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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."

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

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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

Daily Advertiser, 17th April, 2019

Daily Advertiser, 17th April, 2019

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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 Not that 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 Not that 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