March 21, 2022

Harmony Week: Everyone belongs

Harmony Week celebrates Australia’s diverse multiculturalism, and recognises inclusiveness, respect and belonging for all Australians, regardless of cultural or linguistic background.

Harmony Week is celebrated during the week that incorporates 21 March – Harmony Day – which is the United Nations International Day for Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

Nearly half of all Australians were born overseas, or have at least one parent who was. Since 1945, 7.5 million people have migrated to Australia, with each culture and tradition enriching our nation.

Here at Northern Health, our patients are born in 223 countries and speak 109 different languages.

Our Transcultural and Language Services (TALS) team currently have 40 in-house interpreters covering 18 languages – Arabic, Assyrian, Chaldean, Turkish, Italian, Greek, Macedonian, Vietnamese, Mandarin, Cantonese, Persian, Nepali, Croatian, Serbian, Bosnian, Hindi, Punjabi and Urdu.

Arabic is the most requested language by patients and staff for our TALS interpreters, with 12 interpreters on hand.

Our TALS team tell us what Harmony Day means to them.

“We live in happiness, we don’t accept discrimination,” said Dilven Oghanna, Assyrian Interpreter.

“Everyone lives in an equal and peaceful society,” said Myla Nguyen, Vietnamese Interpreter.

“Harmony Day means that all people belong and no one should be left out for whatever reason,” said Jessica Forbes, Student Admin.

“Let’s celebrate the multicultural day together,” said Kire Stankovski, Macedonian Interpreter.

“On Harmony Day, we celebrate the diverse culture of Australia,” said Sally Yu, Mandarin and Cantonese Interpreter.

“Let’s celebrate our cultural diversity,” said Stefania Zen, TALS Manager and Italian Interpreter.

To get involved in Harmony Week celebrations, Australians are encouraged to wear something orange to show their support for cultural diversity and an inclusive Australia.

Featured image: TALS team celebrating Harmony Day