Be Ha OAM on PRESIDENT’S REPORT Rosemarie Draper on PRESIDENT’S REPORT
- December 2021
- November 2021
- October 2021
- June 2021
- January 2021
- December 2020
- October 2020
- September 2020
- February 2020
- December 2019
- November 2019
- June 2019
- December 2018
- January 2018
- December 2017
- October 2017
- July 2017
- April 2017
- October 2016
- September 2016
- July 2016
- April 2016
- February 2016
- November 2015
- October 2015
- September 2015
- July 2015
The story of Van, who used to be a gamble addicted. Through the help of the community services, she managed to quit and step up being a better person
The story of Thiem who’s gambled in the last 16 years
The story of Kim, she has an Aunt who’s gambling-addicted. Kim shares the difficulty not only for her but her cousin as well
The story of Thi Pham, who became addicted due to unforeseen circumstances
Mrs Be Ha, OAM, J. P.
This year we celebrate 37 years of services to our community. We are approaching our 40th Anniversary very quickly. 40 Years of servicing the community will be a fantastic milestone to pass.
In the meantime, with on-going support from the City of Greater Dandenong, we moved to our new office at 11-13. Morwell Parade, Springvale. We have just received good news. We have a new contract for another 5 years until 2024 ! This ensures that our clients receive our best care and support through a continuous, stable base and foundation without any interruptions.
We are very grateful and thank you to the Mayor of City of Greater Dandenong Cr. Roz Blades AM and all councilors , Mr. John Bennie CEO, Mr. Martin Fielder, the Director of Community , all officers from Community Facilities Property who provided to us an excellent office so we can serve our community in many ways and services.
We are so happy to still receive funding for In-language Gambling Counselling and Support Services, Integrated Family Violence Support Service. The Integrated Family Violence Support Services is a big demand for this service and a very serious issue but we only have one worker, who gets pay for only 1day per week. However, she volunteers her time and effort 1 more day per week. A great effort from our staff and Thank You.
Community Disability Capacity Building Project just ended funding in February 2019. We did not get a chance to complete the registration for NDIS.
Other programs were carried out successfully:
- South East Family Service
- SICMAA’s English Language Program.
- Enhanced pathways to family work Project.
We continued to support the Royal Children Hospital’s Good Friday Appeal and raised money for them in the streets, malls and shops in Springvale.
We also is partnered with so many organisations, groups and network in the South Eastern Region in many ways to carried out many, many, many activities.
With The Vietnamese Community in Australia Vic Chapter, We had an elderly conference during Seniors Week.
Also, myself as President of SICMAA, I am a member of the Fund Raising Team of the proposed significant project, Vietnamese Museum Of Australia (VMA) in Barkly Street, Footscray, Maribyrnong City Council.
The proposed VMA will include a museum, gallery, education and community spaces. It has combined Federal Government, State Government and private funding of over $15.5 million and would be developed and managed by the Vietnamese Community of Australia (VCA).
SICMAA has a dream 10 years ago until now, we love to set up a cooking school to introduce our Vietnamese cooking and exchange our Australian cuisines.
We hope one day with a strong support from the local government, business associations and volunteers we will achieve our goal.
Many years we thank and dedicate our love and thanks to our volunteers who give up their time with their families to lent us their knowledge, wisdom and expertise, and their love and compassion to help another human being to make this world a better place to live in
Thanh you for all your support and attending 2019 AGM.
We hope you enjoy this year’s AGM and have a wonderful Christmas and New Year.
BE HA OAM, JP
Springvale Indo-Chinese Mutual Assistance Association
Working with the Vietnamese community to prevent Gambling Harm
Gambling Counsellor: Bic Gresty
Australian is number one country lost on gambling in the World. Far more to many Australians are losing large sums of money through gambling including a big number of Vietnamese, and it is hurt the family budget, caused damage to general health, emotion, family relationship, and derived gamblers to a dark future. It is depressed to see the effect of gambling can ruin people’s money and lives.
Gambling in Australia statistics – how much do we lose?
According to Australian Gambling statistic published by the Queensland Treasury, Australian has lost $24 billion in gambling in 2016-17, and $19.4 billion gambling lost was on the pokies in 2016-17. 1 in 5 Australian experience gambling harm which has caused many difficulties to their lives. It is estimated $1250 lost per person to gambling each year.
The social cost of gambling in Vitoria:
In November 2017, the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation found that the total social cost of gambling was $7 billion:
$2.2 billion – family and relationship problem
$$1.6 billion – emotional and psychological issues including suicide and violence
$1.3 – financial loses
$$1.1 billion – cost to the Victorian government for research, regulation & professional support services
$600 million – lost productivity and other work-related costs
$100 million – costs of crime
SICMAA’s Counselling and support service – Hope Program
Gambling harm is overwhelming and hidden, and it has a negative impact on the Vietnamese community greatly. Springvale Indochinese Mutual Assistance Association continues having the professional and financial support from the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation to assist the Vietnamese gamblers and their families to rebuild their lives, and we would like to express our deep appreciation to the Foundation, service providers, SICMAA Management & committee and our volunteers for fantastic collaboration, professional support and tireless efforts and contributions to achieve the positive outcome for the Vietnamese client throughout the year.
Hope program has been assisted over 150 Vietnamese clients in 2018-19 including face-to-face, phone, outreach and group counselling
Individuals counselling: was assisted the Vietnamese clients and their families to understanding about gambling harm, gambling urge and how to manage the gambling urge, strategies to reduce or stop gambling to rebuild their lives. It is also helped the Vietnamese clients to prevent relapse and minimise crisis and encourage to seek help as soon as possible
4 groups counselling Group counselling:
Group 1: 6-week session “Making Change for New Beginnings” in July-August 2018
Group 2: 3-week session “Stress, Anxiety & Depression VS Living Well” in November 2018
Group 3: 3-week session “Physical, Emotional, Psychological & Spiritual Self-care” in March-April 2019
Group 4: 6-week session “Mental Health Awareness for Vietnamese parents”, six-week in May-June 2019
Monthly Vietnamese peer Support Group
Prevention activities 2018-19
We have been reaching out thousand of Vietnamese through information sessions, community education sessions, workshops, forum, art skill training sessions, focus groups, community feedback, cultural events and recreations with the aim to education the Vietnamese community to take on healthy activities to enhance their physical and psychological health as well as increase their skills and confidence
|Date||Activities||Number of participants|
|4/07/2018||Lunch at Lynbrook Hotel, South Gippsland||33 clients|
|5/07/2018||Mental Health Awareness training, by All Health||44 participants|
|12/07/2018||No Interest Loan & Low Interest Loan, presented by South Easy Community Link,||25 participants|
|27/07/2018||Community feedback||34 participants|
|14/08/2018||Gambling Harm in the Vietnamese Community at “Taking Action for Change” Forum-Geelong||Presentation|
|30/08/2018||School Program “Love the Game”||Vietnamese student at Heathmont College|
|13/09/2018||BBQ at SICMAA to celebrate Fathers’ Day||35 participants|
|21/09/2018||Court Network information session, presented by Court Network||44 participants|
|26/09/2019||Building rapport/attachment with their children after the damage of gambling harm,||34 participants|
|4/10/2018||Sexual Abuse and Legal issues, presented by SECASA, FMC & Springvale legal Aid||26 participants|
|10/10/2018||Special event In Gambling Harm Week 2018 “Vietnamese Fest” in partnership with Foundation Gambling Harm week, SICMAA Prevention Program and Hope Program||340 participants|
|12/12/2018||Happy Walk at Warmer Reserve to Princess HW and back to SICMAA for Gambling Harm Week discussion and B, BQ lunch||45 participants|
|23/10/2018||Recreation, Picnic at Rhododendron Festival||56 participants|
|22/11/2018||Clients’ Constructive Feedback session at SICMAA||40 participants|
|30/11/2018||Understanding Family Violence & Intervention Order & services available & activity for helping healing process in partnership with Intouch Family Violence Services||15 participants|
|6/12/2018||Xmas Party||47 participants|
|19/12/2018||Picnic and pick you own at Sylvan Cherry Farm||55 Participants|
|3/01/2019||Cultural activity: Lunar New Year celebration||58|
|10/01/2019||Healthy activity: Board walking & picnic lunch at Snoopy-Phillip Island||55|
|17/01/2019||Recreation: Family picnic lunch at Safety Beach-Mornington||50|
|Date||Activities||Number of participants|
|18/01/2019||Temple Bao Minh brochures distributed||20|
|24/01/2019||Activity: Flower arrangement||16|
|14/02/2019||Activity: Card making for Valentine’s day||33|
|28/02/2019||Information session: Sexual Harassment||42|
|8/03/2019||Volunteer training: Casino tour & Casino Self-exclusion program||10|
|14/03/2019||Information session: Palliative care||42|
|28/03/2019||Community education: Will and power of attorney||45|
|4/04/2019||Community education: trust & financial administration||54|
|5/04/2019||Community education: Guardianship||47|
|10/04/2019||Healthy activity for children: Zone Bowling||18|
|17/04/2019||Healthy activity for family: lunch at Lynbrook||44|
|26/04/2019||Information session: Understanding family violence, services and support||41|
|3/05/2019||Information session: MyGov account and the role of Centrelink financial advisor||50|
|8/05/2019||Mothers’ Day celebration: Relaxation at Hot Springs||20|
|17/05/2019||Community education: Master your mind||51|
|24/05/2019||Gambling harm awareness||53|
|31/05/2019||Gambling online awareness||49|
|7/06/2019||Gamming and gambling, parents’ concerns||29|
|20/06/2019||Information session: healthy bladder||35|
|21/06/2019||Information session: Connect Health, its financial counselling and available services||33|
Counselling and prevention activities has successfully reached out a high number of Vietnamese gamblers, their families and Vietnamese community. Through counselling and activities, we have helped the Vietnamese gamblers to understand gambling urge, how to deal with it, dealing with rational beliefs, understanding relapse, and self-help tools to avoid crisis. There were variety of topics which enhances the Vietnamese community about maintaining their health, gambling risk and gambling harm, strategies to prevent it and fun activities. The Vietnamese community also has improved different skills, relationships to maintain their physical, emotional, psychological health and well-being to live happier and healthier and empowered the Vietnamese clients to speak out, seek help earlier to rebuild their lives.
Bạo Hành Gia Đình
The Victorian Department of Human Service fund this program to deliver Integrated Family Violence Service to the Vietnamese Community.
Family and domestic violence is any violent, threatening, coercive or controlling behaviour that occurs in current or past family, domestic or intimate relationships. This includes not only physical injury but direct or indirect threats, sexual assault, emotional and psychological torment, economic control, damage to property, social isolation and any behaviour which causes a person to live in fear.
The term ‘’Family Violence’’ encompasses violence that might occur between family members, such as violence between or across generations, in addition to violence between partners. The term family violence because it more accurately reflects extended kinship ties and how the impact of violence affects all members of a family.
Impacts resulting from gambling, alcohol & drug addiction are increasing in everyday life. The factors include insecure financial issues, stress, anxiety, depression, mental health problems that could cause family conflicts and family relationship breakdown in the Vietnamese Community in this region.
The program objectives help to assist Vietnamese families who have experienced Domestic Violence including women, men, siblings, family members, relatives, and elderly people and so on. We, at SICMAA, help Vietnamese clients applying for an Intervention Order and making a safety plan if they are at high risk, linking clients with emergency assistance when the victim is separated from the perpetrator, assisting clients seeking refuge and practical support to rebuild their lives and gain knowledge and skills to be able to become independent when they decide to leave their perpetrators.
We have full range of services including individual counselling, specialist support family services, therapies, welfare services and main-stream domestic violence services in confidential, respected, and informed responses. We have also built strong networking with other referral services such as Courts, Court Network, In-Touch Multicultural Service, and Legal Aid Services to ensure that the intervention and support remains safe for the clients.
For years, SICMAA has provided extra pre-and post-counselling and family support for Vietnamese women who are suffering with family violence. This year, we helped a lot of women who were victims of family violence in matters such as access to refuge, applying for applications for Intervention Orders, provision of pre-and post-financial counselling and family support.
Recently, we have had referred and achieved some good results from other Network Services to support clients such as Intouch, WAYSS, Anglicare Victoria (Supporting client to attend Beyond the Violence Program & Parenting program), Windermere Child and Family Service (Applying for Family Violence Support Packages) which assist our clients safety, security needs, and independence to achieve living goals and support via this package. We have also referred our clients to join other play group programs which were organised by Mission Australia & Anglicare Victoria for children from 0-5 years old. These programs help our clients to discover better forms of communication with their children, manage their emotions, intelligence and coach their children with strategies that will build their confidence in being able to deal with conflict.
Most Vietnamese clients that come to SICMAA to ask for help have difficulties in accessing other services due to language barriers and cultural factors. They come to SICMAA through self-referral, through friends, local schools, or other community agencies with the hope that they can rebuild a new life and have a happy and better future in Australia. Some of them have shown their courage and determination to end their violent relationship and have gotten help to rebuild their lives. On the other hand, others have chosen to return to their abusive relationship.
The most common issues making these women to go back to their perpetrators are:
- New arrivals (spouse visa and other ties)
- Language barriers
- Lack of skills to enter the workforce
- Financial dependence
- Isolation from wider community
- Cultural issues such as: cross culture, social stigma, coercive men
- Religious belief
- Lack of understanding about women’s rights
- Lack of knowledge about existing services and legal system
- Lack of confidence and self-esteem
Things that we provide well at SICMAA:
- We understand our Vietnamese Cultural background.
- We provide direct language service without an interpreter.
- Ongoing support and assistance without time limits.
- Most clients are happy with the end results.
SICMAA has been a well-known welfare organization for many years. This is a drop-in Centre so when people have any issues related to Family Violence, Family Support, Housing problems, Gambling and financial counselling, or Disability issues, this is their first post to access.
In the last financial year 2018 – 2019, due to lack of funding the Department of Human Services have cut back from 2 to 1 day work per week for this service, however, we still continue to maintain our work to support for the increasing needs of Vietnamese women and children who suffer from family violence.
We believe that the DHHS will continue to fund and support the program in the future so that we can continue to help the victims of Vietnamese family violence in terms of reclaiming their rights, their confidence, self-esteem, safety and more importantly rebuild their future lives.
Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere thanks to:
- Ms. Sue Seymour – Agency Performance & System Support South Melbourne Area – South Division – Department of Health & Human Services
- Ms. Be Ha J.P – SICMAA’s President
- All SICMAA Staff and All Volunteer
Dịch Vụ Hỗ Trợ Cho các Gia Đình Việt Nam về vấn đề Khuyết Tật
The project is funded by the Department of Human Services to provide assistance to Vietnamese people with disabilities, their carers and their families. It aims to raise awareness about disability issues, promote access and equity in the Vietnamese community. Therefore, working partnership with other relevant organisations is critical way to provide best benefit for the target groups. The Project Worker has worked together with Local Council, Department of Health & Human Services, Monash Health, Alfred Health Carer Services, Springvale Learning and Activities Centre, Hepatitis Victoria, Aged Care Services Australia Group, Vision Australia, RDNS, Southern Health, Migrant and Refugee Centre, Asthma Foundation, Carers Victoria Human Services, Leadership Plus, Migrant Information Centre (Eastern Melbourne), Australian Hearing, Springvale Neighbourhood House, local pharmacies and other disability service providers in order to enhance the quality of life for Vietnamese with a disability and their families. It is also planned to provide the cross-culture training for service providers in the South East Region. Most Vietnamese with a disability and their families has accessed services such as Speech pathologist, Respite, sport for all ability, school holiday and recreation programs. The Vietnamese Carer Group at SICMAA has been well established and has been provided with up-to-date information, referrals, friendship, social and emotional support for its members.
SICMAA work with families and carers to make sure the support we give can be sustained. We consider the carer’s role when developing plans with participants including the support they provide, other responsibilities, and their own life plans. We also recognise some people with disability may want the support of family and carers to make informed decisions, and we value their views, knowledge and experience.
The following activities were carried out throughout the financial year of 2018-2019.
- Information Session on “NDIS Update” at SICMAA by VALID (Victorian Advocacy League for Individuals with Disability) on 3 August 2018
- Information Session on “Your Life Assist” by Your Life Assist on 26 November 2018
- Carry out the Vietnamese Carer Group meeting at SICMAA once a month to provide up-to-date information, friendship, social and emotional support carers
- Continue to maintain 2-hour practical physical health workshop at 1 Osborne Ave Springvale for carers to provide them opportunity to enhance their health and wellbeing and to enhance their resilience
During the financial year 2018-2019, the Project Worker worked two and a half days a week. Last year, the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) has been rolled out throughout Victoria and has become available in the Southern Melbourne area from 1 September 2018. Consequently, the role of the Project Worker has been diminished at the end of the year 2018.
Dịch Vụ Hỗ Trợ Gia Đình
My Dung Nguyen
This program primary focuses on the family’s ability to manage day-to-day living task such as parenting skills, household management, childcare and nurture, child behaviour and the use of support services in the South Eastern region of Melbourne.
The aims of this program are:
- To prevent family violence and child abuse.
- To strengthen family relationships.
- To enhance the safety, confidence, life skills and independence of women.
- To promote family harmony
- To provide emergency relief
The target group I have been working with is Indo-Chinese families that have children under 18 years old living in City of Greater Dandenong, Casey, and Cardinia. The program has received referrals from different sources such as Centrelink, local schools, community agencies, Community health services, and even requests for help by the families themselves. Issues presented by clients vary in many different ways. The most and common issues are:
- Lack of English language skills
- Court Orders
- Financial problems
- Family breakdown, generation conflicts between parents and children, and between siblings as well as family violence.
- Children have difficulties at school or are at risk of leaving school
- Mental health and gambling issues
- Lack of knowledge about existing services and legal system
- Cultural barriers in approaching government agencies and using services
- Marginalisation and isolation from the wider community, cultural shock of living and adapting to new life, lack of support from extended family due to living in Australia
- Lack of knowledge of educational and employment opportunities
- Lack of confidence, low self-esteem due to the above mentioned issues
As an In-home support worker, I have assisted the family to make changes in practical ways and to learn new skills by providing short-term assistance to the family for a time of 6 –8 weeks. Outreach to a family also would be provided at least one a week for 1 to 2 hours. Services have been provided to families to develop strategies for maintaining positive family relations and families with setting boundaries and other parenting skills and at times provide financial and other assistance to families in crisis.
Services are accordingly provided to meet clients’ needs as follows:
- Case management
- Assisting and encouraging clients to use services available in the South Eastern areas.
- Advocating on behalf of clients in dealing with departments and agencies such as Centrelink, Medicare, Child Support, Australian Taxation Office, schools, Courts, Department of Health and Human Services including Child Protection, Legal Aid Services, Community Health Services, Job Network agencies etc.
- Referring clients to and supporting them at interviews with other services.
- Empowering women to strengthen their confidence, encouraging them to attend English classes and to develop their career paths and education.
- Crisis intervention in family violence cases/child abuse, providing short to medium term counselling and ongoing support to women and children, home visiting when necessary.
- Working closely with in-home Gambling counselling services as well as Family violence support service in order to support families with these related matters. Liaising with workers from other agencies to set up a supporting network for women and children.
- Organising parenting groups with Uniting Family services at SICMAA’s office.
- Providing positive parenting skill information.
In reviewing the work program, it is proven that this is a vital program that enables me to perform my duties within its framework with limited resources. Besides, this program provides adequately services according to the needs of clients and our community both in case work and community development aspects. The worker also works closely with other in-house programs at SICMAA so we can joint programs/activities which benefit clients and the community as a whole. Consultations have been undertaken immediately with SICMAA’s Management and South East Family Services Group Manager as soon as there are any issues arise in my work.
Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere thanks to:
- The Program Leader South East Family Services – Uniting – Connections
- The President of SICMAA – Ms Be Ha J.P
- Steve Hunt and & Elaine Chua – South East Family Services- Uniting Connections and
- All staff at SICMAA who support me to fulfill my task.
- Mr Chu Nguyen – Bi Lingual Vietnamese/English support for all students.
- Mrs Jill McFarlane – Reading comprehension and conversation for post beginners.
- Ms Suzanne Albert – English for post beginner students.
- Mrs Jenny Dusting – Introduction to English and conversation for beginners and post beginners.
- Mr John Keysers – Conversation class for students of all levels.Ms. Vandana – IT session
This year we are fortunate to have obtained the services of Mr John Keysers who has joined the teaching team. He is working on English conversation with all students.
The students studying with Vandana have produced some excellent computer programs which they have shown us recently.
The teachers have been very happy to welcome new students to our classes and value the attendance of our faithful students who have been with us for many years.
MONDAY CLASSES 11:45am – 1:45 pm
Language forms the most essential bridges between people. We need it to communicate, to work and to deal with daily life.
Participants attending English Language Classes at SICMAA are keen to improved their English skills, but our classes aim to do much more.
In addition to teaching the foundations of English language, lessons aim to connect students to Australian life, be it an encounter with customs officers at the airport, learning about our history and culture or discussing the Great Barrier Reef.
Beyond Australia, we aim to provide bridges to the rapidly-changing world, so that students are able to understand and discuss current news stories and important issues.
A major goal is to give class members the confidence to speak. Hence, they are always encouraged to practise pronunciation, contribute to discussions and ask questions. Often, their questions lead us in new directions and to new topics. Hence the SICMAA program is planned, but flexible, to fit the needs, interests and concerns of the students.
In Term 1 of 2019, the extreme summer led us to discussions about climate change. There was much new vocabulary to learn, along with adjectives and comparative words; we certainly needed “hot, hotter, hottest” last summer!
Students also located Victoria’s major rivers and water catchments on a map.
After a term spent discussing our climate and landscapes, writer Dorothea Mackellar had the last word with her iconic poem “My Country”, a wonderful example of how words can describe our sunburnt country.
In Term 2, our focus was on people. How do we tell life stories?
Each week, we met the famous Australians pictured on our money, which in turn led to discussions on early settlers, social history, women in politics and national heroes.
We also read the stories of ordinary people and students wrote about their own mothers’ lives. To do this, they had to learn how to write a complete sentence and how to describe a special person.
In Term 3 of 2019, we asked the question: What is in your suitcase? Dealing with officials can be especially difficult when you lack confidence in your English skills. In class we re-enacted customs inspections with a bag of food items to declare.
Further lessons looked in detail at the reasons for Australia’s strict quarantine laws. We read about many examples of pests and diseases that have arrived on our shores uninvited, and we discussed the serious consequences. Fire ants seemed especially alarming to us all. Students also researched problem animals and plants that have been deliberately brought to Australia, presenting short talks to the class on cane toads, rabbits and more.
Lastly, after locating our states on a map, we discussed quarantine restrictions at state borders.
Throughout Term 3, we focused on “numbers” and how to say them in various situations. Duty-free limits and the number of red foxes in Australia (6 million!) provided practical examples.
In Term 4 we will talk about the latest scams, public transport, housing options for the aging, the recycling problem facing our local councils and what’s new in Melbourne.
Each week, the goal is that students leave the classroom having learnt new words, a better way of saying something, feeling more confident to use their English and thinking, “That was interesting.”
Above all, SICMAA is a place where students and teachers come together to share laughter, support and friendship. These are the most important connections of all.
TUESDAY CLASSES 11:45am – 1:45 pm
Mixed Abilities Class
It is hard to believe another year has come and gone so quickly.
It is a pleasure to teach my Tuesday English class at SICMAA. The students are always keen to learn and expand their knowledge of English in the spoken and written form. It is encouraging to see them ask for assistance and to clarify information, vocabulary or situations they are unfamiliar with. In particular, it is pleasing to see a greater number of students participate in discussions. Always ready for some fun and a laugh, the students enthusiastically compete in games and quizzes.
In Term 1 we concentrated on road safety, road rules and driving etiquette. Completing a VIC Roads’ road rule quiz each week highlighted areas that needed revision while also demonstrating improvement.
With a Federal election looming in Term 2, we studied the budget and the policies of the two main parties. We also looked at banking, shopping and reading our utility bills and different methods to pay them.
During third term we studied the processes of buying and selling a home.
This term we are investigating sport and its importance to Australians, the role of pets in our lives and colour. We have also planned a trip to the Fitzroy Gardens later this term.
Many new faces have joined our class in 2019. It is always pleasing to see our regular students embrace the newcomers and their presence has led to a more diverse and interactive class.
Many thanks to all of the students for their attendance, participation and ongoing friendship.
WEDNESDAY CLASSES 11:45am – 1:45 pm
1.I am the oldest participant in the class and English takes time for me to learn. John is helping me to understand English step by step. This makes me happy. Everyone in the class is warm and friendly. I also want to say thank you to SICMAA and all of the teachers.
2.When I am in the class with John, I feel interested because he works with me to understand the English language.
3.I can practice listening and speaking in English in the class with John.
4.John teachers us to pronounce new words which we may not have spoken properly before. Sometimes he uses conversations about food and cooking to expand our English.
5.When I came to Australia, I could not speak English but now my children are grown up I have the time to come to SICMAA to learn English. Now I am very happy because I enjoy English classes.
6.I feel very comfortable; all of the class are very friendly. John gives me more confidence to speak English.
7.I don’t hear or speak English very well. I go to English classes at SICMAA so that I can speak to other people in the community. I like SICMAA. Thank you very much.
8.When I came to Australia I arrived on a bridging visa. I did not know about SICMAA or other community support groups. I have now been learning English at SICMAA and my English is improving. I am very grateful to SICMAA.
9.I have tried conversation with John about food and I feel comfortable to do this.
Facilitator and Coach
Be Ha called me one day while I was on holiday in Melbourne. She told me that she needed someone to take a Conversational English group at SICMAA and asked me if I could help out. Be Ha is very persuasive, so I agreed to begin at SICMAA at the beginning of Term 3 in July. In the first session there were ten people who I am sure were all wondering who this new person was, a big man with a big voice!
It has taken a little while, but I think most people are now comfortable with how I approach our two hours together every Wednesday morning. The group includes eight to ten people who come every week and about seven or eight others who come occasionally. Over the past few months we have tried to engage each other in conversation using topics such as:
- Telling personal stories
- Talking about favourite recipes and how to cook delicious food
- Using pictures of food to talk about what we see
- Watching and discussing videos of everyone taking about food
- Talking about things in the daily news
- Reading and talking about stories, poetry, legends and folktales
Meeting with the group each Wednesday is something I look forward to because everyone is so good nature, and we are getting better and better at being able to engage in conversation in a very sociable, respectful and positive way. Along the way I hope that everyone feels that their ability to converse in English is improving.