Intercultural Ambassador Program
The Intercultural Ambassador Pilot Program is a new initiative for the City of Greater Bendigo that aims to increase connections between the cultures and communities within Greater Bendigo.
The program is part of the City’s commitment to being a liveable and welcoming community and is also a key action of the City’s Cultural Diversity and Inclusion Plan 2016-2019.
The City has recruited 10 Intercultural Ambassador volunteers who represent a diverse range of multicultural and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander backgrounds in our community.
The Ambassadors will participate in community events and projects, City advisory and reference groups and attend civic functions. They will also act as champions for their existing communities and gain valuable leadership and development opportunities.
Our Program is based on the successful City of Ballarat Multicultural Ambassadors Program. Funding for the Pilot Program has been provided by the Victorian Government.
Our 2019-2020 Intercultural Ambassadors are:
Ma Aye Paw
Ma Aye Paw is a 23 year old Karen woman. She came to Australia in 2016 from the Mae La Refugee Camp located on the border of Thailand and Myanmar. Since arriving in Bendigo Ma Aye Paw has completed numerous courses and certificates.
Justin is Filipino-Chinese and was born in the Philippines. He moved to Australia in 2017 to pursue a PhD at La Trobe University Bendigo.
Janet is a proud Yorta Yorta woman who was born in South Gippsland, Victoria. She moved to Bendigo several years ago after working most of her life in Melbourne.
Edith was born in Mexico City, Mexico and speaks Spanish and English. She came to Australia in 2012 to be with her partner, and now husband, Rod.
Dr Marthin Nanere
Marthin was born in Ambon, Indonesia and completed his Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Indonesia and Canada. He has lived in Bendigo since 2004 and continues to serve the community as a marketing lecturer.
Bruno was born in Paris, France in a refugee family. He arrived in Australia 12 years ago to undertake a Doctorate in Tasmania. He moved to Bendigo in 2015.
Benjamin Ato Sam
Benjamin and his wife, Amanda, arrived in Australia in 2008 from Cape Coast, Ghana. He began his studies and career in the health care sector at Melbourne Polytechnic. In 2016, Benjamin and his wife moved to Bendigo to raise their two children.
Preeti was born and raised in India. She and her husband moved to Bendigo in 2009. She is an early childhood educator and accredited swim teacher.
Salwa is originally from Kabul, Afghanistan. She came to Australia in June 2012 with her husband and children. She is currently studying a Master’s of Social Work at La Trobe University, Bendigo.
TAN See Tuang
Tan was born in Malaya (Malaysia) and came directly to Bendigo in 1970 to study Electrical Engineering. Tan feels that after nearly 50 years he is as Bendigonian as any local.
Intercultural Ambassador's World Games Day event
To celebrate Cultural Diversity Week and Harmony Day, the City’s Intercultural Ambassadors hosted a World Games Day event in partnership with the Bendigo Library on Saturday 20 March. The World Games Day aimed to create connections between multicultural communities through games, by encouraging people of all ages to have fun as they met others and learn about different cultures.
The event highlighted the City’s commitment to cultural diversity and inclusion; and provided an opportunity for our wider community to play cultural games and experience the Intercultural Ambassadors’ messages of love, harmony, and peace for Greater Bendigo.
The Bendigo Library estimated that an extra 200 people attended the library on the day with 130 of all ages participating in the intercultural games.
Reporting on the success of the event Library Manager, Kath Waugh said;
“It was fantastic to have our Intercultural Ambassadors hosting their games at different places in the library. All were popular and had a very diverse crowd, aged between 5 and 85 and playing, talking and laughing and having good old-fashioned face to face (COVID-19 Safe) fun! Many library patrons and staff commented on the cheery positive vibe that was generated. This is exactly the kind of thing we need to get our public spaces activated and our community reconnected as we recover from a terrible year.”
The World Games Day featured everything from the French boules (Pétanque) to Karen Cane-ball, Chinese tangram, a new Mah-jong Game and Carrom, a cue sport-based tabletop game from India.