Emergency support for local communities during Covid

HARDA was very fortunate that the Scanlon Foundation provided an Emergency Support grant in a extremely short time frame in early August so that we could provide urgent assistance to community members experiencing severe hardship due to them or their families having contracted Covid, needing to be in isolation or due to the long lockdown. This help was provided by email in the form of Woolworths gift cards to enable contactless delivery of food and other urgently needed essentials. Information was also provided on the financial assistance available from the government, on Covid restrictions and requirements, on vaccinations and in some cases assistance was given with phone plans to help alleviate social isolation.

In October HARDA received a grant from Multicultural NSW through their Empowering and Supporting Local Communities Program which will allow us to continue to provide this emergency support and Covid information to members of our community who are struggling to put food on the table due to the Covid pandemic.

2019 Connecting Communities

This year’s program started in October with a day of indoor rock climbing in Villawood. The participants were paired up and either belayed each other or took turns climbing and encouraging each other.

The second session in early November was a day of laser tag & bowling which all the kids much enjoyed. It was great to see them working together in mixed teams. As normal the final session of the program, one greatly looked forward to by the kids from our communities, took place at Coogee Beach in conjunction with the Coogee Surf Lifesaving Club

Following sand games and a traditional Aussie sausage sizzle lunch, the parents and kids were given an introduction to surf and beach safety. Afterwards all the kids went down to the beach for water fun and safety training with the Surf Lifesavers. We are very appreciative to the Coogee Surf Lifesaving Club, and particularly to Doug & his group volunteer lifesavers.

This year the program sessions were run with shorter intervals of 2 weeks between each, which really helped facilitate better relationships between both groups. It has been great to see many of the kids really connect over the course of the program.

Our thanks to Kids Giving Back for hosting the program and the volunteers from both organisations who made it a success.

2018 Connecting Communities

HARDA’s partnership with ‘Kids Giving Back’ continues to flourish with children and parents of diverse cultural backgrounds enjoying various activities in the spirit of generosity.  Here are images of two fun days in September and October 2018. A third day out at Coogee beach will take place in November. Thanks to all the parents and children and to the organisers from KGB.

Connecting Communities – Coogee Beach

HARDA’s partnership with “Kids Giving Back’ continues to bring love and happiness to children from the Horn background. The third session of connecting communities is the Coogee beach one where children participated in water safety that was taught my life savers at the beach.

Our major thanks goes to the organisers from KGB, and the Life savers from Coogee Surf Life Saving Club for their tremendous support and of course to all parents and children.

2016 Coogee beach fun

Our busload of kids, parents and volunteers headed to Coogee beach to meet up with the families from Kids Giving Back for the final session of the program. It was a great relief that the day was fine after the Bondi beach experience earlier in the year.

After some beach games everyone, kids and parents, attended a workshop at the club where they learnt lots about beach water safety prior to getting in the water – the kids were saying ‘white water good, green bad’ in the bus on the way home! The water safety component was particularly good for the HARDA group, most of whom have little beach experience.

After the safety session everyone headed down to the beach. The kids, full of toe hopping excitement & some trepidation, had such fun in the waves with the wonderful lifesavers from Coogee Surf Lifesaving Club. Each life saver took a child in each hand which was such wonderful as it allowed the more adventurous to venture out safely and the more timid to take their time and overcome their nerves and get their confidence in the waves. Both the lifesavers and the kids had a great time and our kids learnt lots from these wonderful Australian role models.

After the beach it was a mad rush to get everyone fed and back on the bus for the trip home. Many thanks to our partners, Kids Giving Back, for arranging such a fun day, which was enjoyed by our families and theirs. We both believe that the program has increased the mutual understand of two quite diverse and disparate groups involved, where the kids saw how many more similarities there were between them than the differences.

2016 Fish & Chips on Bondi beach Mar

The first session of our new Connecting communities program was planned to be an afternoon of fun games on Bondi beach with the families from our partner and host organisation Kids Giving Back (KGB). The kids were very much looking forward to a play and paddle and fish and chips together on Bondi beach – a real Australian experience!  Unfortunately that was not to be with storms and heavy rain closing the beach and drenching us all. However the very resourceful KGB had booked the local hall and had lots indoor games planned as a backup and everyone had a great deal of fun.

There were some amusing moments as some of the ladies had to hand over their very wet cloths to the laundromat across the road to be dried. It was great that everyone shared the humour in the situation and it was a good bonding experience along with the yummy and large amounts of shared fish and chips. We also changed the third session from a pool party in Western Sydney to a beach day in Coogee so that the kids from a Horn of Africa background could get their promised day on the beach.

2016 Cooking together

We held the second of three sessions of our Connecting Communities Program in August. This 3 part program is providing a great opportunity for Horn of Africa families to connect with other Australian communities and share new and exciting experiences.

One pleasant winter Sunday in August, 36 of us headed to a community kitchen in Bondi for a cooking & dining experience. This included 23 South Sudanese kids aged between 7 & 13, and 10 family members accompanied by 3 HARDA volunteers including Lugi, our wonderful Italian Chef. There we met the Kids Giving Back (KGB) friends we made at the first session (who can forget the torrential rain on Bondi beach that day!). They had generously organised the kitchen and supplied the ingredients to make the event possible.

Cooking is a great way to share congeniality and this was no exception, with the families from both groups donning aprons and cutting and chopping and cooking up a storm. The Australian contribution was meat pies and in exchange, led by Kristina, Asunta & Margret, everyone learnt to cook a typical South Sudanese dish, a meat & okra stew with semolina. The older kids enjoyed helping while the younger ones made bread and cookies and decorated the pavlovas for our feast afterwards

Annual HARDA Cultural nights

HARDA ran cultural nights annually from circa 2012 to 2014

These nights showcased African culture, food, dance, singing, art and crafts.  Each year the function was attended by 200-400 people from the Horn of Africa and the wider community from Western Sydney as well as elders.

Supporters over the years have been STARTTS, ACL, Hills Holroyd Parramatta MRC, Multicultural Council, NSW Community Relations, among others.

2012 Cooking Pot

The Cooking Pot Project was an unique and innovative program initiated by HARDA to help the African Australian women interact and share their experiences with the wider Australian community.  A catalyst for integration and promotion of understanding, this cooking program allowed African migrant women to get together with Australian women to learn new dishes and get to know each other

The sessions were supervised by Chef Luigi De Luca who shared and guided the women during the process.

During the period of 6 weeks the women cooked not only traditional African recipes but also learnt to cook Japanese, Mexican, Italian and Egyptian cuisines. The women also visited the home of one of the participant were they learnt to cook some Egyptian and Italian food.

The Cooking Pot Project concluded with a lavish spread of food which included traditional African appetizers, main course and sweets along with other cuisines which was enjoyed by all at the Edmund Rice Center.

The project was a successful one with the women having an opportunity to learn something new and make new friends outside their own groups. The Cooking Pot Project was sponsored by Shell Clyde Refinery who supported the initiative.