Many families from the Horn of Africa countries came to Sydney’s Auburn Park on the last Saturday in October to celebrate their cultural diversity and join with HARDA and the NSW Transcultural Mental Health Centre to promote mental health and well being in their communities. Organisations and service providers in Western Sydney who joined with us on the day included the NSW Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors (STARTTS)), the Auburn Cultural Diversity Network, the Auburn youth Centre, the Hills Holroyd Parramatta MRC and Red Cross.
Information about mental health services and how to access them was distributed in several languages from information booths around the picnic ground. Our special guest was the NSW Minister for Health (Mental Health) Barbara Perry, who was thanked by HARDA’s President John Cornwall for ‘the support, commitment and wisdom which she always gives so generously to HARDA’. There was a jumping castle for the kids, hip hop, face painting, and a drumming workshop.
The big hit of the day was the soccer workshop and motivational session for the boys conducted by internationals David Zdrilic, currently coach of Sydney United, and Craig Foster, Chief Football Analyst at SBS. The free barbecue was a huge success and up to a dozen volunteers were kept busy for more than two hours serving the yummy marinated chicken kebabs, sausages, onions and sauce.