Raja Shi Nazihah Raja Moho Ghani at the drop in centre with Belinda Cooper and LOETUS chair Rathi Ramanathan
Raja Shi Nazihah Raja Moho Ghani at the drop in centre with Belinda Cooper and LOETUS chair Rathi Ramanathan Kathryn Lewis

New service welcomes migrants to our community

MOVING is stressful at the best of times, but for many migrants the added barriers of language and cultural differences can make the process an even more daunting one. 

One organisation wants to make the transition easier for new migrants to the Clarence Valley, with a weekly drop-in service to help them get started in their new home.

Languages Other Than English Together With Us Chair Rathi Ramanathan said there was nowhere for new migrants to meet others in the community and that was something she wanted to change.

The service, currently in trial stage, is a hub to provide information and referrals for social services.

"The (migrant) population is quite hidden, it's pretty hard to reach out to them," Ms Ramanathan said.

"We thought why not provide a service, give them something that's helpful for them and also a chance to understand the migrant community here."

"We don't really have a good sense of who they are. It's pretty diverse here in the Clarence Valley, but we do understand there is some social isolation."

"We recognise it is hard enough to be a new arrival in a community, but when you've got other barriers like language and cultural differences, it is very hard."

Ms Ramanathan said whilst the drop-in service was for migrants, LOETUS also held a multicultural lunch which is a chance for everyone to come along, have a chat and enjoy a multicultural meal.

"The service is an opportunity for everyone in the Clarence Valley to know they are here, so when they do meet a person from a culturally and linguistically diverse background, you can welcome them into the community and tell them about the LOETUS drop in service."

We want to keep them in the Valley, there is a huge conversation that there is a lot of pressures in the city, and we know almost 80 per cent of migrants end up settling in either Sydney or Melbourne."

"We need to make them feel welcome and get an understanding of what they need to settle in the Valley."

Head along to the drop-in service every Thursday 9-4.30pm at the New School of Arts.

For more information call Rathi 0412346758.



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