Intercultural Ambassador Program

Become an Ambassador!

Recruitment for the 2025-2026 Intercultural Ambassadors will open on July 5, 2024.

  • Are you committed to making the City of Greater Bendigo a more equitable and inclusive place, where people from all cultural backgrounds feel they truly belong? 
  • Do you want to build practical skills for engaging with people and becoming a community leader? 
  • Do you feel you have something to contribute to promoting intercultural understanding across our City? 

If so, the Intercultural Ambassador Program may be for you!
 

Join the Intercultural Ambassadors Program

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Want to be an Intercultural Ambassador?
Want to be an Intercultural Ambassador? 2024

About the program

The Intercultural Ambassadors Program plays numerous roles within the City of Greater Bendigo, including:

  • Act as a communication bridge between City staff, councillors and culturally diverse communities. 
  • Advocate for intercultural development, empathy and human rights work across the City of Greater Bendigo. 
  • Support, celebrate and promote cultural events, building pride in the City’s multicultural diversity. 
     

2024 Activities (third and fourth quarters)

  • Continue to welcome and celebrate Bendigo's newest citizens at the July, August and September Ceremonies
  • Consult with council staff on the upcoming council plan and reducing barriers for culturally diverse communities to attend galleries
  • Write and submit a research paper for the upcoming FECCA conference
  • Develop and rehearse a performance piece on the experiences of making a home in Bendigo for people from culturally diverse backgrounds
  • Host a marquee at the Zinda Multicultural Festival
  • Support the City's recruitment of a new cohort of Intercultural Ambassadors
  • Welcome and mentor the new cohort of Intercultural Ambassadors
  • Graduation of the current group of Ambassadors.

The fantastic volunteer Ambassadors do all this alongside the work they put in to supporting their own communities and families.

Meet the 2023/2024 Ambassadors

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Group photo of the Intercultural Ambassadors for 2023/2024
Group photo of the Intercultural Ambassadors for 2023/2024
Nishadi Weeratunga

Nishadi arrived in Bendigo from Sri Lanka in 2019. She is a qualified Urban and Regional Planner currently working in Aged Care, as well as a busy Mum. She loves sharing her fantastic cooking skills through at cultural celebrations and keeps finding new ways to give back to our community. Nishadi aims to be a voice for those who are underrepresented or not heard in our community.

Marlissa Theresia

Marlissa, a Christian woman from Indonesia, migrated to Australia in 2020. She has a legal background but is keen to become a Farm Manager. Her vibrant personality lights up every event she attends, and she loves sharing her culture through food, dance and celebration. Marlissa wants to change the narrative about racial barriers and spread kindness and respect in Bendigo.

Laila Hashimi

Laila is a Hazara woman who came to Australia as a refugee in 2014. She has been a pillar of support for her community ever since, through her tireless volunteering and work. Laila, who loves fashion, is a passionate advocate for refugees, and a role model for the women of her community. She is building her leadership skills and sharing her culture through the Intercultural Ambassador Program.

Yadwinder Singh

Yadwinder is a Punjabi man of Sikh faith from India. He came to Australia to study Information Technology and moved to Bendigo three years ago. He volunteers with Australian Sikh Support, an organization that helps the whole community at times of crisis. He wants to spread awareness of Punjabi and Sikh culture across Bendigo, especially to the Youth.

Miriam Casas

Miriam was born in Mexico and spent her youth across South America. She is passionate about education and language and loves nature. As a founding member of Hispanos Unidos de Victoria, Miriam aims to promote a richer understanding of Spanish-speaking cultures. She also hopes to support multiculturalism and social cohesion in Bendigo in her role of Intercultural Ambassador.

Shilin Joseph

Indian-born Shilin decided to make Bendigo her home in 2008 when she was offered a job with Bendigo Health. She is passionate about providing health support and education to people from refugee backgrounds and has recently qualified as a Nurse Practitioner. Shilin uses her organization skills to share her culture through events and festivals.

Eunmi (Rachel) Cho

Born and raised in South Korea, Eunmi first visited Australia in 2006 as a student. She loves nature, music, languages and camping with her family. Eunmi wants to share both traditional and modern Korean culture and loves learning about other cultures.  She wants to raise awareness and acceptance of multiculturalism in Bendigo.

Maha Htoo Sein

Maha was born in Myanmar (Burma) of Karen Background. After arriving with his family in 2009, Maha and his family settled in Bendigo in 2015. Maha’s passion is to assist everybody around him to live the most fulfilling life possible.  As an Intercultural Ambassador, Maha aims to educate the community on the experiences of refugees and share the different journeys of Karen refugees in particular.

Enos Mahachi

Born in Zimbabwe, Enos was raised in Southern Africa and spent some years in the United Kingdom before finally settling in Bendigo in 2017. His journey sparked a passion for inclusion, diversity and social cohesion which he now fosters through his work as an NDIS provider. His interest as an Intercultural Ambassador is to focus on organizing cultural events, developing educational materials and leading training sessions.

Dr Thaera O’Brien

Thaera migrated from Malaysia in 2019. She is an strong and wise advocate and activist for human rights, social justice and equity as well as an academic and a volunteer for community not-for-profit and women’s organisations.  Alongside this, she is a mother and enjoys learning traditional cultural dances. Her aim as an intercultural Ambassador is to improve the representation of multicultural communities in the media.

Dassanyake Sampath (Sam) Wickramasinghe

Sam, a Buddhist from Sri Lanka, is now a Senior Advisor in the Public Housing in the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing. He is a passionate musician and loves spending time with his family. Sam has a vision for Bendigo to be the most live able, inclusive, safe and welcoming regional city in Australia.

Intercultural Ambassadors - You and I

Contact

For more information about the Intercultural Ambassador Program, please contact the Intercultural Ambassadors Program Officer:

[email protected]