Connecting Newly Arrived People
With Established Australians
3 March 2015
Perth is set to join a new initiative currently spreading across the nation: Welcome Dinners for local migrants, international students, refugees and asylum seekers to share a meal with local established Australians.
Launched in March 2013 by Sydney-based joiningthedots, The Welcome Dinner Project aims to create a platform for meaningful connection, with every participant bringing a dish to share, sparking friendships between people of diverse cultures and encouraging local collaborative endeavours.
joiningthedots founding Director Penny Elsley is delighted to see the grass-roots initiative being established in Perth thanks to the hard work of a team of volunteers led by Ms Rachelle Rose of Mount Hawthorn and supported by the Edmund Rice Centre Mirrabooka, Apex Perth, Amnesty International Australia and other community groups.
Ms Elsley explains; “This project was conceived after observing a need for both newly arrived people and established Australians to find opportunities to meet each other in ways that do not seem tokenistic. The Welcome Dinners have proven to be a powerful way to build community connections. We’ve had an international student say: ‘For the first time I feel like I don’t miss my family’. One refugee said, ‘This is the first time I feel free in this country’. It’s just a dinner, but it means a lot to people.”
With over 60 Welcome Dinners, including a dozen large-scale events already hosted across Australia, The Welcome Dinner Project Perth will be launched with a Welcome Dinner at the Herb Graham Recreation Centre Mirrabooka on Saturday evening, 14th March.
Stephen Bowman from the Edmund Rice Centre says there is strong alignment between The Welcome Dinner Project and the values and priorities of the Centre.
Amnesty’s Western Australia Branch President Wendy Watson says, “Communication and social interaction are a fundamental part of settling in a new country and I am especially pleased that Amnesty International Australia is part of this initiative to welcome people and share a meal in a safe, welcoming and comfortable environment”.
Project Founder Penny Elsley is coming to Perth for the launch. In the lead-up to Saturday’s dinner, there will be an Information Night on Wednesday evening 11th March at Amnesty International’s office in West Perth and a training day for volunteer Welcome Dinner Facilitators on Sat 14th March. To register for either of these sessions or to join or host Welcome Dinner in your area register via www.joiningthedots.org
Tickets for the launch dinner are FREE but need to be reserved beforehand via http://tinyurl.com/kzvjejt
Penny Elsley is available for media interviews on 0434 881 994
For further information please contact:
Rachelle Rose | 0412 667 238 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Welcome Dinner Project WA:
The National Welcome Dinner Project:
0412 667 238