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04 Jun 2018
Having only arrived on Australian shores several months ago, florist Renold and his parents were yet to visit the iconic Sydney Harbour and Royal Botanic Garden. Starting the day with a tour of Circular Quay and the Harbour surrounds, they stopped for a picnic in the garden before continuing on to the garden’s main attraction, The Calyx.
“It’s a very special and wonderful place,” said Renold. “We were finally able to see something truly Australian and unique. Everyone was very welcoming and nobody at any time made us feel like strangers.”
Both Alice and Kate relished the opportunity to show the newly arrived family some of Sydney’s most breathtaking landmarks. “They took thousands of pictures and were constantly smiling, which was amazing,” said Alice. “Renold was really excited and proud of his floral knowledge, telling us the name of every flower he came across.”
Despite the language barriers between the ambassadors and the family, Renold and his parents were keen to chat with Alice and Kate. “They were really happy to learn new words in English,” said Kate. “The fact that they couldn’t communicate in English was evidence of how difficult it is to feel part of a new society and community without these communication tools.”
By the end of the day, Kate and Sam had forged a strong bond with Renold and his family, with the two Welcome2Sydney ambassadors picking up a couple of Arabic expressions.
“The family tried to teach us some Arabic,” said Kate. “Nawal, Renold’s mum, asked how to say she was happy in English. It was a great feeling — I felt like we had formed a relationship.”
Welcome2Sydney is a new project co-designed by the City of Sydney and Settlement Services International, aiming to connect ambassadors from the City of Sydney with newly arrived refugee members of our community.
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