Harmony Week is celebrated in Western Australia from 15- 21 March and is about celebrating our vibrant multicultural State. The dates chosen are designed to enable celebrations from 15 to 20 March, followed by a day of reflection on 21 March, the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

Australia is one of the world’s most successful multicultural countries and Harmony Week is a time to celebrate this and encourage continued inclusiveness, respect and a sense of belonging for everyone. Our Humanitarian team is dedicated to upholding the spirit of Harmony Week in our work and is committed to encouraging an inclusive community where people new to Australia from disadvantaged and culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds understand their rights, are able to access justice and are treated with equality and dignity. A great example of the spirit of Harmony Week is Abina’s story.

Abina* arrived in Australia on a short-stay visa. She had no money, had been sleeping in the park and was fearful of returning to her home country as an LGBTQI+ woman from a country where homosexuality is illegal.

Circle Green assisted Abina in obtaining emergency relief from the Red Cross and accommodation through Safe as Houses. Our lawyer provided her with advice regarding her eligibility to apply for a Protection visa and helped Abina to lodge her application. We will be her representative through the visa process.

Following this, an appointment was arranged with our social worker. Abina was referred for specialist counselling with The Association for Services to Torture and Trauma Survivors (ASeTTS). We helped Abina to obtain a tax file number and showed her how to use an ATM. She was aided by the Red Cross through their job café and Uniting WA supported her in accessing more permanent accommodation.

Abina’s visa process is likely to take several years to be processed. She is currently employed, has stable accommodation, access to specialist psychological support and full legal representation for her visa application.

Our team’s ability to identify Abina’s legal and non-legal needs was essential for Abina to access the support she needed. We have assisted her in navigating the complex legal system and understanding her rights. Our relationships with our colleagues in other organisations are incredibly important and demonstrate the impact we can have when working together.

Abina’s story embodies the spirit of Harmony Week where individuals of all backgrounds and circumstances are embraced and empowered to thrive. This Harmony Week, let’s celebrate our diversity while working to remove barriers that still exist in the community.

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*The client’s name and photo has not been used. We have withheld identifying details to protect and respect client confidentiality.