Celebrating Refugee Week with Southern Migrant & Refugee Centre

Last month, BreastScreen Victoria joined Southern Migrant & Refugee Centre (SMRC) and more than 800 people to celebrate Refugee Week (19-25 June). With support from South East Community Links and the City of Casey, the vibrant event at Arthur Hall in Hampton Park celebrated culture and connection.

BreastScreen Victoria was invited to support the event by setting up an information stand, with representation from the Southern Eastern Melbourne Primary Health Network (SEMPHN) project team including Gracy, a Bilingual Health Promotion Officer, and Health Promotion Officer Danika. A Dari-speaking interpreter also came along to provide language support.

“The hall was bustling with performances from the community, including Chinese lion dancing and Afghan rabab instrumental and line dancing,” said Danika. “There were plenty of activities on offer, too, from henna art to face painting, Zumba and tai chi. Kids could even attend a superhero training session or get a photo with a fire truck.”

Gracy and Danika spent the day chatting with attendees and handing out BreastScreen resources. The event was a success largely because of strong booking numbers—many clients had never screened before or had not screened in over 27 months.

“SMRC did a great job at embracing multicultural communities," Gracy said. "We were able to promote breast screening to people from different cultural backgrounds and even book clients for a screening appointment that had never heard of our program before.

“I booked one 60-year-old, Mandarin-speaking lady in for her first screen at Dandenong BreastScreen. She came back to the stall later with some friends so I could book them in, too. We organised a small group booking so they could screen together and arranged an interpreter to assist on the day; it was a great outcome!”

These community events are a fantastic opportunity to reach out to culturally and linguistically diverse communities across the state and ensure everyone feels welcome at BreastScreen Victoria.