Gippslanders embark on a journey of understanding

MIGRANT women will become ‘living books’, sharing their journeys to Australia with an intimate audience of ‘readers’.

The ‘Understanding Journeys’ event next Monday will invite attendants to select a ‘working title’, not knowing the woman or ‘author’ and hear their story through the oral narrative.

South African migrant Khatija Halabi said the event was about creating awareness and acceptance about people from diverse cultural backgrounds living in the region and acknowledging their journeys to modern-day Australia.

“We are excited about using a living libraries concept where people come in and borrow a book that is a person. That person will then tell her story,” Ms Halabi said.

Ms Halabi said she looked forward to hearing the journeys of ‘our books’, with women from Malta, Nigeria, Malaysia and of Dutch heritage.

“Every one of us has been on a journey. This event will give people the opportunity to share their stories through the use of an oral narrative,” Ms Halabi said.

“In the words of one of our books, ‘it was a very difficult time and now, 61 years later, I get to tell my story’.”

Organiser Lisa Price said the event followed the success of their first event, ‘Understanding Scarves’.

The event was in response to hostility shown to Muslim women wearing the hijab or headscarf and explained about the different Muslim coverings and how and why they were worn.

“Understanding Journeys was not just about Muslim women, but women from all different cultures telling their stories of their journey to where they are now,” Ms Price said.

“It might be their physical story of how they came to be in Australia and the challenges they’ve had being from a different culture.”

The women’s only event will be held on Monday, 16 March from 6pm to 8.30pm at the Traralgon library.

Cost is $15 per head and $10 concession for students and pensioners.

For more information contact Val Prokopiv on 5133 7684 or 0411 053 546.