Migrants from other countries bring the MAGIC to the Bega Valley.
That is the message from the local Migrant Activities Group In Community (MAGIC), which holds monthly meetings in Bega for those who have moved to the Far South Coast from overseas as well as anyone else interested in learning about new cultures and embracing the diversity of the region.
Yvi Henderson, coordinator for MAGIC, said the meetings started in January.
She said the the aim of the group was for it to be a social gathering for networking where migrants could find out what was available in the community, form friendships, practice their English and feel less isolated.
“It’s beautiful to be able to speak your own language. It’s beautiful to be around people who know your background, you don’t have to explain it,” Ms Henderson said.
“People from different backgrounds bring different ideas, different skills; they bring diversity here.”
A special guest at the meeting on Wednesday was Julia Dean, national information officer at the United Nations Information Centre for Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific.
She was in Bega to give rural women the opportunity to become part of the UN’s global initiative TOGETHER, where they could share their stories with the world via videos on a website.
“When people come to Australia there is a certain degree of isolation, so a multicultural centre is a great place to come for support,” Ms Dean said.
Two women originally from Thailand who attended Wednesday’s MAGIC meeting were Pinit Smits of Bemboka and Jane Kobboon of Nethercote.
Ms Simits said some migrants she knows lived on isolated farms, so MAGIC provided them a chance to meet up.
“You can learn about another culture, you can learn about more people around here and have more friends, not only Thai people,” Ms Kobboon said.
MAGIC is held at Funhouse Studio, 3 Hill St, Bega on the first Wednesday of the month from 12pm-3pm. Entry is free, all are welcome.