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About

Everyone’s story matters. Your story matters.

‘Australians Sharing A New Story’ has been conceived through a partnership between SydWest Multicultural Services and Initiatives of Change Australia, with other supporting organisations including Blacktown City Council, the Blacktown Police, MECA (Mt Druitt Ethnic Communities Agency) and other service providers and ethnic communities.

A 12-person Organising Committee was formed in October 2018, comprised mainly Blacktown residents including SydWest chair Robert Fitzgerald, Assefa Bekele from Blacktown Police, and Tony Barnden of Blacktown City Council. A Project Coordinator, Daniel Gobena, was recruited to work from MECA’s office in order to oversee planning and preparation in teamwork with Mike & Jean Brown, program lead and program designer from Initiatives of Change Australia. Approximately 55 volunteers have been recruited to help with promoting the event and facilitating the story-sharing process. The program will rely heavily on local experience and speakers, although some participants are coming from interstate. It also relies mainly on volunteer support since the organising team was unable to secure funding from two government grants applied for.

About us

Initiatives of Change is a movement with 80 years experience of `building trust across the world’s divides’. A movement active in 60 countries, it registered as a charitable company in Victoria. It holds that change has to start with each of us, and that change in individuals’ attitudes and relationships is the key to bringing change in communities and nations. Initiatives of Change Australia’s volunteers have been involved in the reconciliation movement with Indigenous Australians, and have supported diaspora communities from countries such as Afghanistan and South Sudan.

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SydWest Multicultural Services is a leading organisation for all cultural diversity issues responding to community needs and opportunities. It offers flexible and integrated service models across the life course of refugees and migrants, supporting the self-determination and empowerment of our diverse communities.
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In 2009 a local committee organised a meeting for Imam Ashefa and Pastor James Wuye, from northern Nigeria, to share their story of moving ‘from vengeance and killing to healing and forgiveness’ and to show their film, The Imam and the Pastor. Their tour of Australia had been organised by Initiatives of Change and was supported by leading Catholic church leaders and Muslim leaders from Sydney mosques.  A local committee was formed to organise the event, and Blacktown Council provided the use of Bowman Hall, which was filled with over 600 people.

Following that program, Blacktown Council and SydWest Multicultural Services jointly sponsored a Life Matters workshop for young people from the area, facilitated by Initiatives of Change. It was the first of a series of Life Matters workshop runs for young people in the area.

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