PALM scheme employers and community-based health organisations have partnered to deliver health workshops to over 600 workers, highlighting the power of community collaboration when providing health and wellbeing support.
The workshops are part of the Health in My Language (HIML) national education program delivered by the Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health and facilitated by community-based organisations across Australia, including True Relationships and Reproductive Health.
The program aims to provide accessible and multilingual information on healthy relationships and sexual and reproductive health.
So far employers including Queensland Berries, Tully Bananas and Jobs Australia have taken part in the initiative.
“These topics are unfortunately not discussed enough. It’s an opportunity to make workers aware of the available facilities and support networks across Australia and learn important topics that greatly improve their health and wellbeing," said Queensland Berries PALM scheme engagement manager Ellie Brignoli.
HIML National Program Manager Dr Regina Torres-Quiazon says the program has helped people understand the Australian health system.
Factoring in culture
“From our research, we know that it can be challenging for people from migrant backgrounds to navigate the health system - whether they’ve newly arrived or been here for a longer period and even if they can speak English well,” she said.
“It’s about respecting the knowledge that people already have about their bodies and themselves and facilitating further learning.
“This is a way in. It’s not necessarily even about the topic of health itself. It’s creating those connections. For example, often we get people approaching the facilitator at the end of the session with other questions,” she said.
The workshops were delivered separately to men and women, helping participants like Talavao from Tonga feel more comfortable.
“It was culturally and gender appropriate as it was a women-only group, and the trainer was a Samoan woman. This helped a lot of women open up and ask questions” she said.
PALM scheme worker and workshop participant Eddie from Solomon Islands also appreciated the structure of the workshops, especially given some of the topics were not commonly discussed in his culture.
“I really appreciated having a Pacific islander delivering the presentation because we could really understand it and also feel free to ask questions,” he said.
“In our culture sometimes we don’t talk openly about these topics. I came to realise that it is very important to educate our people to prevent anything from happening to us in terms of sickness or unhealthy relationships.
“I would totally recommend this workshop again,” Eddie said.
For more information, visit please visit: https://www.mcwh.com.au/project/health-in-my-language/.