Independent Member for Shepparton District Suzanna Sheed says a series of Friendship Cafes run by the local ethnic council will have a positive impact on the community.
Ms Sheed hosted a Friendship Café for about 20 young women from the region’s diverse multicultural communities at The Vault on Wednesday.
She and guest speaker Seema Abdullah, Deputy Mayor of Greater Shepparton City Council, spoke to the group about their roles in state and local government, their community involvement and their leadership journeys over morning tea.
They also held round-table discussions with the young women about their own lives, experiences and aspirations.
“It was such an amazing experience to hear the stories of these young women from places such as Malaysia, Afghanistan, Syria, the Philippines, Vietnam and Sudan,” Ms Sheed said.
“Some of them have been here for years and others have arrived as recently as two months ago, but all of them showed such great enthusiasm for their schooling and exciting visions for their futures.
Ms Sheed said the Friendship Cafes were an excellent opportunity to help more newly arrived residents in the region feel included in the community.
“These young women have so much to offer our community, but often they lack access to the resources needed to really excel because of language and cultural barriers,” Ms Sheed said.
“It is one of the joys of being a Member of Parliament that I have the opportunity to engage with young women such as these and share with them my own unexpected journey in the hope they will realise they can do anything they put their mind to.”
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