This Queensland Multicultural Month we’re showcasing some of the work that supports mental health, wellbeing and social inclusion among our community members from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, through funding from the commission’s grant program.
Youth Voice: young people, belonging and wellbeing—a project out of Queensland Program of Assistance to Survivors of Torture and Trauma (QPASTT)—set out to help build meaningful social connections and engagement opportunities for youth who have migrated to Australia.
A committee of young people aged 15–25 was established to develop the skills needed to plan and stage community youth projects and events, kicking off with two workshops to help them develop practical skills in leadership, advocacy, event management and volunteering.
Central to these workshops was acknowledgement of participants’ stories, knowledge and life experiences, which increased their confidence to engage in discussions about multiculturalism, diversity and other relevant social issues.
Committee members put their skills into practice through involvement in Harmony Day events in March at three high schools, and attendance at a Harmony Day parliamentary breakfast, which included speaking with the Minister for Multicultural Affairs about issues young people face.
Youth Voice members then worked with Multicultural Development Australia’s Youth Advisory Council to design, lead and run the Diverse Voices event at the Brisbane Multicultural Centre during National Youth Week in April. Activities on the day included a forum on leadership and employment; dance, music and poetry performances; a fashion show; and cultural food sharing.
The committee then went on to plan and run the Walk in our Shoes Youth Festival in June at Yeronga Park. This interactive multicultural festival for young people celebrates the diversity and talents of young people.
All these activities have created a cohort of young people who are excited to work together, learn from each other and grateful to work with others from diverse backgrounds to give voice to the issues they face. The project has also nurtured partnerships and collaboration opportunities with other organisations and young people.
Next steps for Youth Voice are to build on the enthusiasm the group has shown for developing new skills by holding training in communication strategies, campaign planning and advocacy; developing work plans around specific issues; and raising public attention on matters of social diversity, inclusion, discrimination and bullying.