Creating harmony

Cultural diversity week WIN workshop, Kin Kora State School. Photo Tom Huntley / The Observer
Cultural diversity week WIN workshop, Kin Kora State School. Photo Tom Huntley / The Observer Tom Huntley

A JEW, a Muslim and a group of school students - sounds like the beginning of a joke.

But it's actually a series of school workshops run by Welcoming Intercultural Neighbours (WIN), Relationships  Australia and Together for Humanity as part of Multicultural Week in Gladstone.

As Gladstone continues to grow, so does its demographic.

But so do many challenges that arise from living in diversity.

WIN program co-ordinator Natalia Muszkat said the aim of the workshops was to develop children's "multicultural intelligence".

"The workshops aim to break stereotypes (of) what's Australian," she said.

"To bring understanding, create acceptance and value of other cultures."

Led by a Muslim and a Jew, Ronit Baras and Sheikh Ahmad Abu Ghazaleh from Together Humanity, the program addresses differences of belief, culture and race through fostering positive experiences of diversity.

"People change their behaviour when they meet someone different but can identify with them," Natalia said.

The program has run at various schools across Gladstone over the past week.

Two sessions were run at Kin Kora State School yesterday and the final program will be at Channel College today.

Natalia, who has been developing the workshops for more than 18 months, said they had got an overwhelmingly positive response from both teachers and students.

"We wanted to develop a program that would be outcome based and see changes in kids' behaviour," she said.

"We are seeing outcomes and it's really great."


Pass on the message

  • Over the past week, the workshops have averaged about 200 children per session
  • At the end of each workshop, the children are given a bookmark with the quote below by Stephen Cosgrove printed on it
  • Natalia explained the aim of the bookmark was to keep the conversation going

Topics:  kin kin state school multicultural week welcoming intercultural neighbours

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