Award-winning actor and Play School legend Noni Hazlehurst was one of six inspirational Australian women who were recently honoured by Newman’s Own Foundation. In acknowledgement of her commitment to the community, she was asked to nominate an Australian charity to donate funds to on behalf of the foundation, selecting the Australian Literacy and Numeracy Foundation with funds to be directed towards our Refugee Action Support (RAS) Program.
This support will allow us to match children and youth of refugee backgrounds with enthusiastic tutor mentors who will provide much-needed support for these eager learners. Entering a new culture and school is a daunting experience, particularly for young learners who experience language barriers, disrupted education and trauma. With support, these amazing young people can grow and thrive in the rich diversity of Australian schools.
Noni went out to Liverpool West Public School last week to see the program in action, and was interviewed by Liverpool City Champion:
“I expected what I heard, really. I knew about the work being done here which is why I wanted to support it. But when you hear about it directly from the children and what they’ve had to endure, it’s different from reading about it so it’s sobering to find out about their educational experiences in their native countries and the difference coming here.
I’m emotional most of the time as a performer, but I fail to see how you could not get emotional. You’d have to have a very cold and closed heart to not feel for them. And because of my years on Play School I have a special affinity for children.
I also feel we mistreat refugees appallingly and I think it’s incredibly important for those refugees to understand there’s support for them in the community – that there are people who are actually welcoming them. Multiculturalism is particularly strong here because of the socio-economic breakdown in the area. These stories need to be put out in the community so more people understand there are good things happening, it’s all about balance. All we get in the mainstream media is violence but there are so many great things happening in this community.
There has to be change – how can we live together if there’s divide and we’re saying we’re better? We’re not better or different or special but there is a sense of entitlement with white middle class people. These immigrants add to our country because they’re so desperately grateful to be able to build a life in a safe and secure environment. They want to contribute. I don’t think people visit south-west Sydney enough. I’m very heartened to see the work that’s being done here for the students. It has to be done.”
A huge thank you to Newman’s Own Foundation and Noni Hazelhurst for your support!
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