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Wagga Yazidis remember those killed in Kojo Village genocide- AUGUST 15 2019 - 8:00PM

Annie Lewis

More than a hundred people gathered to mourn the slaughter of Yazidi people during the Kojo village genocide.    Shireen Mato, now a Wagga resident, used to live in the village before ISIS surrounded the town in 2014. After 13 days, ISIS gathered people in a community hall.    "First they collected and kept all of the belongings and separated women from men," Ms Mato said. "Then took men and teenagers outside of school and shot them in 12 different locations.    "My sister was in ISIS captivity for about one year. she was tortured physically and psychologically."    Ms Mato's sister was sold for less than $100 to four men as a sex slave. A friend of her's refused to marry an ISIS soldier, so her husband was killed. They gave her food for the children, but Ms Mato said when her friend awoke she discovered they had been fed poisoned food and her children had died.    She added that one month would not be sufficient enough time to tell all of the atrocities the Yazidi people faced.

More than a hundred people gathered to mourn the slaughter of Yazidi people during the Kojo village genocide.

Shireen Mato, now a Wagga resident, used to live in the village before ISIS surrounded the town in 2014. After 13 days, ISIS gathered people in a community hall.

"First they collected and kept all of the belongings and separated women from men," Ms Mato said. "Then took men and teenagers outside of school and shot them in 12 different locations.

"My sister was in ISIS captivity for about one year. she was tortured physically and psychologically."

Ms Mato's sister was sold for less than $100 to four men as a sex slave. A friend of her's refused to marry an ISIS soldier, so her husband was killed. They gave her food for the children, but Ms Mato said when her friend awoke she discovered they had been fed poisoned food and her children had died.

She added that one month would not be sufficient enough time to tell all of the atrocities the Yazidi people faced.

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Photos 1 to 11 from Daily Advertiser, photos 12 to 14 from ABC Riverina.

Refugee week 2019

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Wednesday 17 july 2019

Wednesday 17 july 2019

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Ray Goodlass visits Palestine yearly for peace activism projects

Daily Advertiser, Annie Lewis: JULY 18 2019 - 9:00PM

Ray Goodlass at the entrance to the Aida Refugee Camp

Ray Goodlass at the entrance to the Aida Refugee Camp

Ray Goodlass is a well-known face around Wagga, but there is one thing that some of you might not know about him. Every year he makes a special trip overseas to help at a refugee camp.

Mr Goodlass said he had thought of peace volunteering for several years, but work and then council responsibilities came first.

Like the aspirations of many, day-to-day realities took over, but then the time came when he finally had the days to do what he wanted.

He has never shied away from a big project or wearing his political colours on his sleeve, so once he was fully retired Mr Goodlass decided to make peace activism his major project.

"I went online to find volunteering opportunities and there were hundreds, many about helping to rebuild civic society in post conflict situations," he said. "But me, being resolved to find the most intractable ongoing conflict I could find, settled on Israel and Palestine."

Mr Goodlass said he settled on the plight of the Palestinians as the focus of his activism.

"The peace projects suited my personal political beliefs," he said. "It was definitely outside the comfort zone from being a cultural tourist to Europe or a family tourist to the UK."

Mr Goodlass set off on his eighth trip to the conflict zone on Wednesday.

"I've learnt in my older age that when something comes up, don't dither about," he said.

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His work in 2014 included cleaning out a house in Bethlehem shelled by the Israelis and clearing the land of a Bethlehem olive farmer whose property was surrounded by Israeli settlers who threatened to take over his land if he left it unoccupied. It has not always been smooth sailing.

At one point Mr Goodlass found himself being attacked by Israel Defence Forces soldiers using tear gas.

The attack occurred on March 21, 2014, in Nabi Saleh, north of Ramallah, which also saw Palestinian villagers injured when rubber bullets were fired upon them.

The IDF's actions saw Mr Goodlass rendered "totally helpless".

"I was tear gas attacked by Israel army in West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, rendered helplessly, rescued by Freedom Bus friends," he tweeted on the day.

The event didn't scare him off however as he continued to make the trek each year.

"I started to do drama work with the kids," Mr Goodlass said. "I would play non-verbal games with them, but I decided I needed to learn Arabic."

Mr Goodlass defines the Arabic word 'sumud' as resilience and steadfastness, adding it was a common trait among those he met every trip.

In 2018, a film-maker decided to document Mr Goodlass' work. In the film, young people in the Aida Refugee Camp, Bethlehem, dramatise their stories of living under the continuing Israeli occupation.

"In my seventh annual volunteer visit to Palestine I devised and directed verbatim stories by a group of young actors in the Alrowwad Culture Centre," he said.

"Some of the stories include detail of how the students' families were driven from their homes by the invading Israelis in 1947 and 1948 and all show what life is like living under the continuing Israeli occupation.

"This hour-long film also features interviews with several of the actors, the director of Alrowwad, and depicts everyday life in the camp, which has been in existence since 1948."

What he has taken away from his experience was a better understanding of the conflict and its impact on the Palestinian people, which he now wants to share with Wagga.

"What the Israelis are doing is taking away the memories, culture and history of the Palestinian people," Mr Goodlass said.

"The most frightening thing is how the original refugee tents turned into concrete houses, giving a sense of permanence to their situation. It made you think there was almost no hope for these people and feel the sense of hopelessness that exists."

Mr Goodlass said the hospitality and the resilience of the Palestinian people continues to inspire him.

"On my first trip, a man asked us volunteers to be an ambassador for Palestine," he said. "That's what I am doing and will continue to do."

Their resilience is why Mr Goodlass ended the stage production by giving the father character the line "but we are resilient people and celebrate our culture".

"Then the lighting changed, the music came up, and the cast all went into their traditional dance, the dabka," he said.


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Gardner move falls through as Wagga United grind out 1-0 win over Leeton

Jon Tuxworth- 30 June

DANGEROUS: Wagga United striker Nazar Yousif takes on Leeton United's Nick Trifogli during the Crows' 1-0 victory yesterday. Picture: Les Smith.   THE drama surrounding Fred and Henri Gardner has taken another twist, with the brothers in football no-man's land after failing to secure a release in time from Wagga City Wanderers to join Pascoe Cup outfit Wagga United. It means the Gardners, who parted ways with National Premier League club the Wanderers earlier this month, are unable to play anywhere for the rest of the season after the June 30 registration deadline expired.  It is understood a difference of opinion regarding registrations meant an agreement couldn't be reached by both parties. Wagga United coach Travis Weir said he's still confident his fourth-placed team can compete for silverware after grinding out a 1-0 win over Leeton United at Rawlings Park on Sunday. A booming strike from Tyler Allen ten yards outside the box just before half-time was enough to secure the three points. "My understanding is they (Gardners) weren't released in time and we had a deadline we just couldn't achieve," Weir said. "The boys were pretty upset about it because they wanted to play and put in, but I've always been happy with my playing group. “If we play like we did today and pick a similar team week in week out we'll see the results. “We spoke about playing for the badge and for each other because it wasn't there at the start of the season, but there was plenty of heart in that today.

DANGEROUS: Wagga United striker Nazar Yousif takes on Leeton United's Nick Trifogli during the Crows' 1-0 victory yesterday. Picture: Les Smith.

THE drama surrounding Fred and Henri Gardner has taken another twist, with the brothers in football no-man's land after failing to secure a release in time from Wagga City Wanderers to join Pascoe Cup outfit Wagga United. It means the Gardners, who parted ways with National Premier League club the Wanderers earlier this month, are unable to play anywhere for the rest of the season after the June 30 registration deadline expired.

It is understood a difference of opinion regarding registrations meant an agreement couldn't be reached by both parties. Wagga United coach Travis Weir said he's still confident his fourth-placed team can compete for silverware after grinding out a 1-0 win over Leeton United at Rawlings Park on Sunday. A booming strike from Tyler Allen ten yards outside the box just before half-time was enough to secure the three points. "My understanding is they (Gardners) weren't released in time and we had a deadline we just couldn't achieve," Weir said. "The boys were pretty upset about it because they wanted to play and put in, but I've always been happy with my playing group. “If we play like we did today and pick a similar team week in week out we'll see the results. “We spoke about playing for the badge and for each other because it wasn't there at the start of the season, but there was plenty of heart in that today.

Pascoe Cup:   Wagga united v Leeton United ; Lake Albert v young. Action from wagga united and lake albert`s 1-0 wins over Leeton and Young respectively on Sunday.Pictures: Les smith   Allen, who injured his quad early in the second half but played out the match, shifted from up front to left back with great effect. Fellow Crows back Lincoln Weir also battled on despite dislocating his shoulder for a second time, but Chris Walker was a first half casualty with a similar injury. "It (quad) is sore but we got the job done," Allen said. "I usually play up front so it's very different to what I'm used to but I said to Trav I'll do what you want, you're the coach." Weir said Allen's shift to defence will remain, at least until Cam Ferrie returns. "He understands his role and why he's back there with Linc," Weir said."We knew it wasn't going to be easy. They're a good side and we had plenty of chances at the end, but their goalkeeper made some outstanding saves." In other games a well-taken finish by Jamie Rankin with five minutes left secured Lake Albert a 1-0 win over Young, Henwood Park ended Hanwood's unbeaten run with a 1-0 victory at Griffith, Tumut held off Cootamundra 2-1 and Tolland-South Wagga will be replayed after poor weather forced the match to be abandoned."It's a massive three points. We're aiming for the top three and keeping that gap between us and Wagga United," Lake Albert coach Mitch Tinnock said.   SCORES:  HENWOOD PARK 1 (Ryan McKenzie) def HANWOOD 0; LAKE ALBERT 1 (Jamie Rankin) def YOUNG 0; WAGGA UNITED 1 (Tyler Allen) def LEETON UNITED 0; TUMUT 2 (Mitchell Henman, Dylan Piper-Bye) def COOTAMUNDRA 1 (Scott Endacott); TOLLAND v SOUTH WAGGA abandoned due to poor weather, match to be replayed.

Pascoe Cup: Wagga united v Leeton United ; Lake Albert v young. Action from wagga united and lake albert`s 1-0 wins over Leeton and Young respectively on Sunday.Pictures: Les smith

Allen, who injured his quad early in the second half but played out the match, shifted from up front to left back with great effect. Fellow Crows back Lincoln Weir also battled on despite dislocating his shoulder for a second time, but Chris Walker was a first half casualty with a similar injury. "It (quad) is sore but we got the job done," Allen said. "I usually play up front so it's very different to what I'm used to but I said to Trav I'll do what you want, you're the coach." Weir said Allen's shift to defence will remain, at least until Cam Ferrie returns. "He understands his role and why he's back there with Linc," Weir said."We knew it wasn't going to be easy. They're a good side and we had plenty of chances at the end, but their goalkeeper made some outstanding saves." In other games a well-taken finish by Jamie Rankin with five minutes left secured Lake Albert a 1-0 win over Young, Henwood Park ended Hanwood's unbeaten run with a 1-0 victory at Griffith, Tumut held off Cootamundra 2-1 and Tolland-South Wagga will be replayed after poor weather forced the match to be abandoned."It's a massive three points. We're aiming for the top three and keeping that gap between us and Wagga United," Lake Albert coach Mitch Tinnock said.

SCORES: HENWOOD PARK 1 (Ryan McKenzie) def HANWOOD 0; LAKE ALBERT 1 (Jamie Rankin) def YOUNG 0; WAGGA UNITED 1 (Tyler Allen) def LEETON UNITED 0; TUMUT 2 (Mitchell Henman, Dylan Piper-Bye) def COOTAMUNDRA 1 (Scott Endacott); TOLLAND v SOUTH WAGGA abandoned due to poor weather, match to be replayed.

Wagga Health Service Dental Clinic dentist says Health Star Rating system should lead parents in the right direction

Daina OliverDaina Oliver-June 26

CHECK-UP: Hpi, Wanghum and Wangram Redamwang with Oral Health Promotions Officer Jennifer Lang during their visit to the dentist. Picture: Daina Oliver   A WAGGA dentist says misinformation about sugary food products could be causing avoidable cases of tooth decay in children.    The proposed shake-up of the federal government's Health Star Rating system could mean sugary breakfast cereals - once deemed to be healthy - drop by almost 2.5 stars. The possible changes to the system will depend on the ministers' decision to differentiate between naturally occurring sugars and added sugar. Oral Health Promotions Officer Jennifer Lang, of Wagga Health Service Dental Clinic, said parents rely on the federal government's rating system to make quick, healthy choices for their children. She said the changes proposed will reinforce the right products parents should be choosing."Parents will see the Milo Bar at four stars and believe that is a good choice, but it can have 25 per cent added sugar. The proposed change will bring it down to a 1.5 star rating, instantly showing parents that it's not a great option," she said.

CHECK-UP: Hpi, Wanghum and Wangram Redamwang with Oral Health Promotions Officer Jennifer Lang during their visit to the dentist. Picture: Daina Oliver

A WAGGA dentist says misinformation about sugary food products could be causing avoidable cases of tooth decay in children.

The proposed shake-up of the federal government's Health Star Rating system could mean sugary breakfast cereals - once deemed to be healthy - drop by almost 2.5 stars. The possible changes to the system will depend on the ministers' decision to differentiate between naturally occurring sugars and added sugar. Oral Health Promotions Officer Jennifer Lang, of Wagga Health Service Dental Clinic, said parents rely on the federal government's rating system to make quick, healthy choices for their children. She said the changes proposed will reinforce the right products parents should be choosing."Parents will see the Milo Bar at four stars and believe that is a good choice, but it can have 25 per cent added sugar. The proposed change will bring it down to a 1.5 star rating, instantly showing parents that it's not a great option," she said.

HEALTHY TEETH: Wagga's Wangram Redamwang visiting the dentist for a check up. Picture: Daina Oliver   In a world heavily influenced by advertising, Mrs Lang said the rating system was very important to make healthy decision for children. "It tends to be bright colours with people they respect like sportspeople choosing particular types of cereal," she said.    "Nutrition Grain has four teaspoons of added sugars in one bowl, compare that to    Weetbix, which has none. There can be healthy options, but it is a matter of being aware. "We see fit people having them and that influences parent’s decisions, so our Health Star Rating system really need to reflect healthy choices."    Mrs Lang said oral health is an area of neglect for families, encouraging parents to start a regular dentist visit that will become a pattern for children to continue into adulthood.    "Some parents feel like they are only baby teeth and they are going to fall out anyway so they don't have to worry. But some of those baby teeth can be there until they are an older teenager," she said.    "They keep the space for the adult teeth and they're really important for the smile factor - healthy teeth means a child can feel more confident about their smile."    Mrs Lang also suggested parents look at the types of sugary drinks being offered to their child that could lead to "rampant" tooth decay. She said adults are starting unhealthy habits for the younger generation by giving them sugary drinks such as soft drinks, cordials and juice.    "If water is the only thing offered to a child from a young age then that's the norm for them," she said. "Don't be tempted to sweeten it for them because the child's taste buds are more in tune than ours, so water does taste good.    "Let the child enjoy water as it is and avoid other sugary things when they are older."    But at the end of the day, Mrs Lang said healthy teeth comes down to good eating habits, brushing teeth daily and regular visits to the dentist.

HEALTHY TEETH: Wagga's Wangram Redamwang visiting the dentist for a check up. Picture: Daina Oliver

In a world heavily influenced by advertising, Mrs Lang said the rating system was very important to make healthy decision for children. "It tends to be bright colours with people they respect like sportspeople choosing particular types of cereal," she said.

"Nutrition Grain has four teaspoons of added sugars in one bowl, compare that to

Weetbix, which has none. There can be healthy options, but it is a matter of being aware. "We see fit people having them and that influences parent’s decisions, so our Health Star Rating system really need to reflect healthy choices."

Mrs Lang said oral health is an area of neglect for families, encouraging parents to start a regular dentist visit that will become a pattern for children to continue into adulthood.

"Some parents feel like they are only baby teeth and they are going to fall out anyway so they don't have to worry. But some of those baby teeth can be there until they are an older teenager," she said.

"They keep the space for the adult teeth and they're really important for the smile factor - healthy teeth means a child can feel more confident about their smile."

Mrs Lang also suggested parents look at the types of sugary drinks being offered to their child that could lead to "rampant" tooth decay. She said adults are starting unhealthy habits for the younger generation by giving them sugary drinks such as soft drinks, cordials and juice.

"If water is the only thing offered to a child from a young age then that's the norm for them," she said. "Don't be tempted to sweeten it for them because the child's taste buds are more in tune than ours, so water does taste good.

"Let the child enjoy water as it is and avoid other sugary things when they are older."

But at the end of the day, Mrs Lang said healthy teeth comes down to good eating habits, brushing teeth daily and regular visits to the dentist.

Wagga celebrates cultural diversity for Refugee Week- 22 june

Annie Lewis

Phong Tiwangce with his sister Grace Tiwangce, 2, at the Refugee Week Family Fun Day. Picture: Les Smith   FORCED to flee his home country to survive, one Burmese refugee says he has been welcomed into the Wagga community. During the weekend's Refugee Week community celebration at Henschke Primary School, Phong Tiwangce told of how he arrived in the city when he was 12 years old. "My mum and dad and I had to flee Burma because we feared for our lives," he said.

Phong Tiwangce with his sister Grace Tiwangce, 2, at the Refugee Week Family Fun Day. Picture: Les Smith

FORCED to flee his home country to survive, one Burmese refugee says he has been welcomed into the Wagga community. During the weekend's Refugee Week community celebration at Henschke Primary School, Phong Tiwangce told of how he arrived in the city when he was 12 years old. "My mum and dad and I had to flee Burma because we feared for our lives," he said.

Refugee Week Family Fun Day   "We went through a lot to get here. We stayed here in Malaysia and then we got here. "It was hard to leave our friends and family, especially my grandma, behind was pretty hard and we knew no English and we didn't know anyone."    Mr Tiwangce, now 21 years old, is in his third year of an electrical apprenticeship."Ever since I was little I always wanted to solve problems and now I am getting the proper training in Australia and I love what I am doing," he said. "Wagga is my home. "We are so grateful to the community for accepting us. “Belinda Crain, CEO of the Wagga Multicultural Council, said it was important to celebrate Refugee Week.

Refugee Week Family Fun Day

"We went through a lot to get here. We stayed here in Malaysia and then we got here. "It was hard to leave our friends and family, especially my grandma, behind was pretty hard and we knew no English and we didn't know anyone."

Mr Tiwangce, now 21 years old, is in his third year of an electrical apprenticeship."Ever since I was little I always wanted to solve problems and now I am getting the proper training in Australia and I love what I am doing," he said. "Wagga is my home. "We are so grateful to the community for accepting us. “Belinda Crain, CEO of the Wagga Multicultural Council, said it was important to celebrate Refugee Week.

DRESS UP: Fatema Rahimi, Belinda Crain and Samson Abbas take a happy snap with police gear and car at the Refugee Week Fair. Picture: Les Smith   "It brings everyone from the community together and is a celebration of those here with a refugee background and what they contribute," she said. "Looking around it's great to see so many people here from Australian-born to our refugees."    Ms Crain thanked Wagga Council, Multicultural Council NSW, Teys and Rotary for funding and donating time and food.

DRESS UP: Fatema Rahimi, Belinda Crain and Samson Abbas take a happy snap with police gear and car at the Refugee Week Fair. Picture: Les Smith

"It brings everyone from the community together and is a celebration of those here with a refugee background and what they contribute," she said. "Looking around it's great to see so many people here from Australian-born to our refugees."

Ms Crain thanked Wagga Council, Multicultural Council NSW, Teys and Rotary for funding and donating time and food.

Philippine Independence Day celebrated with food, song and dance by Wagga's Filipino community

-15 June 2019

Jessica McLaughlin

NATIONAL PRIDE: Annabelle Borja is proud to be a woman of the Philippines and celebrate their Independence Day. Picture: Emma Hillier    The Filipino community of Wagga came together as one on Saturday to celebrate the country's 121st year of independence.    The hall of Henschke Primary School was filled with those celebrating the Philippine Independence Day along with like likes of Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack, Wagga's State MP Joe McGirr and Mayor Greg Conkey who all enjoyed lunch and performances by young Filipino talent. Annebelle Borja was one Filipino lady of Wagga celebrating her history.

NATIONAL PRIDE: Annabelle Borja is proud to be a woman of the Philippines and celebrate their Independence Day. Picture: Emma Hillier

The Filipino community of Wagga came together as one on Saturday to celebrate the country's 121st year of independence.

The hall of Henschke Primary School was filled with those celebrating the Philippine Independence Day along with like likes of Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack, Wagga's State MP Joe McGirr and Mayor Greg Conkey who all enjoyed lunch and performances by young Filipino talent. Annebelle Borja was one Filipino lady of Wagga celebrating her history.

Ysabella Borja, 10, Joz Pastor, 5 and Paolo Cumla, 11, perform for their friends, family and fellow community members. Picture: Emma Hillier   "This year will be the 121st celebration, it's a commemoration of our freedom from the Spanish Colonialism back in 1898," she said. "It's also to commemorate the heroic sacrifices of those who fought and gave their lives to make sure that we have the independence we enjoy now." Mrs Borja said for her, the day was about more than just celebrating the past.

Ysabella Borja, 10, Joz Pastor, 5 and Paolo Cumla, 11, perform for their friends, family and fellow community members. Picture: Emma Hillier

"This year will be the 121st celebration, it's a commemoration of our freedom from the Spanish Colonialism back in 1898," she said. "It's also to commemorate the heroic sacrifices of those who fought and gave their lives to make sure that we have the independence we enjoy now." Mrs Borja said for her, the day was about more than just celebrating the past.

The crowd, with Ray Goodlass, Joe McGirr and Michael McCormack in the front row. Picture: Emma Hillier   "At the same time, it is also like celebrating the modern heroes, and every one of us, all the Filipinos here like myself, we are modern heroes as mothers, community members and working people," she said.    "It's so nice to have the whole community come together because it's very seldom that we gather as one and this is the perfect opportunity to do so."

The crowd, with Ray Goodlass, Joe McGirr and Michael McCormack in the front row. Picture: Emma Hillier

"At the same time, it is also like celebrating the modern heroes, and every one of us, all the Filipinos here like myself, we are modern heroes as mothers, community members and working people," she said.

"It's so nice to have the whole community come together because it's very seldom that we gather as one and this is the perfect opportunity to do so."

Wagga Muslim explains what the holiday Eid al-Fitr is all about- Annie lewis-10 june 2019

Saira Ali made the dress she is wearing for the celebrations. Picture: Emma Hillier   With delicious food, lively music and dancing Wagga's Muslim population celebrated the biggest event on their calendar.    Eid al-Fitr is the feast that breaks the month-long fast of Ramadan and is celebrated over three days.    Saira Ali said the festival is a time to make amends, be generous towards friends and family and share values of peace and harmony.    "This is a very important time for us," she said.    "It is very important for us to forgive those who we might be mad or upset at and we also pray for peace.    "This is the biggest Eid."    Men will hug and shake each other's hands and women will do the same with each other.    There are multiple types of Eid, but this is the biggest one for the community.    Ms Ali said the first day is spent with close family, such as grandparents, and making new dresses. “We also make Henna on our hands and we give gifts and happy wishes," she said. "We make many delicious sweets and food.

Saira Ali made the dress she is wearing for the celebrations. Picture: Emma Hillier

With delicious food, lively music and dancing Wagga's Muslim population celebrated the biggest event on their calendar.

Eid al-Fitr is the feast that breaks the month-long fast of Ramadan and is celebrated over three days.

Saira Ali said the festival is a time to make amends, be generous towards friends and family and share values of peace and harmony.

"This is a very important time for us," she said.

"It is very important for us to forgive those who we might be mad or upset at and we also pray for peace.

"This is the biggest Eid."

Men will hug and shake each other's hands and women will do the same with each other.

There are multiple types of Eid, but this is the biggest one for the community.

Ms Ali said the first day is spent with close family, such as grandparents, and making new dresses. “We also make Henna on our hands and we give gifts and happy wishes," she said. "We make many delicious sweets and food.

"The second day is spent visiting other family and friends."    Ms Ali said she and her mother do not have many family members in Wagga, so they spent the first couple of days with friends.    "They are the ones who helped us when we arrived here," she said.    "Now they are like family to us as well."    The third day is reserved for a party, during which the entire community is often invited to.    "We celebrate all together in one hall," Ms Ali said.    "We take many types of delicious food and share with each other.    "My favourite type of food is cookies and rice pudding. It's hard not to only eat sweets, because they are so tasty."    Ms Ali said a lot of people do not realise that her faith is based on peace and that she wishes everyone in the community, no matter their religion, to be safe and happy.

"The second day is spent visiting other family and friends."

Ms Ali said she and her mother do not have many family members in Wagga, so they spent the first couple of days with friends.

"They are the ones who helped us when we arrived here," she said.

"Now they are like family to us as well."

The third day is reserved for a party, during which the entire community is often invited to.

"We celebrate all together in one hall," Ms Ali said.

"We take many types of delicious food and share with each other.

"My favourite type of food is cookies and rice pudding. It's hard not to only eat sweets, because they are so tasty."

Ms Ali said a lot of people do not realise that her faith is based on peace and that she wishes everyone in the community, no matter their religion, to be safe and happy.

Wagga GP Geraldine Duncan recognised for her decades of dedication- Jody Lindbeck- 10 June 2019

Wagga GP Geraldine Duncan has been honoured for her services to rural medicine with a Medal of the Order of Australia in the Queen's birthday honours list. Having practiced in Wagga since 1979, Dr Duncan is also a refugee advocate, has worked with sexual assault victims and been made an adjunct associate professor with the University of Notre Dame School of Medicine's Wagga Rural Clinical School.    Dr Duncan is "humbled" by the honour. "I'm just a bit amazed really. I gather some of my colleagues put my name up and I'm just humbled and feel very honoured that they thought to do that," she said. "Then I thought 'well ok, it's very nice that they put my name up, but that won't happen, so I don't really have to worry about anything'." Dr Duncan's work with Wagga's refugees began through her practice.    "When Wagga became a resettlement centre, I was approached by a few people to see if I would be interested in having refugees into my practice and, of course, I said yes," she said."At that stage we had dribs and drabs of a few people arriving. I think initially we had some people from the former Yugoslavia and then we had a few Africans come through and I had the pleasure of really welcoming the first African family into Wagga.    "Then of course, we got various waves of different people: The Burmese community, many more people from many countries in Africa. For me, it's enriching because you just learn so much about different things, different cultures and the way they share with each other, and also their intense gratitude and humility for what you can do for them."    Aged 68, Dr Duncan admits one of her goals is to improve her work-life balance. "I don't particularly want to pull out of medicine because I think I still have something to contribute, but I do have two grandchildren and would like to have that balance of family and work," she said.    "My practice in Wagga has been pretty full. I was a GP-obstetrician for many years. Then, I was one of the doctors who handled sexual assault on call, for 25 years or more. I guess I do it because even though it can be very tiring, something always happens that let's people tell you that they appreciate what you do."

Wagga GP Geraldine Duncan has been honoured for her services to rural medicine with a Medal of the Order of Australia in the Queen's birthday honours list. Having practiced in Wagga since 1979, Dr Duncan is also a refugee advocate, has worked with sexual assault victims and been made an adjunct associate professor with the University of Notre Dame School of Medicine's Wagga Rural Clinical School.

Dr Duncan is "humbled" by the honour. "I'm just a bit amazed really. I gather some of my colleagues put my name up and I'm just humbled and feel very honoured that they thought to do that," she said. "Then I thought 'well ok, it's very nice that they put my name up, but that won't happen, so I don't really have to worry about anything'." Dr Duncan's work with Wagga's refugees began through her practice.

"When Wagga became a resettlement centre, I was approached by a few people to see if I would be interested in having refugees into my practice and, of course, I said yes," she said."At that stage we had dribs and drabs of a few people arriving. I think initially we had some people from the former Yugoslavia and then we had a few Africans come through and I had the pleasure of really welcoming the first African family into Wagga.

"Then of course, we got various waves of different people: The Burmese community, many more people from many countries in Africa. For me, it's enriching because you just learn so much about different things, different cultures and the way they share with each other, and also their intense gratitude and humility for what you can do for them."

Aged 68, Dr Duncan admits one of her goals is to improve her work-life balance. "I don't particularly want to pull out of medicine because I think I still have something to contribute, but I do have two grandchildren and would like to have that balance of family and work," she said.

"My practice in Wagga has been pretty full. I was a GP-obstetrician for many years. Then, I was one of the doctors who handled sexual assault on call, for 25 years or more. I guess I do it because even though it can be very tiring, something always happens that let's people tell you that they appreciate what you do."

HONOURS LIST: Geraldine Duncan has been a GP in Wagga since 1979 and is a passionate advocate for refugee health and medical education. Picture: Les Smith

HONOURS LIST: Geraldine Duncan has been a GP in Wagga since 1979 and is a passionate advocate for refugee health and medical education. Picture: Les Smith

June 7 2019

Wagga Amnesty Group commits to letter writing campaign in aid of human rights

Annie Lewis

To hand-write a letter, put it in an envelope and send it off at the post office takes commitment and time.  In a time of instant messaging and video calls, it's a little wonder that penmanship has become a lost art. But one group knows the power of the written word and uses it to their advantage in their call to action. Wagga Amnesty gathers once a month to write letters to politicians, embassies and organisations condemning the violation of human rights. Since February this year, the group has written 176 letters on 37 cases. In 2018 they wrote 293 letters and in 2017 they wrote 391 letters. Patricia Burgess has been a member of the group for more than six years. "There is so much injustice around the world and I feel as though everyone has to do something about it," she said.  "Not everyone has to do this but everyone has to do something and I liked how Amnesty is global and non-political."They are working behind the scenes to deal with injustice around the world and there is plenty of it."Ms Burgess said she is horrified at how the Australian government has handled the refugee crisis, but there are also other issues she writes passionately about. "It's the way women are treated in various countries, the US and their death penalty and there are plenty of issues around the world," she said.

To hand-write a letter, put it in an envelope and send it off at the post office takes commitment and time.

In a time of instant messaging and video calls, it's a little wonder that penmanship has become a lost art. But one group knows the power of the written word and uses it to their advantage in their call to action. Wagga Amnesty gathers once a month to write letters to politicians, embassies and organisations condemning the violation of human rights. Since February this year, the group has written 176 letters on 37 cases. In 2018 they wrote 293 letters and in 2017 they wrote 391 letters. Patricia Burgess has been a member of the group for more than six years. "There is so much injustice around the world and I feel as though everyone has to do something about it," she said.

"Not everyone has to do this but everyone has to do something and I liked how Amnesty is global and non-political."They are working behind the scenes to deal with injustice around the world and there is plenty of it."Ms Burgess said she is horrified at how the Australian government has handled the refugee crisis, but there are also other issues she writes passionately about. "It's the way women are treated in various countries, the US and their death penalty and there are plenty of issues around the world," she said.

CALL TO ACTION: The Wagga Amnesty group gathers on the first Tuesday of every month to write letters demanding action in cases of human rights violations.  "People say to us 'why don't you just send emails?'."Emails can be deleted. “Emails can be ignored, but it's pretty hard to ignore hundreds or thousands of letters on your desk."Ms Burgess said a letter is a powerful method of bringing attention to an important issue. "It's the power of the number of people who are doing this," she said. "I have friends in England who do the same thing. They go to the pub and they write letters. "A concerted effort of thousands of people condemning inhumane actions makes a difference."  Ms Burgess referenced the campaign to free Australian Al Jazeera journalist Peter Greste, who was imprisoned in Cairo amid false allegations of aiding the Muslim Brotherhood. He spent 400 days in prison and was freed following mass condemnation of his incarceration across the globe. Ms Burgess said Wagga is a conservative city and it can be hard to find people who share the same concerns and passions. "I am with a group of like-minded people," she said."Wagga is a very politically conservative place and you have to be careful about expressing your views.  "Amnesty International is not political but the reality is we are like-minded about social justice issues and it's lovely. “Gabrielle Robinson, the coordinator, said she collects the urgent actions from Canberra Amnesty office. “They are the ones that need an immediate response before a certain date," she said.  "We write the letters as directed, but can write them in our own way to a certain extent."They are polite but strongly worded. I post them all off the next day."On Tuesday, the group were penning letters to Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton and Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack."We are protesting about the crisis situation on Manus Island that has unfolded after the election," Ms Robinson said.    Emails can be deleted. Emails can be ignored, but it's pretty hard to ignore hundreds or thousands of letters on your desk.   Patricia Burgess  "It's been reported that so many refugees are attempting suicide because they had their hopes pinned on the election. They were hoping for a different result and with the reelection of the Coalition, a lot of them have been filled with hopeless despair." Ms Robinson said they are always advocating for those detained to be brought to the mainland, but are aware this might never happen.  Being detained is not an excuse for them to be treated inhumanely or as less than human beings, she said, and they want the government to know there are concerned citizens who take the issue seriously.  "This group started in 1993, there are not a lot of the original members left," Ms Robinson said. "When I first came to Wagga I was treasurer to start with and we used to go to people's houses and cafes. "Then in 2003, I took over the running of it and we have been having monthly writing meeting at Romano's ever since."Ms Robinson said the urgent actions range from the refugee crisis and situations overseas to prisoners detained inhumanely and capital punishment.  "We focus on human rights and cases of injustice," she said.  Sandy Wells has only been a member of the group for a year, but has found a purpose. “For a long time, I have been a conscious person about things that are wrongin the world," she said."So for many years I have made donations to a range of charities and stepping out to do things where I can.  "I have followed Amnesty for a while and coming to the group is just a concrete way of being able to follow where my heart is."Ms Wells takes her role seriously, often writing more than seven letters in one meeting covering a range of urgent calls.

CALL TO ACTION: The Wagga Amnesty group gathers on the first Tuesday of every month to write letters demanding action in cases of human rights violations.

"People say to us 'why don't you just send emails?'."Emails can be deleted. “Emails can be ignored, but it's pretty hard to ignore hundreds or thousands of letters on your desk."Ms Burgess said a letter is a powerful method of bringing attention to an important issue. "It's the power of the number of people who are doing this," she said. "I have friends in England who do the same thing. They go to the pub and they write letters. "A concerted effort of thousands of people condemning inhumane actions makes a difference."

Ms Burgess referenced the campaign to free Australian Al Jazeera journalist Peter Greste, who was imprisoned in Cairo amid false allegations of aiding the Muslim Brotherhood. He spent 400 days in prison and was freed following mass condemnation of his incarceration across the globe. Ms Burgess said Wagga is a conservative city and it can be hard to find people who share the same concerns and passions. "I am with a group of like-minded people," she said."Wagga is a very politically conservative place and you have to be careful about expressing your views.

"Amnesty International is not political but the reality is we are like-minded about social justice issues and it's lovely. “Gabrielle Robinson, the coordinator, said she collects the urgent actions from Canberra Amnesty office. “They are the ones that need an immediate response before a certain date," she said.

"We write the letters as directed, but can write them in our own way to a certain extent."They are polite but strongly worded. I post them all off the next day."On Tuesday, the group were penning letters to Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton and Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack."We are protesting about the crisis situation on Manus Island that has unfolded after the election," Ms Robinson said.

Emails can be deleted. Emails can be ignored, but it's pretty hard to ignore hundreds or thousands of letters on your desk. Patricia Burgess

"It's been reported that so many refugees are attempting suicide because they had their hopes pinned on the election. They were hoping for a different result and with the reelection of the Coalition, a lot of them have been filled with hopeless despair." Ms Robinson said they are always advocating for those detained to be brought to the mainland, but are aware this might never happen.

Being detained is not an excuse for them to be treated inhumanely or as less than human beings, she said, and they want the government to know there are concerned citizens who take the issue seriously.

"This group started in 1993, there are not a lot of the original members left," Ms Robinson said. "When I first came to Wagga I was treasurer to start with and we used to go to people's houses and cafes. "Then in 2003, I took over the running of it and we have been having monthly writing meeting at Romano's ever since."Ms Robinson said the urgent actions range from the refugee crisis and situations overseas to prisoners detained inhumanely and capital punishment.

"We focus on human rights and cases of injustice," she said.

Sandy Wells has only been a member of the group for a year, but has found a purpose. “For a long time, I have been a conscious person about things that are wrongin the world," she said."So for many years I have made donations to a range of charities and stepping out to do things where I can.

"I have followed Amnesty for a while and coming to the group is just a concrete way of being able to follow where my heart is."Ms Wells takes her role seriously, often writing more than seven letters in one meeting covering a range of urgent calls.

SPEAKING OUT: People protest against the Australian government's offshore refugee camps and asylum seeker policies during a march in July, 2018. Picture: Dominic Lorrimer   "Writing letters is something that I can do actively to help," she said. "One that I'm writing now is about a human rights lawyer who has been released from prison but is under such heavy surveillance to the point that he can't go about his daily life.    "In particular, he can't seek medical attention because of the abuses that he suffered in jail."Ms Wells said she also loves being able to connect with old friends and make new ones.    But why should those living in Wagga care about these issues?    "We should care because we are people," she said.    "It doesn't matter where others are from but there should be that constant care for everybody to live as we live.    "We live safely, for the most part, in this country and we have access to safety. That's a right that we have and I just become so distressed that other people don't have these opportunities."    For those interested, they can request access to the Facebook group at    www.facebook.com/groups/197838503575024/   .

SPEAKING OUT: People protest against the Australian government's offshore refugee camps and asylum seeker policies during a march in July, 2018. Picture: Dominic Lorrimer

"Writing letters is something that I can do actively to help," she said. "One that I'm writing now is about a human rights lawyer who has been released from prison but is under such heavy surveillance to the point that he can't go about his daily life.

"In particular, he can't seek medical attention because of the abuses that he suffered in jail."Ms Wells said she also loves being able to connect with old friends and make new ones.

But why should those living in Wagga care about these issues?

"We should care because we are people," she said.

"It doesn't matter where others are from but there should be that constant care for everybody to live as we live.

"We live safely, for the most part, in this country and we have access to safety. That's a right that we have and I just become so distressed that other people don't have these opportunities."

For those interested, they can request access to the Facebook group at www.facebook.com/groups/197838503575024/.

JUNE 7 2019

Wagga's Yazidi members meet with Refugee Council of Australia to spread advocacy efforts

Toby Vue

STRATEGISING: Members of Wagga's Yazidi community met on Thursday to discuss strategies to increase advocacy for Yazidis in Iraq. Picture: Paul Power via Twitter   SPREADING awareness about those suffering atrocities overseas was the mission of a recent collaboration between a number of multicultural groups in Wagga, the Refugee Council of Australia and Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors.    Earlier this week, members of the Yazidi met with CEOs from RCA and STARTTS to discuss and implement strategies to build stronger alliances to support their advocacy for Yazidis in dire situations in Iraq.    Ziad Kharmsh, 19, was one of 15 Yazidi community members who attended and he said it was positive to receive support from national organisations. "It's our first time with the refugee council," Mr Kharmsh said.    "Without uniting, it'd be difficult to do things. "If we don't do for ourselves then nobody is going to do it." Mr Kharmsh, who has been in Wagga for just over two years, said he is advocating for basic rights and religious freedom of Yazidis in atrocities overseas.    RCA CEO Paul Power said he was "really impressed with the Yazidi community".    "Ziad himself is relatively young and the community is building a new life in Wagga, but they're also not forgetting people who are still struggling to get basic needs met," he said.    "It's our first time sitting down to better target their advocacy."What we see is that people in who have experienced hardships and who are newly arrived are fantastic advocates for people who have no voices and are still in dire circumstances in Asia and Africa."Another aim of the trip for Mr Power was for him to raise issues from the Yazidi community to the United Nations.    Wagga's Multicultural Council CEO Belinda Crain said the visit was welcomed, saying it was a chance to develop their advocacy training to ensure "they get their messages across to getting things changed".    Mr Power also met with the Afghan, Burmese and South Sudanese communities during his visit to Wagga.

STRATEGISING: Members of Wagga's Yazidi community met on Thursday to discuss strategies to increase advocacy for Yazidis in Iraq. Picture: Paul Power via Twitter

SPREADING awareness about those suffering atrocities overseas was the mission of a recent collaboration between a number of multicultural groups in Wagga, the Refugee Council of Australia and Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors.

Earlier this week, members of the Yazidi met with CEOs from RCA and STARTTS to discuss and implement strategies to build stronger alliances to support their advocacy for Yazidis in dire situations in Iraq.

Ziad Kharmsh, 19, was one of 15 Yazidi community members who attended and he said it was positive to receive support from national organisations. "It's our first time with the refugee council," Mr Kharmsh said.

"Without uniting, it'd be difficult to do things. "If we don't do for ourselves then nobody is going to do it." Mr Kharmsh, who has been in Wagga for just over two years, said he is advocating for basic rights and religious freedom of Yazidis in atrocities overseas.

RCA CEO Paul Power said he was "really impressed with the Yazidi community".

"Ziad himself is relatively young and the community is building a new life in Wagga, but they're also not forgetting people who are still struggling to get basic needs met," he said.

"It's our first time sitting down to better target their advocacy."What we see is that people in who have experienced hardships and who are newly arrived are fantastic advocates for people who have no voices and are still in dire circumstances in Asia and Africa."Another aim of the trip for Mr Power was for him to raise issues from the Yazidi community to the United Nations.

Wagga's Multicultural Council CEO Belinda Crain said the visit was welcomed, saying it was a chance to develop their advocacy training to ensure "they get their messages across to getting things changed".

Mr Power also met with the Afghan, Burmese and South Sudanese communities during his visit to Wagga.

The Makeup of Wagga: Saira Ali showcases Afghani fashion- 04 June 2019

Annie Lewis

HOWCASING FASHION: Saira Ali says the traditional outfit for women from Afghanistan comprises of so many parts, but as the jewellery is all silver it does not weigh too much.    Decked out in jewellery and wearing an embroidered three-piece outfit, the traditional dress from Afghanistan is sure to catch the eye.    In recent weeks, The Daily Advertiser has been highlighting fashions from cultures that are thriving in the region, with women leading the way forward.    Saira Ali, 27, came to the Riverina in 2015 after fleeing Afghanistan.    "We have found Wagga so friendly," she said.    "We have made many new friends who encourage and teach us to learn English.    "They are always helping us to improve."    Ms Ali works full-time at a sewing shop after learning crucial skills with the Common Threads group run by the Multicultural Council.    She said generally traditional women's dresses in Afghanistan are made from light linens and are loose fitting to allow ease of movement.    "They come in many colours and have stitching," Ms Ali said. The traditional colour is blue."

HOWCASING FASHION: Saira Ali says the traditional outfit for women from Afghanistan comprises of so many parts, but as the jewellery is all silver it does not weigh too much.

Decked out in jewellery and wearing an embroidered three-piece outfit, the traditional dress from Afghanistan is sure to catch the eye.

In recent weeks, The Daily Advertiser has been highlighting fashions from cultures that are thriving in the region, with women leading the way forward.

Saira Ali, 27, came to the Riverina in 2015 after fleeing Afghanistan.

"We have found Wagga so friendly," she said.

"We have made many new friends who encourage and teach us to learn English.

"They are always helping us to improve."

Ms Ali works full-time at a sewing shop after learning crucial skills with the Common Threads group run by the Multicultural Council.

She said generally traditional women's dresses in Afghanistan are made from light linens and are loose fitting to allow ease of movement.

"They come in many colours and have stitching," Ms Ali said. The traditional colour is blue."

Ms Ali said, for the most part, an outfit comprises of trousers, a dress and a scarf. "We wear the scarf because Afghanistan is an Islamic country and all Afghani wear the scarf in a different way," she said. The outfit in the picture is typically worn for special occasions, such as weddings, and includes a vest which has been hand-stitched with coins.    "It is sewn on one-by-one by the family, the grandmothers and the mothers will sit together and help," Ms Ali said. "Our local jewellers in the city will make the coins to order out of silver when the girl is ready to get married."It is common for the woman to wear it every day in the first year of marriage and then after that, or after she has babies, she will wear the more simple outfit."    The outfit showcases the traditional embroidery that comes from Kandahar and is known as the white-work embroidery. "It is known as khamak and is made out in satin stitch on a cotton or white silk background," Ms Ali said.The necklace, headpiece, and all other jewellery are made out of silver so that it is not too heavy to wear.    Ms Ali said when she goes to work she typically wears jeans or dresses or dresses with leggingsrather than the more traditional clothes."I still wear the scarf on my head," she said "I love people to see my culture and learn about it."Ms Ali's story completes the series  The Makeup of Wagga .

Ms Ali said, for the most part, an outfit comprises of trousers, a dress and a scarf. "We wear the scarf because Afghanistan is an Islamic country and all Afghani wear the scarf in a different way," she said. The outfit in the picture is typically worn for special occasions, such as weddings, and includes a vest which has been hand-stitched with coins.

"It is sewn on one-by-one by the family, the grandmothers and the mothers will sit together and help," Ms Ali said. "Our local jewellers in the city will make the coins to order out of silver when the girl is ready to get married."It is common for the woman to wear it every day in the first year of marriage and then after that, or after she has babies, she will wear the more simple outfit."

The outfit showcases the traditional embroidery that comes from Kandahar and is known as the white-work embroidery. "It is known as khamak and is made out in satin stitch on a cotton or white silk background," Ms Ali said.The necklace, headpiece, and all other jewellery are made out of silver so that it is not too heavy to wear.

Ms Ali said when she goes to work she typically wears jeans or dresses or dresses with leggingsrather than the more traditional clothes."I still wear the scarf on my head," she said "I love people to see my culture and learn about it."Ms Ali's story completes the series The Makeup of Wagga.

Makeup of Wagga: Showcasing styles of Bangladeshi fashion- 29 May 2019

Annie Lewis

DIVERSE: Halima Sikder says her country is home to many religions, including Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Christianity. All of which inform the culture and fashion.   Wearing traditional clothes is one way for a Wagga woman to hold her culture close to her heart.    In recent weeks, The Daily Advertiser has been highlighting fashions from cultures that are thriving in the region, with women leading the way forward.    Halima Sikder moved to Australia to escape the corruption at her former job in Bangladesh.    "I wanted to study here," she said. "At home, I was a government officer and there was too much corruption."    Ms Sikder said when she asked too many questions, she was threatened with a smear campaign.    "It's a Muslim country so you are not allowed to have a relation with the boys unless you are married," she said. "They said they would tell everyone I was having unmarried relations with the young boys I was trying to help."    Ms Sikder said her country is home to many religions, including Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Christianity.    All of which inform the culture and fashion.    "The dress for the women has three parts," Ms Sikder said.    "There is the dopatta (the top scarf), the kamese (the top tunic) and the salore (undergarment).    "This is the everyday wear."    Bangladeshi men wear lungi as casual wear and due to the British influence during colonization, shirt-pant and suits are very common.    Ms Sikder said a nose ring was traditionally only worn by women as a sign that they were married, but the trend has become popular.    "Now all the girls wear it because they love the look," she said.    "Another sign of marriage is a vermilion mark in the parting of the hair just above the forehead as commitment to long-life and well-being of their husbands and also the white bangle is worn."    Ms Sikder said colours are only important when it comes to the New Year.    "Then you must wear a white sari with red borders," she said.    "For parties, the hosts will give you a dress code such as white or blue and everyone will wear that.    "You can wear any design, but you wear the colour they ask."    Ms Sikder said before weddings, families will host a holud during which a turmeric paste is applied by the guests to the bride's face and body.    Sometimes the holud may be a joint event for the bride and groom's families, or it may consist of separate events.

DIVERSE: Halima Sikder says her country is home to many religions, including Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Christianity. All of which inform the culture and fashion.

Wearing traditional clothes is one way for a Wagga woman to hold her culture close to her heart.

In recent weeks, The Daily Advertiser has been highlighting fashions from cultures that are thriving in the region, with women leading the way forward.

Halima Sikder moved to Australia to escape the corruption at her former job in Bangladesh.

"I wanted to study here," she said. "At home, I was a government officer and there was too much corruption."

Ms Sikder said when she asked too many questions, she was threatened with a smear campaign.

"It's a Muslim country so you are not allowed to have a relation with the boys unless you are married," she said. "They said they would tell everyone I was having unmarried relations with the young boys I was trying to help."

Ms Sikder said her country is home to many religions, including Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Christianity.

All of which inform the culture and fashion.

"The dress for the women has three parts," Ms Sikder said.

"There is the dopatta (the top scarf), the kamese (the top tunic) and the salore (undergarment).

"This is the everyday wear."

Bangladeshi men wear lungi as casual wear and due to the British influence during colonization, shirt-pant and suits are very common.

Ms Sikder said a nose ring was traditionally only worn by women as a sign that they were married, but the trend has become popular.

"Now all the girls wear it because they love the look," she said.

"Another sign of marriage is a vermilion mark in the parting of the hair just above the forehead as commitment to long-life and well-being of their husbands and also the white bangle is worn."

Ms Sikder said colours are only important when it comes to the New Year.

"Then you must wear a white sari with red borders," she said.

"For parties, the hosts will give you a dress code such as white or blue and everyone will wear that.

"You can wear any design, but you wear the colour they ask."

Ms Sikder said before weddings, families will host a holud during which a turmeric paste is applied by the guests to the bride's face and body.

Sometimes the holud may be a joint event for the bride and groom's families, or it may consist of separate events.

The Makeup of Wagga: Farzo Saleem's freedom to express religion without fear

Annie Lewis 21 May 2019

SHOWING HER HERITAGE: Farzo Saleem is proud to wear the traditional dress of the Yazidi religion. Ms Saleem arrived in Wagga in August 2016 after fleeing Iraq.    Being able to freely express who she is without fear of retribution is a right that one Yazidi woman does not take for granted.    In recent weeks, The Daily Advertiser has been highlighting fashions from cultures that are thriving in the region, with women leading the way forward.    Farzo Saleem arrived in Wagga in August 2016 after fleeing Iraq due to the persecution and genocide of her people at the hands of ISIS.    "Before we came to Australia we lived in Turkey for two years because our country wasn't safe," she said.    "ISIS attacked in 2014 and we left. In Turkey, we heard Australia was taking refugees so we applied for the immigration visa so we were one of the lucky people to come to Australia."    Ms Saleem said being Yazidi provides both a cultural and religious basis to who she is.    "The best thing is our religion is for us," she said. "We don't have the concept of forcing others to be like us.    "We just want a safe place to live happily with our families."    The Yazidi traditional outfit for women is a floor-length dress with a belt cinching the waist.    Ms Saleem said the gown is often accented by different jewellery and embellishments depending on the personal taste of whoever is wearing it.    "We wear them for celebrations, weddings, Eid," she said.    "We buy the fabrics from the shops and then we make these dresses ourselves.    "The belt and the jewellery are to add a beautiful look to the clothes."    For everyday clothing, the women wear simple dresses or whatever they are comfortable in.    Ms Saleem said there are no rules when it comes to casual clothing, especially since moving to Australia.    Red is often worn to symbolise the New Year and white is worn by the bride at weddings, such as in many cultures.    "We wear all the colours depending on what you like wearing," Ms Saleem said.    Older women will also sometimes wear a headpiece [as pictured] with a veil.    "They wear this for weddings especially," Ms Saleem said. "Some women older than 55 will wear it every day."    Wearing traditional dresses, even if not all the time, is an important way for Ms Saleem to freely express being a part of the Yazidi community.    "People when they see my dress will know where I am from and what religion I am," she said.    "We want all people to know about it."    Farzo Saleem's comments were translated by her daughter Wafra Hamka.

SHOWING HER HERITAGE: Farzo Saleem is proud to wear the traditional dress of the Yazidi religion. Ms Saleem arrived in Wagga in August 2016 after fleeing Iraq.

Being able to freely express who she is without fear of retribution is a right that one Yazidi woman does not take for granted.

In recent weeks, The Daily Advertiser has been highlighting fashions from cultures that are thriving in the region, with women leading the way forward.

Farzo Saleem arrived in Wagga in August 2016 after fleeing Iraq due to the persecution and genocide of her people at the hands of ISIS.

"Before we came to Australia we lived in Turkey for two years because our country wasn't safe," she said.

"ISIS attacked in 2014 and we left. In Turkey, we heard Australia was taking refugees so we applied for the immigration visa so we were one of the lucky people to come to Australia."

Ms Saleem said being Yazidi provides both a cultural and religious basis to who she is.

"The best thing is our religion is for us," she said. "We don't have the concept of forcing others to be like us.

"We just want a safe place to live happily with our families."

The Yazidi traditional outfit for women is a floor-length dress with a belt cinching the waist.

Ms Saleem said the gown is often accented by different jewellery and embellishments depending on the personal taste of whoever is wearing it.

"We wear them for celebrations, weddings, Eid," she said.

"We buy the fabrics from the shops and then we make these dresses ourselves.

"The belt and the jewellery are to add a beautiful look to the clothes."

For everyday clothing, the women wear simple dresses or whatever they are comfortable in.

Ms Saleem said there are no rules when it comes to casual clothing, especially since moving to Australia.

Red is often worn to symbolise the New Year and white is worn by the bride at weddings, such as in many cultures.

"We wear all the colours depending on what you like wearing," Ms Saleem said.

Older women will also sometimes wear a headpiece [as pictured] with a veil.

"They wear this for weddings especially," Ms Saleem said. "Some women older than 55 will wear it every day."

Wearing traditional dresses, even if not all the time, is an important way for Ms Saleem to freely express being a part of the Yazidi community.

"People when they see my dress will know where I am from and what religion I am," she said.

"We want all people to know about it."

Farzo Saleem's comments were translated by her daughter Wafra Hamka.

Khato's Barber Shop is heading to Forsyth Street Wagga to offer more affordable hair cuts

Jess Whitty- May 20 2019

NEW BARBER: Khato Khato is hoping to gain Wagga City Council approval to convert a Forsyth Street shopfront to a barber shop. Picture: Jess Whitty    A more affordable and new barber shop could soon be opening its doors in Central as a proposal has recently been submitted with Wagga City Council.    Khato Khato arrived in Wagga two years ago and hopes to bring his flair and eye for design to men's heads by converting a shopfront, located on 56 Forsyth Street, into a barber shop.    "I'm from Iraq and when I was younger I was interested in being a barber because I used to work with my uncle who had a barber shop in Iraq and I worked with him for one year," Mr Khato said.    "When we left for Turkey I wasn't working as a barber, but then when someone was doing my hair I asked if they needed more help so I started with him and I've been a barber for about six years now.    "This will be my first job in Australia, as I'm still at uni, so it will take a while to build customers but hoping I can expand the store for women as well in a few years."    The 22-year-old said he hopes to open by the end of July and will initially be working on his own.    "Other barbers in Wagga are a lot more expensive, but I'll be doing something a bit different by offering the 10th service for free," he said.    "A lot of people in my community don't want to get a haircut by a barber as they can't speak English very well and struggle to tell the barber what style they want.    "I go over to their home and do their hair and so they are waiting for me to open up my store."

NEW BARBER: Khato Khato is hoping to gain Wagga City Council approval to convert a Forsyth Street shopfront to a barber shop. Picture: Jess Whitty

A more affordable and new barber shop could soon be opening its doors in Central as a proposal has recently been submitted with Wagga City Council.

Khato Khato arrived in Wagga two years ago and hopes to bring his flair and eye for design to men's heads by converting a shopfront, located on 56 Forsyth Street, into a barber shop.

"I'm from Iraq and when I was younger I was interested in being a barber because I used to work with my uncle who had a barber shop in Iraq and I worked with him for one year," Mr Khato said.

"When we left for Turkey I wasn't working as a barber, but then when someone was doing my hair I asked if they needed more help so I started with him and I've been a barber for about six years now.

"This will be my first job in Australia, as I'm still at uni, so it will take a while to build customers but hoping I can expand the store for women as well in a few years."

The 22-year-old said he hopes to open by the end of July and will initially be working on his own.

"Other barbers in Wagga are a lot more expensive, but I'll be doing something a bit different by offering the 10th service for free," he said.

"A lot of people in my community don't want to get a haircut by a barber as they can't speak English very well and struggle to tell the barber what style they want.

"I go over to their home and do their hair and so they are waiting for me to open up my store."

Khato's Barber Shop will feature his wings that are located on the back of his neck to act as a personal mark on the shopfront. Picture: supplied    Mr Khato will be putting his own personal stamp on the door and wall of his shop.    "It's going to be called Khato's Barber Shop and I have a wings on my neck and that design will be on the door and on the wall that people will sit behind," he said.    "I'm hoping to stay open late, like 8am to 8pm, as there is nothing to do in Wagga after 5pm and open six to seven days a week."    Mr Khato's friend Jason Lagaali, also a barber, said there is definitely a need in Wagga for more barber services as the population increases.    "I've been a barber for about three years and I like it because it's talking to anyone and everyone and being able to relate to men who sit it our chairs," he said.    "We can inspire children and adults through a haircut."    Mr Lagaali said what makes a good barber is not just having good style.    "Conversation makes a good hair cut and you know it's good when the customer is happy with it," he said.

Khato's Barber Shop will feature his wings that are located on the back of his neck to act as a personal mark on the shopfront. Picture: supplied

Mr Khato will be putting his own personal stamp on the door and wall of his shop.

"It's going to be called Khato's Barber Shop and I have a wings on my neck and that design will be on the door and on the wall that people will sit behind," he said.

"I'm hoping to stay open late, like 8am to 8pm, as there is nothing to do in Wagga after 5pm and open six to seven days a week."

Mr Khato's friend Jason Lagaali, also a barber, said there is definitely a need in Wagga for more barber services as the population increases.

"I've been a barber for about three years and I like it because it's talking to anyone and everyone and being able to relate to men who sit it our chairs," he said.

"We can inspire children and adults through a haircut."

Mr Lagaali said what makes a good barber is not just having good style.

"Conversation makes a good hair cut and you know it's good when the customer is happy with it," he said.

REFUGEE HEALTH AND WELLBEING

https://www.facebook.com/WINNewsRiverina/videos/393439981503297/?v=393439981503297

Wagga Multicultural Council supports new Australian citizens through the federal election

16 May

CONFIDENCE: Htu San La Bang and Constance Okot say the voting system in Australia gives them confidence for their future.    Elections can be a confusing time for everyone, from the unknown candidates, to sifting through policies and navigating the papers with seemingly endless boxes to tick.    Yet one portion of the Australian population are often forgotten during these times, despite needing more assistance than most to place their votes.    Refugees and new Australian citizens receive little education regarding how to participate in elections.    Constance Okot moved to Australia in 2005 from Sudan, and has been voting as an Australian citizen since 2007.    "I've voted a few times now, for mayor and premier and prime minister, even though I don't really know what I'm voting for," she said.    "We still don't really know what we are doing and who we are voting for but we do it anyway because we don't want to pay a fine."    Miss Okot said despite the process being a little overwhelming at first, it was vastly more positive than the process people went through in Sudan.    "In Sudan, or rather Africa in general, there is a lot of bribery. They bribe people to vote for them, they will give money to make people vote for them or they will be at the voting stations telling you want to do and make you scared if you don't listen," she said.    "There was a lot of pressure. If you don't want to vote for that person though, it is a problem, sometimes people are killed, there are a lot of killings because people are fighting for leadership. It's not always safe."    In Australia however, Miss Okot said the experience was far less threatening.    "Here though, even though you don't know who you are voting for, it is peaceful," she said.    "You vote, but the Government will always know what they're going to do, the issues aren't as serious as worrying about whether or not you will survive. I'm very happy with that, there's no fear."    One of the benefits of the Australian government and electoral system is the freedom of opinion, according to Miss Okot.    "You know you can go to the office of a politician here and just talk about whatever you want, you can have a say, and they will try to help as much as they can," she said.    "Even when the Prime Minister had the egg through at him, he was diplomatic about it. He just said I don't want this to happen, and the other parties supported him, they didn't cheer on the lady who threw it, they still said that it was not right."    One lady more recent to the voting scene is Htu San La Bang who moved to Australia in 2010 from Myanmar.    "I've only voted once now since moving here. It was very difficult at first, I didn't understand how to vote or who was good or bad," she said.    "For us though, we need a lot of education coming here as refugees, so we look at the candidates who are trying to better the education system."    Mrs La Bang said support from services like Wagga's Multicultural Council were a key factor in getting through the election process successfully.    "We are lucky to have people like Belinda here at the Multicultural Council to help answer any questions we have and clear up any concerns," she said.    The Multicultural Council provide a detailed fact sheet for new citizens looking at how and where to vote.    Mrs La Bang said she appreciated the chance to have an honest opinion contributed to the way the country is run.    "In Myanmar, everyone has to vote now but before I left there was no voting at all because it was in military control," she said.    "Even though people can vote now though, it's very corrupt. Someone can be dead, but they will have their name used to vote in favour of someone to get them through. So it is a big problem, there is no honesty."    One common opinion from Australia's new citizens is that the support they receive from both the community and the people in power gives them great confidence.    "The leaders actually care it seems, they listen and if they have the power to help they will, if not, they will figure out ways to change that," Mrs La Bang said.    "Wagga is particularly great, if we don't know, we have many options of people to ask and help us, and we don't get lost in the crowds.    "There are a lot of people from our nationality as well so it feels comfortable and we always have someone to turn to."

CONFIDENCE: Htu San La Bang and Constance Okot say the voting system in Australia gives them confidence for their future.

Elections can be a confusing time for everyone, from the unknown candidates, to sifting through policies and navigating the papers with seemingly endless boxes to tick.

Yet one portion of the Australian population are often forgotten during these times, despite needing more assistance than most to place their votes.

Refugees and new Australian citizens receive little education regarding how to participate in elections.

Constance Okot moved to Australia in 2005 from Sudan, and has been voting as an Australian citizen since 2007.

"I've voted a few times now, for mayor and premier and prime minister, even though I don't really know what I'm voting for," she said.

"We still don't really know what we are doing and who we are voting for but we do it anyway because we don't want to pay a fine."

Miss Okot said despite the process being a little overwhelming at first, it was vastly more positive than the process people went through in Sudan.

"In Sudan, or rather Africa in general, there is a lot of bribery. They bribe people to vote for them, they will give money to make people vote for them or they will be at the voting stations telling you want to do and make you scared if you don't listen," she said.

"There was a lot of pressure. If you don't want to vote for that person though, it is a problem, sometimes people are killed, there are a lot of killings because people are fighting for leadership. It's not always safe."

In Australia however, Miss Okot said the experience was far less threatening.

"Here though, even though you don't know who you are voting for, it is peaceful," she said.

"You vote, but the Government will always know what they're going to do, the issues aren't as serious as worrying about whether or not you will survive. I'm very happy with that, there's no fear."

One of the benefits of the Australian government and electoral system is the freedom of opinion, according to Miss Okot.

"You know you can go to the office of a politician here and just talk about whatever you want, you can have a say, and they will try to help as much as they can," she said.

"Even when the Prime Minister had the egg through at him, he was diplomatic about it. He just said I don't want this to happen, and the other parties supported him, they didn't cheer on the lady who threw it, they still said that it was not right."

One lady more recent to the voting scene is Htu San La Bang who moved to Australia in 2010 from Myanmar.

"I've only voted once now since moving here. It was very difficult at first, I didn't understand how to vote or who was good or bad," she said.

"For us though, we need a lot of education coming here as refugees, so we look at the candidates who are trying to better the education system."

Mrs La Bang said support from services like Wagga's Multicultural Council were a key factor in getting through the election process successfully.

"We are lucky to have people like Belinda here at the Multicultural Council to help answer any questions we have and clear up any concerns," she said.

The Multicultural Council provide a detailed fact sheet for new citizens looking at how and where to vote.

Mrs La Bang said she appreciated the chance to have an honest opinion contributed to the way the country is run.

"In Myanmar, everyone has to vote now but before I left there was no voting at all because it was in military control," she said.

"Even though people can vote now though, it's very corrupt. Someone can be dead, but they will have their name used to vote in favour of someone to get them through. So it is a big problem, there is no honesty."

One common opinion from Australia's new citizens is that the support they receive from both the community and the people in power gives them great confidence.

"The leaders actually care it seems, they listen and if they have the power to help they will, if not, they will figure out ways to change that," Mrs La Bang said.

"Wagga is particularly great, if we don't know, we have many options of people to ask and help us, and we don't get lost in the crowds.

"There are a lot of people from our nationality as well so it feels comfortable and we always have someone to turn to."

DA 20 May 2019

DA 20 May 2019

Makeup of Wagga: Izera proudly wears Burundian fashion

15 May 2019

PROUD OF BURUNDI: Izera Mazambo holds different styles of print that can be worn. She says for Burundians simple and natural is best when it comes to accessories. Picture: Emma Hillier    Simple, but beautiful is the way to go for women from Burundi. In recent weeks, The Daily Advertiser has been highlighting fashions from cultures that are thriving in the region, with women leading the way forward. Izera Mazambo fled her homeland after the Burundian Civil War, which was an armed conflict, broke out in 1993 and lasted until 2005. "We came to Wagga because we were refugees in Zambia and there was a crisis in 1993 in my country so it caused us to leave," she said. "We lived in Zambia and after that, we applied to come here. We like Wagga because it is quiet and cool even though there are some challenges."    Mrs Mazambo said she misses the weather, the seasons are only wet or dry."You can dress up in whatever you want," she said. "I would love people to visit so they see mountains, valleys, animals." Mrs Mazambo said the traditional dress for women will vary depending on their age and formality of the occasion they are attending."They might dress in the same thing, but the way they wear it will be different," she said. "You have a separate top with a wraparound skirt. You have ones you wear at home and ones you wear to weddings."Mrs Mazambo is known for walking the streets proudly wearing her traditional clothes."For me, because I have girls, I want to maintain my culture so every Sunday and with every special occasion I put on my traditional dress," she said. "People know I wear them a lot."Mrs Mazambo said for Burundians simple and natural is best when it comes to accessories. "We are not jewellery people," she said."We are Pentecostal so they do not encourage jewels. "We are here so we try them, but they like to be natural so we don't even put hair extensions in. You will see a lot of Burundians with short hair." When asked why it was so important to cherish and share her culture Mrs Mazambo had a simple answer."I love it and it is mine," she said."I would love people to see how I am rather than me trying to live somebody's life and somebody's lifestyle, but mine is how it is meant to be."People should know who we are so they can know us better."Mrs Mazambo said she is often stopped in the street so people can ask where she gets her clothes from. "Compared to 10 years ago when I moved here, I think people are starting to wear more colours and more styles," she said.

PROUD OF BURUNDI: Izera Mazambo holds different styles of print that can be worn. She says for Burundians simple and natural is best when it comes to accessories. Picture: Emma Hillier

Simple, but beautiful is the way to go for women from Burundi. In recent weeks, The Daily Advertiser has been highlighting fashions from cultures that are thriving in the region, with women leading the way forward. Izera Mazambo fled her homeland after the Burundian Civil War, which was an armed conflict, broke out in 1993 and lasted until 2005. "We came to Wagga because we were refugees in Zambia and there was a crisis in 1993 in my country so it caused us to leave," she said. "We lived in Zambia and after that, we applied to come here. We like Wagga because it is quiet and cool even though there are some challenges."

Mrs Mazambo said she misses the weather, the seasons are only wet or dry."You can dress up in whatever you want," she said. "I would love people to visit so they see mountains, valleys, animals." Mrs Mazambo said the traditional dress for women will vary depending on their age and formality of the occasion they are attending."They might dress in the same thing, but the way they wear it will be different," she said. "You have a separate top with a wraparound skirt. You have ones you wear at home and ones you wear to weddings."Mrs Mazambo is known for walking the streets proudly wearing her traditional clothes."For me, because I have girls, I want to maintain my culture so every Sunday and with every special occasion I put on my traditional dress," she said. "People know I wear them a lot."Mrs Mazambo said for Burundians simple and natural is best when it comes to accessories. "We are not jewellery people," she said."We are Pentecostal so they do not encourage jewels. "We are here so we try them, but they like to be natural so we don't even put hair extensions in. You will see a lot of Burundians with short hair." When asked why it was so important to cherish and share her culture Mrs Mazambo had a simple answer."I love it and it is mine," she said."I would love people to see how I am rather than me trying to live somebody's life and somebody's lifestyle, but mine is how it is meant to be."People should know who we are so they can know us better."Mrs Mazambo said she is often stopped in the street so people can ask where she gets her clothes from. "Compared to 10 years ago when I moved here, I think people are starting to wear more colours and more styles," she said.

Wagga's Buddhist community light up lanterns to celebrate Vesak

13 May 2019

ALL SMILES: Dinara Piyasiri, 12, and Nethukee Jayasekera, 11, enjoy celebrating Vesak together.    Wagga's Buddhist community united to light lanterns and commemorate one of the most significant days in their religious calendar. Wagga Sri Lankan Community Association and the Potowa Buddhist Group celebrated Vesak on Sunday. "Buddha was born on this day, he attained enlightenment on the same date and he passed away on the same date again,'

ALL SMILES: Dinara Piyasiri, 12, and Nethukee Jayasekera, 11, enjoy celebrating Vesak together.

Wagga's Buddhist community united to light lanterns and commemorate one of the most significant days in their religious calendar. Wagga Sri Lankan Community Association and the Potowa Buddhist Group celebrated Vesak on Sunday. "Buddha was born on this day, he attained enlightenment on the same date and he passed away on the same date again,'

President Sampath Hathurusinghe said. “We are trying to educate our children about the importance of Buddhism and trying to keep the culture alive because some of them are struggling with the two cultures.    "The message was about peace and harmony, especially in light of the tragedy in Sri Lanka that saw hundreds killed." Mr Hathurusinghe said they had a meditation program from 9am to 4pm and afterwards celebrated with lanterns and a feast. "We make the lanterns from bamboo and encourage the children to get creative," he said, "It is a handicraft that we pass on to the children and we have a competition. “I would like to thank Belinda Crain from the Multicultural Council and all the community members who came along and supported us. "The message is about peace and harmony and the compassion that we extend to everybody.”Mr Hathurusinghe said their religion is thousands of years old and the Buddhists in Wagga took the role of passing on their history and traditions seriously.

President Sampath Hathurusinghe said. “We are trying to educate our children about the importance of Buddhism and trying to keep the culture alive because some of them are struggling with the two cultures.

"The message was about peace and harmony, especially in light of the tragedy in Sri Lanka that saw hundreds killed." Mr Hathurusinghe said they had a meditation program from 9am to 4pm and afterwards celebrated with lanterns and a feast. "We make the lanterns from bamboo and encourage the children to get creative," he said, "It is a handicraft that we pass on to the children and we have a competition. “I would like to thank Belinda Crain from the Multicultural Council and all the community members who came along and supported us. "The message is about peace and harmony and the compassion that we extend to everybody.”Mr Hathurusinghe said their religion is thousands of years old and the Buddhists in Wagga took the role of passing on their history and traditions seriously.

Makeup of Wagga: Creating a business showcasing Nigerian fashion

8 May 2019

PASSION FOR FASHION: Aderonke Ayedero designs her own dresses using African prints to showcase her culture. Picture: Les Smith    Designing and creating clothes inspired by Nigerian fashion is the passion of one woman in Wagga.    In recent weeks, The Daily Advertiser has been highlighting fashions from cultures that are thriving in the region, with women leading the way forward.

PASSION FOR FASHION: Aderonke Ayedero designs her own dresses using African prints to showcase her culture. Picture: Les Smith

Designing and creating clothes inspired by Nigerian fashion is the passion of one woman in Wagga.

In recent weeks, The Daily Advertiser has been highlighting fashions from cultures that are thriving in the region, with women leading the way forward.

Aderonke Ayedero, known to some as Elizabeth, moved to Wagga with her husband in 2017."I have been able to learn new things, meet new people and see what the culture is like here," she said. "It's very cold here."Ms Ayedero said she is proud of the country she was born in and all it has to offer. Nigeria is a country in West Africa which is rich in culture and diversity," she said. "We have three major ethnic groups in Nigeria, the Hausas, Igbos, and Yorubas and I am from the Yorubas. "We have two main religions, Christianity and Islam so our country is very diverse which is a good thing."Ms Ayedero designs her own clothes and loves to choose bright colours to stand out."I am wearing an Ankara print and this [her headpiece] is called gele," she said, "I can wear this outfit to a wedding, a christening and I can wear it to any type of occasion."It is simple, we have the more complex ones but I like this one."    Ms Ayedero said in her culture, women do not show their hair so wear headpieces to cover it. "This one is a design among the Yoruba people, the other ethnic groups have theirs as well," she said. "This one is the ceremonial one and we have one that we would wear day-to-day." Ms Ayedero adopts fashion styles and prints when designing and creating clothes for her online business. "I make blouses with African prints so I can wear with jeans," she said. "I love colours and I love to play with colours so I like to wear the African prints all the time."This dress is not complex to make. I like white and red, so I look for prints that have a fusion of white and red." Ms Ayedero said it is important for her to showcase Nigerian fashion."I am proud of my culture and I want people to see what my culture is like," she said."This is a way of me showcasing who I am to other people."Before I get to tell them who I am, they see it from what I am wearing."    For more information on Ms Ayedero's designs click    here   .

Aderonke Ayedero, known to some as Elizabeth, moved to Wagga with her husband in 2017."I have been able to learn new things, meet new people and see what the culture is like here," she said. "It's very cold here."Ms Ayedero said she is proud of the country she was born in and all it has to offer. Nigeria is a country in West Africa which is rich in culture and diversity," she said. "We have three major ethnic groups in Nigeria, the Hausas, Igbos, and Yorubas and I am from the Yorubas. "We have two main religions, Christianity and Islam so our country is very diverse which is a good thing."Ms Ayedero designs her own clothes and loves to choose bright colours to stand out."I am wearing an Ankara print and this [her headpiece] is called gele," she said, "I can wear this outfit to a wedding, a christening and I can wear it to any type of occasion."It is simple, we have the more complex ones but I like this one."

Ms Ayedero said in her culture, women do not show their hair so wear headpieces to cover it. "This one is a design among the Yoruba people, the other ethnic groups have theirs as well," she said. "This one is the ceremonial one and we have one that we would wear day-to-day." Ms Ayedero adopts fashion styles and prints when designing and creating clothes for her online business. "I make blouses with African prints so I can wear with jeans," she said. "I love colours and I love to play with colours so I like to wear the African prints all the time."This dress is not complex to make. I like white and red, so I look for prints that have a fusion of white and red." Ms Ayedero said it is important for her to showcase Nigerian fashion."I am proud of my culture and I want people to see what my culture is like," she said."This is a way of me showcasing who I am to other people."Before I get to tell them who I am, they see it from what I am wearing."

For more information on Ms Ayedero's designs click here.

Makeup of Wagga: Fashion from Constance's tribe in Sudan- MAY 1 2019 - 11:10AM

With an outfit made from cotton that most of the town would wear, this Wagga woman loves to accent her traditional ensemble with colourful beads - and plenty of them. Over the coming weeks, The Daily Advertiser will highlight fashions from cultures that are thriving in Wagga, with women leading the way forward.    Constance Okot, from South Sudan, said her family was one of the first to arrive in Wagga as a result of the conflict. "My husband and six children and I came to Australia and Wagga in 2005," she said. "I am now a Wagga person."I left South Sudan in the 1980s because of the war."    Ms Okot said for a long time there was no clothes. People we were wearing animal skins and leaves as a way to cover themselves. "Sudan, when they started to make cotton and cotton is white and that is soon what everyone wears," she said. "There is a skirt on the bottom and then a white fabric wrapped around. The beads are worn for beauty. "Everybody was wearing this, it has a lot of different names, but a lot of people call it kurbaba. "Ms Okot said in her area because there was only one factory, everyone wore the kurbaba, even men. "They have the shorts underneath," she said. "Sudan, mainly South Sudan, has been without a lot of things so people start adopting and wearing clothes from different countries. "Most of my tribe adopted Ugandan clothes and nowadays in a wedding, people in my culture prefer to wear a gomesi.    "It's a Ugandan thing."Ms Okot said the outfit is still commonly worn by people back home, but some use other fabrics and other styles. "People wear different colours now as well," she said."For a long time, there was no limit to where you could wear the outfit. You could wear to weddings, funerals and for a visit."Ms Okot joked the outfit was an all-in-one package when travelling."If you are on the way somewhere and you want to sleep then you just cover yourself with the sheet," she said."Easy, when you go to any occasion just find a place to sleep and you have a covering."Ms Okot prefers to wear beads around her waist, wrists, neck and head to add colour and beauty to her outfit. "It's important to wear our traditional outfits to remember our culture and how beautiful it is," she said."How easy it is to use it, you don't need to look for so many things."You just need a few things and you are ready to go."

With an outfit made from cotton that most of the town would wear, this Wagga woman loves to accent her traditional ensemble with colourful beads - and plenty of them. Over the coming weeks, The Daily Advertiser will highlight fashions from cultures that are thriving in Wagga, with women leading the way forward.

Constance Okot, from South Sudan, said her family was one of the first to arrive in Wagga as a result of the conflict. "My husband and six children and I came to Australia and Wagga in 2005," she said. "I am now a Wagga person."I left South Sudan in the 1980s because of the war."

Ms Okot said for a long time there was no clothes. People we were wearing animal skins and leaves as a way to cover themselves. "Sudan, when they started to make cotton and cotton is white and that is soon what everyone wears," she said. "There is a skirt on the bottom and then a white fabric wrapped around. The beads are worn for beauty. "Everybody was wearing this, it has a lot of different names, but a lot of people call it kurbaba. "Ms Okot said in her area because there was only one factory, everyone wore the kurbaba, even men. "They have the shorts underneath," she said. "Sudan, mainly South Sudan, has been without a lot of things so people start adopting and wearing clothes from different countries. "Most of my tribe adopted Ugandan clothes and nowadays in a wedding, people in my culture prefer to wear a gomesi.

"It's a Ugandan thing."Ms Okot said the outfit is still commonly worn by people back home, but some use other fabrics and other styles. "People wear different colours now as well," she said."For a long time, there was no limit to where you could wear the outfit. You could wear to weddings, funerals and for a visit."Ms Okot joked the outfit was an all-in-one package when travelling."If you are on the way somewhere and you want to sleep then you just cover yourself with the sheet," she said."Easy, when you go to any occasion just find a place to sleep and you have a covering."Ms Okot prefers to wear beads around her waist, wrists, neck and head to add colour and beauty to her outfit. "It's important to wear our traditional outfits to remember our culture and how beautiful it is," she said."How easy it is to use it, you don't need to look for so many things."You just need a few things and you are ready to go."

Wagga holds candlelight vigil in memory of Sri Lanka bombing victims

29 April 2019

29 April 2019

srilanka vigil.png

Makeup of Wagga: 'Fashionable' rite of passage for women

APRIL 23 2019 - 4:00PM

Annie Lewis

FASHION FROM HOME: Saba Nabi and Ariba Omar, 9, wear the traditional outfits suitable for the age and status. Picture: Emma Hillier    There is nothing quite like wearing a sari for the very first time, said one Wagga woman.    Over the coming weeks, The Daily Advertiser will be highlighting fashions from cultures that are thriving in Wagga with women leading the way forward.Saba Nabi said the traditional dress in India is the well-known sari that has been around since medieval times.    "It comprises of a short skirt and then you tie the five-yard sari around it as well as the blouse," she said. "You wear this on all occasions, whether formal or informal. "During weddings and festivals, you wear all the bright colours."Ms Nabi moved to Wagga six years ago from Delhi to finish her PhD at Charles Sturt University and became an Australian citizen in 2018. She said she loves green so tends to choose saris in that colour. "When you are a teenager and you graduate from school, that is the first time you wear a sari," Ms Nabi said. "It makes you feel more grown up and then after marriage most of the girls wear saris. "I was so happy when I wore my first one and I borrowed a lot from my mum."    Elections, cocktail parties, weddings and other occasions are all times to wear a sari, Ms Nabi said. "I love to dress in a traditional way when I can," she said. “It gives you a distinct identity; I am Australian and Indian at heart. “More commonly, women will wear a tunic with leggings for a more casual look because it is more comfortable. “MS Nabi said her daughter is wearing a lehnga, which is made up of the long skirt and the top, known as the choli. “That’s what young and unmarried girls wear," she said.    Ariba Omar, 9, said she loves wearing the lehnga. “I feel very pretty in it," she said. "It is a very long skirt with a very pretty top. "Some of these are very itchy, but some of them are very soft but the good thing is how pretty it is."Ariba said she could not wait for her first sari, as long as it not itchy she joked. "I want my first one to be red," she said. Ms Nabi said they would often import the fabrics or buy it when visiting home. "I am very bad at stitching so I buy everything," she laughed. “I used to watch mum drape it, but I am still not great at it. My mother would be horrified if she saw how I wrapped my sari."

FASHION FROM HOME: Saba Nabi and Ariba Omar, 9, wear the traditional outfits suitable for the age and status. Picture: Emma Hillier

There is nothing quite like wearing a sari for the very first time, said one Wagga woman.

Over the coming weeks, The Daily Advertiser will be highlighting fashions from cultures that are thriving in Wagga with women leading the way forward.Saba Nabi said the traditional dress in India is the well-known sari that has been around since medieval times.

"It comprises of a short skirt and then you tie the five-yard sari around it as well as the blouse," she said. "You wear this on all occasions, whether formal or informal. "During weddings and festivals, you wear all the bright colours."Ms Nabi moved to Wagga six years ago from Delhi to finish her PhD at Charles Sturt University and became an Australian citizen in 2018. She said she loves green so tends to choose saris in that colour. "When you are a teenager and you graduate from school, that is the first time you wear a sari," Ms Nabi said. "It makes you feel more grown up and then after marriage most of the girls wear saris. "I was so happy when I wore my first one and I borrowed a lot from my mum."

Elections, cocktail parties, weddings and other occasions are all times to wear a sari, Ms Nabi said. "I love to dress in a traditional way when I can," she said. “It gives you a distinct identity; I am Australian and Indian at heart. “More commonly, women will wear a tunic with leggings for a more casual look because it is more comfortable. “MS Nabi said her daughter is wearing a lehnga, which is made up of the long skirt and the top, known as the choli. “That’s what young and unmarried girls wear," she said.

Ariba Omar, 9, said she loves wearing the lehnga. “I feel very pretty in it," she said. "It is a very long skirt with a very pretty top. "Some of these are very itchy, but some of them are very soft but the good thing is how pretty it is."Ariba said she could not wait for her first sari, as long as it not itchy she joked. "I want my first one to be red," she said. Ms Nabi said they would often import the fabrics or buy it when visiting home. "I am very bad at stitching so I buy everything," she laughed. “I used to watch mum drape it, but I am still not great at it. My mother would be horrified if she saw how I wrapped my sari."

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Yazidi New Year 2019

The Yazidi celebrations for New Year were covered by the Daily Advertiser (see article and photos below).

Daily Advertiser, 20th April 2019

Daily Advertiser, 20th April 2019

More photos of the Yazidi New Year were taken by the team at the Daily Advertiser:

Daily Advertiser, 20th of April 2019

Daily Advertiser, 20th of April 2019

Makeup of Wagga: Geeta Parajuli brings a piece of Nepal to Australian fashion

Annie Lewis 16 April

REPRESENTING NEPAL: Geeta Parajuli says she is proud of her heritage and the traditional dress that reminds her of Nepal's rich history. Picture: Les Smith    Although a proud Australian, one Nepalese woman holds her heritage close to her heart.    Over the coming weeks, The Daily Advertiser will highlight fashions from cultures that are thriving in Wagga, with women leading the way forward.    Geeta Parajuli said the traditional Nepali dress is the sari and chaubandi cholo.    "The sari is a five-metre long material that is folded into plaits and tucked into a long skirt with no plaits in it that we wear underneath to hold the material in place," she said. "The sari is wrapped in such a way to fit bodies of any size. Cholos and saris could be made out of any fabric, but Dhaka is unique to Nepal."    Ms Parajuli said she came to Australia to ensure her child received the best education. "Though I am an Australian citizen, Nepal is always in my heart," she said. "I have lived here about 15 years, so I love Australia equally. I always love to wear our cultural costume to represent my country."    Ms Parajuli said her dress is made out of the original fabric that forms the basis of one of the most important small industries in Nepal."Chaubandi means closed in four points and there are no buttons," she said."Dhaka is a hand-woven fabric and the national hat, called topi, for men is also made out of the same material.    "Palpali Dhaka is woven in the Palpa district of western Nepal and is very famous and provides employment to the local community." As well as the fabrics, there is a range of accessories used to add colour and signify relationship status in Nepalese culture.On example is the choora, the glass bangles and all gold jewellery is 24-carat. "The red on my hair partition is called sindoor, which is a sign of being married," Ms Parajuli said. "We also put a red tika on [the] forehead. "The golden necklace is called potey, the bunch of beads are called tilahari, which is another sign of being married. The husband will give the wife these items during the wedding ceremony." Ms Parajuli said when a woman's husband dies; she is not supposed to wear the tilahari or sindoor. The traditional outfit used to be the daily wear, especially for those in rural areas, until there were modifications.    "These days we only wear it on certain occasion like weddings and other festivals as it is very hard to carry while doing day-to-day chores," Ms Parajuli said.

REPRESENTING NEPAL: Geeta Parajuli says she is proud of her heritage and the traditional dress that reminds her of Nepal's rich history. Picture: Les Smith

Although a proud Australian, one Nepalese woman holds her heritage close to her heart.

Over the coming weeks, The Daily Advertiser will highlight fashions from cultures that are thriving in Wagga, with women leading the way forward.

Geeta Parajuli said the traditional Nepali dress is the sari and chaubandi cholo.

"The sari is a five-metre long material that is folded into plaits and tucked into a long skirt with no plaits in it that we wear underneath to hold the material in place," she said. "The sari is wrapped in such a way to fit bodies of any size. Cholos and saris could be made out of any fabric, but Dhaka is unique to Nepal."

Ms Parajuli said she came to Australia to ensure her child received the best education. "Though I am an Australian citizen, Nepal is always in my heart," she said. "I have lived here about 15 years, so I love Australia equally. I always love to wear our cultural costume to represent my country."

Ms Parajuli said her dress is made out of the original fabric that forms the basis of one of the most important small industries in Nepal."Chaubandi means closed in four points and there are no buttons," she said."Dhaka is a hand-woven fabric and the national hat, called topi, for men is also made out of the same material.

"Palpali Dhaka is woven in the Palpa district of western Nepal and is very famous and provides employment to the local community." As well as the fabrics, there is a range of accessories used to add colour and signify relationship status in Nepalese culture.On example is the choora, the glass bangles and all gold jewellery is 24-carat. "The red on my hair partition is called sindoor, which is a sign of being married," Ms Parajuli said. "We also put a red tika on [the] forehead. "The golden necklace is called potey, the bunch of beads are called tilahari, which is another sign of being married. The husband will give the wife these items during the wedding ceremony." Ms Parajuli said when a woman's husband dies; she is not supposed to wear the tilahari or sindoor. The traditional outfit used to be the daily wear, especially for those in rural areas, until there were modifications.

"These days we only wear it on certain occasion like weddings and other festivals as it is very hard to carry while doing day-to-day chores," Ms Parajuli said.

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Wagga Multicultural Council arts project to inspire young people towards more cultural celebrations

Toby Vue

ASSION FOR MUSIC: Maryam Sulaiman, 17, and Tuba Gundor, 16, earlier in 2019 where they celebrated nine months of Wagga Multicultural Council's mentoring program.  Cultural celebrations among the Riverina's young people are set to receive creative inspiration when a major arts project begins tomorrow. The 'No Borders In Our Sky' project is two days of music and art workshops for young people of various backgrounds. The program is a joint-initiative between Wagga Multicultural Council and Heaps Decent, an Australian-based arts organisation working with young people and emerging artists from diverse communities.  The organisation provides a means by which young people may tell their stories in their own ways. WMC community-development officer Thom Paton said the program is about "celebrating cultures ... and for everyone to come together". "Basically, it's a monthly program where Heaps Decent will come to Wagga to facilitate a range of different arts workshops," Mr Paton said. "It's a creative outlets for young people to explore their creative mediums — whether that be song writing or music."  The workshops will also have digital arts, including virtual- and augmented-reality technologies. While WMC and Heaps Decent have been working together for about eight years now, this is the first time this kind of project has been established. A number of musical and visual artists, along with two music producers, will attend, bringing a portable recording studio with them. The program will run on Monday and Tuesday, starting at 10.30am each day at 18 Station Place, Wagga.The initiative is funded through Multicultural NSW.  14 April 2019   https://www.dailyadvertiser.com.au/story/6043238/major-arts-project-to-help-young-people-celebrate-cultures/?cs=9402&fbclid=IwAR1iH1IChABS5mLpIZb11pcvt8VbjtvBgAYn5PqGmc0DrqcyXMlGW1ILFXk

ASSION FOR MUSIC: Maryam Sulaiman, 17, and Tuba Gundor, 16, earlier in 2019 where they celebrated nine months of Wagga Multicultural Council's mentoring program.

Cultural celebrations among the Riverina's young people are set to receive creative inspiration when a major arts project begins tomorrow. The 'No Borders In Our Sky' project is two days of music and art workshops for young people of various backgrounds. The program is a joint-initiative between Wagga Multicultural Council and Heaps Decent, an Australian-based arts organisation working with young people and emerging artists from diverse communities.

The organisation provides a means by which young people may tell their stories in their own ways. WMC community-development officer Thom Paton said the program is about "celebrating cultures ... and for everyone to come together". "Basically, it's a monthly program where Heaps Decent will come to Wagga to facilitate a range of different arts workshops," Mr Paton said. "It's a creative outlets for young people to explore their creative mediums — whether that be song writing or music."

The workshops will also have digital arts, including virtual- and augmented-reality technologies. While WMC and Heaps Decent have been working together for about eight years now, this is the first time this kind of project has been established. A number of musical and visual artists, along with two music producers, will attend, bringing a portable recording studio with them. The program will run on Monday and Tuesday, starting at 10.30am each day at 18 Station Place, Wagga.The initiative is funded through Multicultural NSW.

14 April 2019

https://www.dailyadvertiser.com.au/story/6043238/major-arts-project-to-help-young-people-celebrate-cultures/?cs=9402&fbclid=IwAR1iH1IChABS5mLpIZb11pcvt8VbjtvBgAYn5PqGmc0DrqcyXMlGW1ILFXk

DA 15 april 2019

DA 15 april 2019

Makeup of Wagga: Fashion inspired by Filipino heroines

PROUD OF HER HERITAGE: Annabelle Borja wears the national dress that is inspired by Maria Clara, who is a Filipino female heroine. Picture: Emma Hillier  A dress made from pineapple fibre might seem unusual to some, but for Wagga Filipinos, it is the material of their national dress - a fashion statement they are proud to make.  Over the coming weeks, The Daily Advertiser will be highlighting fashions from cultures that are thriving in Wagga with women leading the way forward.  Annabelle Borja moved to Australia looking for a better life for her family and arrived in Wagga in 2015.  Annabelle Borja moved to Australia looking for a better life for her family and arrived in Wagga in 2015. "I am a permanent resident and I just lodged for citizenship," she said. Annabelle Borja moved to Australia looking for a better life for her family and arrived in Wagga in 2015. "I am a permanent resident and I just lodged for citizenship," she said. Mrs Borja said she is proud of her Filipino heritage and enjoys the chance to wear the national dress known as the baro't saya. "Baro't means the top and saya means the skirt," she said.  "This is inspired the outfit of Maria Clara one of the female heroines in our national heroes book entitled Noli me Tangere, which means Touch Me Notthat was written by Dr Jose P Rizal. "Maria is a perfect example of a Maria Clara who is very conservative, very refined and very principled who fought for her rights as a person."  Mrs Borja said she is proud of her Filipino heritage and enjoys the chance to wear the national dress known as the baro't saya.  "Baro't means the top and saya means the skirt," she said. "This is inspired the outfit of Maria Clara one of the female heroines in our national heroes book entitled Noli me Tangere, which means Touch Me Notthat was written by Dr Jose P Rizal. "Maria is a perfect example of a Maria Clara who is very conservative, very refined and very principled who fought for her rights as a person."Mrs Borja said the baro't saya was typically worn by the lower class as an everyday outfit."Now in modern times, we wear it on Independence Day every June 12 and there this is this one week where we celebrate our language every third week of August as well as weddings, functions and political events," she said.  "It used to be the daily wear, especially for those in rural areas until there were fusions and modifications. "The elite class then started to wear it as well and it's not worn a lot in modern times, but you see modified versions such as in Miss Universe Competitions." Mrs Borja said the baro't saya is made of pineapple fibre, known as piña, which falls softly when worn and is a "more sophisticated" look. "There are also pearls embedded because the pearl is our national gem and that's why I have paired this necklace with the dress," she said.  "The fan is a part of the costume as well and it can be any colour, and often reds or blues are chosen. "Piña is not readily available in Australia so normally we export it."Mrs Borja said she considers Australia her home and while her children have been raised here, she still wants them to be proud of their heritage."It's important to go back to your roots," she said. "We still have the blood of The Philippines and by wearing our national dress, it is one way of giving back and knowing who we are. It's also a way to show our kids and teach them our heritage, culture and past."

PROUD OF HER HERITAGE: Annabelle Borja wears the national dress that is inspired by Maria Clara, who is a Filipino female heroine. Picture: Emma Hillier

A dress made from pineapple fibre might seem unusual to some, but for Wagga Filipinos, it is the material of their national dress - a fashion statement they are proud to make.

Over the coming weeks, The Daily Advertiser will be highlighting fashions from cultures that are thriving in Wagga with women leading the way forward.

Annabelle Borja moved to Australia looking for a better life for her family and arrived in Wagga in 2015.

Annabelle Borja moved to Australia looking for a better life for her family and arrived in Wagga in 2015. "I am a permanent resident and I just lodged for citizenship," she said. Annabelle Borja moved to Australia looking for a better life for her family and arrived in Wagga in 2015. "I am a permanent resident and I just lodged for citizenship," she said. Mrs Borja said she is proud of her Filipino heritage and enjoys the chance to wear the national dress known as the baro't saya. "Baro't means the top and saya means the skirt," she said.

"This is inspired the outfit of Maria Clara one of the female heroines in our national heroes book entitled Noli me Tangere, which means Touch Me Notthat was written by Dr Jose P Rizal. "Maria is a perfect example of a Maria Clara who is very conservative, very refined and very principled who fought for her rights as a person."

Mrs Borja said she is proud of her Filipino heritage and enjoys the chance to wear the national dress known as the baro't saya.

"Baro't means the top and saya means the skirt," she said. "This is inspired the outfit of Maria Clara one of the female heroines in our national heroes book entitled Noli me Tangere, which means Touch Me Notthat was written by Dr Jose P Rizal. "Maria is a perfect example of a Maria Clara who is very conservative, very refined and very principled who fought for her rights as a person."Mrs Borja said the baro't saya was typically worn by the lower class as an everyday outfit."Now in modern times, we wear it on Independence Day every June 12 and there this is this one week where we celebrate our language every third week of August as well as weddings, functions and political events," she said.

"It used to be the daily wear, especially for those in rural areas until there were fusions and modifications. "The elite class then started to wear it as well and it's not worn a lot in modern times, but you see modified versions such as in Miss Universe Competitions." Mrs Borja said the baro't saya is made of pineapple fibre, known as piña, which falls softly when worn and is a "more sophisticated" look. "There are also pearls embedded because the pearl is our national gem and that's why I have paired this necklace with the dress," she said.

"The fan is a part of the costume as well and it can be any colour, and often reds or blues are chosen. "Piña is not readily available in Australia so normally we export it."Mrs Borja said she considers Australia her home and while her children have been raised here, she still wants them to be proud of their heritage."It's important to go back to your roots," she said. "We still have the blood of The Philippines and by wearing our national dress, it is one way of giving back and knowing who we are. It's also a way to show our kids and teach them our heritage, culture and past."

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Wagga United start Pascoe Cup season with 6-0 win over Cootamundra

DOUBLE: Nazar Yousif scored two goals for Wagga United against Cootamundra on Saturday.  Wagga United kicked off their Pascoe Cup campaign with a 6-0 thrashing of Cootamundra on Saturday night. Wagga United made light work of the Strikers in a dominant display under lights at Rawlings Park. The scoreline finished at 6-0 and it could have been more as Wagga United suggested they will be a serious player in this year's title race. Nazar Yousif scored a double for United, while Max Lysaght, Tyler Allen, Lincoln Weir and Adrian Merrigan also got on the scoreboard.  Wagga United coach Travis Weir was happy to start the season with a big win. "It was quite dominant," Weir said. "It probably could have been more...but it was the first time we've played together and we've still got lots to work on." Cam Farey impressed for Wagga United in his first game back in years, while Adrian Weir was another to start the year strongly. In a surprise round one result, Leeton United defeated Tolland 2-1 at Leeton. Adam Raso scored two goals for Leeton, while keeper Jarrod Sillis pulled off an important penalty save.

DOUBLE: Nazar Yousif scored two goals for Wagga United against Cootamundra on Saturday.

Wagga United kicked off their Pascoe Cup campaign with a 6-0 thrashing of Cootamundra on Saturday night. Wagga United made light work of the Strikers in a dominant display under lights at Rawlings Park. The scoreline finished at 6-0 and it could have been more as Wagga United suggested they will be a serious player in this year's title race. Nazar Yousif scored a double for United, while Max Lysaght, Tyler Allen, Lincoln Weir and Adrian Merrigan also got on the scoreboard.

Wagga United coach Travis Weir was happy to start the season with a big win. "It was quite dominant," Weir said. "It probably could have been more...but it was the first time we've played together and we've still got lots to work on." Cam Farey impressed for Wagga United in his first game back in years, while Adrian Weir was another to start the year strongly. In a surprise round one result, Leeton United defeated Tolland 2-1 at Leeton. Adam Raso scored two goals for Leeton, while keeper Jarrod Sillis pulled off an important penalty save.

Daily Advertiser, April the 2nd, 2019
Story by Annie Lewis

Front page story about our Refugee Youth Peer Mentoring Program, following our barbecue event and mentee-led film project! We are looking for more mentors, so please get in touch if you are interested.

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This story really tugs at our heartstrings!

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Fusion boost

At a little garden in Wagga, immigrants have been sowing the seeds for diversity, planting fruit and vegetables from their motherlands. From that paddock, to a party, the produce will be showcased at the upcoming Fusion Festival.

https://www.facebook.com/9NewsRiverina/videos/2409787095722263/UzpfSTIyODQ4NDkxNzU1NzUyNTo1MjgxMDY0NTA5Mjg3MDI/

Yazidi women, Diyana Gundor, was persecuted in her homeland of Iraq..eventually finding safety in Australia.

Now, two years after arriving in Wagga, english lessons have allowed her to thrive.. integrating into the community and selling her ever popular flatbread...

https://www.facebook.com/WINNewsRiverina/videos/592225047855031/

Candle light Vigil WIN NEWS

Hundreds of candles have been lit and flowers laid in Wagga's Victory Memorial Gardens in the wake of the tragic events in Christchurch.

In a display of solidarity, people from all walks of life have come together to show the city's Muslim community support and love.

https://www.facebook.com/WINNewsRiverina/videos/339403450043941/UzpfSTEwMDAwMTc4NTk1MDU5MDoyMTA2Nzc2Mjc2MDU4NTUw/?epa=SEARCH_BOX

Daily Advertiser, 18th March 2019

Daily Advertiser, 18th March 2019

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Wagga's Candlelight Night Vigil for Christchurch victims sees hundreds gather in Victory Memorial Garden

MARCH 18 2019 - 9:00AM, Annie Lewis

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More than 400 people gathered in the Victory Memorial Garden's to mourn those lost in the Christchurch terrorist attack and show support for Wagga's own Muslim community. 

On Friday, two gunmen opened fire at two central Christchurch mosques, Al Noor and Linwood, killing more than 40 people. 

Muslims and non-Muslims alike gathered on Sunday in Wagga to honour the lives lost and show acts of terrorism have no place in any community. 

Dr Ata Ur Rehman said he had been sent the video of the massacre and could not believe what he was seeing.

"If this attack proves anything, it is that terrorism has no religion," he said. 

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"It makes me even more distressed to realise the person who committed this act was an Australian.

"Despite the anti-Muslim sentiments being spread on social media, we will continue to stand as proud Australians." 

Dr Rehman said he had been overwhelmed by the support shown by people from all works of life. 

"A special thanks to the Wagga Police for making sure our places of worship are safe," he said. 

Dr Rehman said an event such as the tragedy in Christchurch shows the dangers of social media.

"We need to work together to remove extreme hate, whether right-wing or ISIS, from social media," he said. 

Azizeh Abbasi said learning about the horrific deaths of her fellow Muslims in New Zealand was heartbreaking. 

"The important thing is to have peace and in my opinion, it doesn't matter what religion you are," she said. 

"Islamophobia was the centre of the attack but in reality, we think everyone should be treated the same. 

"It is so beautiful to see so many people who are gathering in support." 

Ms Abbasi has been living in Wagga for 18 months after fleeing from Afghanistan to Iran and reminds the community, this is not the first time Muslims have been targeted.

"In my country, there is a war every day and many Muslim people are being killed by the Taliban and ISIS," she said. 

Mariam Rehman, a Wagga Muslim, said she was fearful and had not slept properly since news of the massacre emerged.

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"When I saw the turnout, my emotions changed because support is not only holding a candle, it means they're saying 'we are your fellow Australians'," she said.

"It hits so close to home when you find out the attacker was Australian and it's your neighbours.

"Before this, I would ignore racism but it is our role to stand up against violence and it shouldn't take more than 40 lives for us to realise what discrimination is."

Mostafa Eslampanah recently escaped Afghanistan and has been living in Wagga for two months. 

"Hearing about what happened, it is upsetting and I hope to never see something like this happen again," he said. 

"One of the best things about Wagga is seeing the people come together now." 

Saira Ali said it was heartbreaking to learn of the lives lost, but the candlelight vigil provided emotional support.

"It is a dark time, but it is good to see so many people here," she said. 

"To my fellow Muslims, we are with you and we pray for you and for all of humanity, not only Muslims, to be protected." 

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Kylie Anderson attended the vigil along with her children in a show of support for their friends. 

"We have Muslim friends in our community and we are to support them and New Zealand and to show respect," she said.

"It is so important to show that we are all one community.

"As the kids wrote on their signs, everyone one is equal and we need more love instead of hate." 

Riverina Police District Inspector Adrian Telfer said they attended the vigil and were working closely with the Muslim community to ensure they felt safe. 

Belinda Crain, CEO of the Multicultural Community, said it was beautiful to see so many people attend the candlelight vigil. 


Multicultural gathering celebrates International Women's Day

Jody Lindbeck

Women from around the world have come together in Wagga to celebrate International Women's Day.

There were women from the Yazhidi community, from Burundi, Zimbabwe, South Sudan, Afghanistan and Nepal along with many others who call this city home at an event organised by the Wagga Women's Health Centre and the Wagga Multi-Cultural Council.

The day-long event included art, craft, music, interactive activities, lucky door prizes, children's activities and a massive, community-wide shared lunch of multi-cultural cuisine, including a sausage sizzle.

"The theme for International Women’s Day 2019 is Balance for Better," Julie Mecham from the Wagga Women's Health Centre.

"This theme is a call to action to strive for gender balance throughout the world, to support women's advancement and to openly celebrate our achievements, not only on International Women’s Day, but all throughout the year."

Related:

Women of Wagga speak out on gender equality

For Lucy Zatang, who is originally from Myanmar, International Women's Day is a chance to reflect.

Ms Zatang spent seven years in Malaysia as a refugee  - and her husband nearer 10 years - before being able to resettle in Australia.

The couple, who have four young children, came immediately to Wagga after arriving in Australia.

Ms Zatang said one of the joys for her was the range of activities open to her two sons and two daughters here.

"We are free and happy and healthy. Wagga is clean and quiet. There are beautiful people here, who smile at young on the street," she said.

"There are lots of different activities and places to go."

International Women's Day has been celebrated for more than a century.

The first gathering in central Europe in 1911 was supported by more than a million people.

International Womens Day 2019 Celebration

https://www.prime7.com.au/news/6946-womens-day

Wagga's Yazidi community protest horrific execution of 50 women

STANDING UP: Haji Gundor, Rashed Shani Baqi and Aras Kano are helping to organise the protest saying 'enough is enough'. Picture: Annie Lewis

STANDING UP: Haji Gundor, Rashed Shani Baqi and Aras Kano are helping to organise the protest saying 'enough is enough'. Picture: Annie Lewis

Wagga's Yazidi community are standing up and readying for a peaceful protest to cry out against the horrific execution of 50 women in Syria. Rashed Shani Baqi said soldiers discovered the bodies last week when they gained access to Baghuz, where ISIS is desperately clinging to their territory. "Women are captured as slaves and raped," he said. "Soldiers surrounded ISIS in a small area and they were told if any ISIS were killed then the Yazidi slaves would be murdered. "Last week, 50 women were found executed with their heads cut off." Haji Gundor said horrific events continue to happen to the Yazidi community and the young children left in Iraq and Syria are being brought up as child soldiers for ISIS with no knowledge of their culture. "It is really hard to see this," he said."Not only do we feel the pain of who losing who has already been killed, but now it is even more painful."One boy, interviewed by an overseas journalist, remembers nothing after his parents were killed and he was trained to kill." Mr Shani Baqi and Mr Gundor both said they couldn't understand why no one was reaching out to help the Yazidi."We want to the government to try and save the women and children who are still in captivity," Mr Shani Baqi said. 

"After five years of war, everyone knows the Yazidi are in captivity and are being sold, used and killed." This is not the first time the Yazidi community have been targeted by ISIS. Mr Gundor said ISIS attacked Shingal, Iraq murdering more than 5000 people on August 3, 2014, and this is only one of 74 genocides. "We are a peaceful people and our women, men and children are being killed," he said. "If something is not done, this religion is going to end." Mr Shani Baqi and Mr Gundor are pleading for international aid for those left behind. "If the world does not move, then I think we will lose all of them," Mr Shani Baqi said. "There are thousands of stories of suffering, but we are choosing to focus on this one for now."CEO of the Multicultural Council, Belinda Crain, said the council was supporting the Yazidi community and encouraged Wagga's residents to come down and show their support. 

Yazidis in Australia: waiting for justice

https://www.centralnews.com.au/2019/02/23/458839/yazidis-in-australia-the-wait-for-justice?fbclid=IwAR01YLf63wC5l7i0E5TJxJ6Rc8WRL-9b-H7OChXDZNTTIT0rB8sbovj9f2A

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Smith Family's Learning for Life program and Multicultural Council partnership helps Wagga children
JANUARY 31 2019 - 5:00PM - Annie Lewis, Daily Advertiser
https://www.dailyadvertiser.com.au/story/5879783/smith-family-helps-wagga-children-get-an-equal-start/

🏈 AUSSIE RULES A HIT WITH REFUGEE KIDS 🏈
"I think AFL is the best sport I've ever had," says 11-year-old Rozaliya Hasan. She's one of the students in an Aussie Rules Football program in the Riverina that's been helping refugee children feel more included in the community. 🏃🏃‍♀️
Read more: https://ab.co/2VB3cUI
AFL Riverina @multiculturalcouncilwaggawagga

IEAA explore the link

https://vimeo.com/293890665

Refugee kids shine in Wagga Wagga schools

https://www.abc.net.au/radio/programs/am/refugee-kids-shine-in-wagga-wagga-schools/10422472

ABC Riverina Common Thread

https://www.facebook.com/abcriverina/videos/164447747819989/



2018 NSW International Student of the Year Awards - Higher Education Winner

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ZB7114ly40

SBS: Wagga Wagga home to Australia's first Yazidi burial site

https://www.sbs.com.au/yourlanguage/kurdish/en/audiotrack/first-yezidi-burial-site-australia

SBS Kurdish radio

https://www.sbs.com.au/yourlanguage/kurdish/en/audiotrack/first-yezidi-buria

SBS kurdish Pêkanîna yekem goristana Êzîdî

https://www.sbs.com.au/yourlanguage/kurdish/ku/audiotrack/endamen-civaka-ezidi-spasiya-xwe-peshkeshe-sharedariya-wagga-dikin?language=ku

Land allocated for Yazidi Community in Wagga Wagga Monumental Cemetery

https://www.facebook.com/yezidi.au/videos/841763359365481/

Prime TV moving Ceremony 4th anniversary of Yazidi Genocide

https://www.prime7.com.au/news/3287-moving-ceremony

Win News- Wagga Goal Umpire Basil Shani Baqi- AFL Umpire Diversity Talent Camp

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1752948324774682&id=100001785950590

Prime 7 News:20/06/18-World Refugee Day

https://www.facebook.com/prime7newswagga/videos/1704685736233499/

Wagga's Multicultural Council sets up the Refugee Youth Mentoring Program

The Daily Advertiser: 21/5/18 - Read article

Refugees wanted: NSW country town Walla Walla looks overseas to fill employment gaps

ABC News: 21/5/18 - Read article

Wagga’s Burmese residents plea for international intervention in Kachin

The Daily Advertiser: 9/5/18 - Read article

Wagga's Yazidi community celebrates the New Year

The Daily Advertiser: 18/4/18 - Read article

Multicultural Council’s Common Threads provides an opportunities for refugees to learn new skills

The Daily Advertiser: 28/3/18 - Read article

Woman 2 Woman conference set to help Wagga celebrate International Women's Day

The Daily Advertiser: 2/3/18 - Read article

yazidi refugee teacher

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-11-09/yazidi-refugee-and-teacher-at-mount-austin-public-school/9126990

Learning to Swim - ABC Local News

 

NSW Government helps Wagga Wagga refugees smile

Refugees can face challenges adjusting to a new life in regional NSW. A group of professionals in Wagga Wagga are determined to make sure that health will not be one of them.

View video


New Year Celebration: April 2017

Yazidi refugees rejoice in first New Year in Australia

The Australian: 19/4/17 - View article

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton visits Wagga for Yazidi new year with refugees

The Daily Advertiser: 20/04/17 - View article

Wagga's Yazidi community marks New Year

SBS Radio: 19/04/17 - Listen to audio 

Yazidi New Year: Immigration Minister Peter Dutton tells refugees of work to increase Syrian intake

ABC Online: 20/04/17 - Read article

Australia's Yazidi community to celebrate new year in Wagga

Riverina Leader: 17/04/17 – Read article

Yazidi Celebration - Hundreds of Yazidi refugees gathered in Wagga today to celebrate their new year.

Facebook – WIN news - Watch video

Immigration minister visits Wagga

Triple M Riverina - Read article 


Angela Aseka

Ashmont child will soon be banished from the country with her Kenyan mum

The Daily Advertiser: 1/4/17 - Read article

Angela Aseka to be deported from Australia after 14 years

The Daily Advertiser: 5/4/17 - Read article

Peter Dutton back deportation of Australian-born child

The Border Mail: 6/4/17 - Read article

Kenyan mother thankful for support in immigration row

The Daily Advertiser: 9/4/17 - Read article

Fresh calls for Immigration Minister Peter Dutton to intervene in 'outrageous' deportation

The Daily Advertiser: 18/4/17 - Read article