In 2017, a Community Hub was opened at Villawood East Public school, an area with a high migrant, low socio-economic population. At the time, many parents were hesitant to engage with their school community, and low English comprehension was identified as a barrier.
“Parents often didn’t want to come through the gate; they had a fear of school because of the language barrier,” recalls Sanjalin Krishan, Community Hub Leader at Villawood East Public School.
Sanjalin had the challenging task of working out how best to engage these parents with their school community. She decided that if they weren’t keen to come in, she would go out to seek their feedback and invite them to join the Community Hub.
Under the leadership and vision of Sanjalin, parents started an initial informal English conversational course over coffee. That was the beginning of a thriving Hub where parents now take the initiative on activities they want to organise or topics they want to learn. They have gained so much confidence that many of them lead their own initiatives.
“Our Hub is pretty much their home. They have taken ownership of their Hub, and in doing so, they have taken ownership of their independence. I love seeing these parents so empowered,” says Sanjalin.
After expressing a desire to learn something therapeutic, Hub members recently undertook a floristry course. 20 participants took part in a six week course run by TAFE. Everyone enjoyed learning basic floristry skills enabling them to prepare floral arrangements such as bouquets, wreaths and vases. On completion, participants gained a Statement of Attainment in Basic Floristry which provides them with floristry and customer service skills applicable to gaining a job in a florist shop.
Along with the peace of mind and the creativity skills gained from the course, ten participants loved it so much that they have enrolled in TAFE to continue upskilling with Certificate III courses in floristry and customer service. They hope to increase their financial independence by starting their own business.
“The success of Community Hubs really is driven by the people that use them. Seeing these parents gain so much from their idea is amazing. Some of these parents have been through traumatic events in their lives, and many have eight or more children! Activities like the floristry course give them the personal benefits of stress relief and connection with others, plus the added vocational opportunities that really expand their horizons. This makes me so happy,” says Sanjalin.
We look forward to hearing how our budding florists bloom!
Community Hubs are based in local communities with a high migrant or refugee population. They provide a holistic approach to family support, including the creation of pathways to education, training and employment through easily accessible programs for parents. Learn more about Community Hubs.