Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Shepparton celebration of refugees

Shepparton’s multicultural community will be celebrated next week with a host of activities, including film screenings, English language classes and a football clinic.

RIAHN SMITH June 14, 2014 3:56am

Fun planned: Ethnic Council of Shepparton and District employees Bianca Berzani and Thon Thon with Congolese refugee Safari Maheshe are looking forward to Refugee Week celebrations.

The celebrations form part of Refugee Week, an international campaign to raise awareness about the issues affecting refugees and recognise the positive contributions they make to Australian society.

Ethnic Council of Shepparton and District manager Chris Hazelman said Refugee Week was an important celebration for the city.

Mr Hazelman said it would provide an opportunity for the different refugee communities to meet each other and for the broader community to get involved.

‘‘There’s been a fantastic level of community support behind it,’’ Mr Hazelman said.

‘‘It has a special significance for Shepparton because of the numbers of people who have arrived in this country as refugees, in the pre and post-Second World War period, and in the years since, who have settled in Shepparton.

‘‘The Shepparton community has a long history of accepting people from a refugee background who have contributed substantially to our economic growth and cultural diversity.’’

Safari Maheshe arrived in Shepparton after fleeing the Democratic Republic of Congo.

‘‘It is very important to celebrate Refugee Week,’’ he said through interpreter Thon Thon.

‘‘I came to Australia as a refugee, so it is very good for me to remember that time. It’s a part of us.’’

Refugee Week will be launched on Monday with a free morning tea and activities at Maude St Mall from 10.30am.


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