March 21, 2019

Harmony Week: Everyone Belongs

Harmony Week is about inclusiveness, respect and belonging for all Australians, regardless of cultural or linguistic background.

Today, almost half of Victorians were either born overseas or have at least one parent who was born overseas.

Here in the North, our patients were born in 184 countries, speak 106 languages and follow 90 religions and beliefs.

Our Northern Health staff were born in 44 different countries and over 30 percent speak a language other than English at home, with over 50 different languages spoken.

Harmony Week is an opportunity to reflect on what gives us all a sense of belonging in our multicultural community. Here’s what our staff had to say:

“Harmony presents a balance of Yin and Yang.” – Yue Hue, Cultural Liaison Officer

“Harmony to me means feeling safe, happy, and being able to get along with others no matter where they come from or what their background is. We are each unique and beautiful, but together we are a masterpiece!” – Stefania Zen, Cultural Liaison Officer

“Harmony means acknowledging the First Peoples Nation of Australia and being inclusive and welcoming to all other cultures to our beautiful land.” – Karen Bryant, Senior Aboriginal Liaison Officer

“Active, mutual, non-paternalistic acceptance, co-existence, cooperation and representation, in all aspects of a society’s and a country’s life, of culturally diverse people.” – Kostas Karamarkos, Greek Interpreter

“Harmony means being together with a good heart.” – Atira Marcus, Booking Officer

“Harmony is recognising and accepting that there is no ‘us and them’, but only ‘us’.” – Emiliano Zucchi, Transcultural And Language Services (TALS) and Aboriginal Support Unit Manager

Our TALS team currently have 43 in-house interpreters, covering 17 languages; Arabic, Turkish, Italian, Assyrian, Greek, Macedonian, Vietnamese, Chaldean, Persian, Punjabi, Mandarin, Nepali, Croatian, Serbian, Cantonese, Urdu, and Hindi, and provides over 70,000 occasions of service per year.