Fried rice, pastizzi irkotta, hummus, baram tteok, pies and sausage rolls ― it was a multicultural smorgasbord when Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School, home to a burgeoning SSI Community Hub, celebrated cultural diversity and inclusion during Harmony Week.
As part of the week’s festivities at the Villawood-based school, Sacred Heart encouraged students to come to school in cultural dress and share in a community lunch of home cooked, family dishes.
Many of the families at the school come from diverse backgrounds, including China, Vietnam, the Middle East, Korea and eastern Africa. Sacred Heart is home to one of 22 Community Hubs in NSW, a national initiative that primarily supports migrant families to build parenting and employment skills and build connections to the wider community and its services.
Sacred Heart Hub Leader Christine Mallia said the community took pride in coming together for events like these.
“The parents love getting involved and seeing their children in their cultural dress and sharing their traditional food. Some parents even take the day off,” she said.
Some of the meals parents brought in included sambousek, baram tteok, fried rice, hummus, chicken wings, noodles, pies and sausage rolls, pork buns and pastizzi irkotta ― maltese ricotta pastry.
The sense of community felt at the Harmony Week event can be seen in the programs being run out of Sacred Heart’s Hub Community Centre. The Hub is currently taking enrolments for free English community classes.
Sacred Heart Principal Michelle Bourne said it was important for the school to support the local community through programs like the Community Hub that prevent people from feeling isolated.
“We are privileged to have a Community Hub at Villawood. Our parents are eagerly taking part in a certified TAFE computer course, with views to finding work using their skills, or help their children with their homework,” she said.
“The fact that the course is free makes it even more suitable for our community where many families are in a low socio-economic bracket. Child-minding is also provided, so our young mothers are able to take part without the necessity of paying for outside help.”