Creative afternoons encourage conversation

The gentle hum of voices and the clicking of knitting needles fill Thursday afternoons at DARA’s Refugee Hub.

A new opportunity has been created for women who have recently arrived in Newcastle. Multicultural family support workers Mirja Colding-Moran and Nina Niemeyer have begun a multicultural women’s afternoon.


It is a place where women can gather to chat, knit, crochet and sew. The room is filled with boxes of soft wool, collections of buttons, colourful fabric, and bright crochet hooks. Volunteers at the Mater Hospital donated these supplies.


Culturally, gathering and doing handcrafts is something many of the women did in their home countries and encourages the refugees to feel comfortable. Creating a relaxed opportunity for women to speak English conversationally makes the language easier to learn, rather than from a textbook. Creating this group has “given the refugees an opportunity to meet an average Novocastrian”, Mrs Colding-Moran said.


New volunteers have signed up with DARA specifically for this opportunity. Helen is one of those volunteers. She was helping Charlotte knit a scarf. “I enjoy meeting ladies, and helping them with their English. It keeps me out of mischief,” Helen said.


The group has only been running for five weeks, but is clearly appreciated by those who attend.  

In the near future, the group plans to go on a day trip to visit places in and around Newcastle to explore, and of course grow in conversational English at the same time.


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Brooke Robinson Image
Brooke Robinson

Brooke is Content Officer for the Communications Team in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle