idea of where they can go to get help when they need,” Ms Fitzpatrick said.
“I thought it was tremendous to see that engagement. . . we played table tennis later in the evening and enjoyed a sausage sizzle thanks to Baida, and it just showed them the police are. . .not scary and they can be trusted.”