Coming to Australia as refugees from Congo and Syria, many of the women had never been on a day trip or excursion. Travelling around enjoying the different sites and tourist areas that surround us in the Hunter is something we take for granted. But it was a huge eye opener for the ladies who attended.
The group of ladies travelled in a minivan to Oakvale farm to get up close and friendly with animals not found in their home countries.
They also took advantage of the splash bay water park and enjoyed the freedom.
Lunch for the ladies was a picnic on the beach at Shoal Bay. This was also a first experience for all of them, to be splashing in the water at the beach.
Then they travelled to Birubi Point and wandered through the sand dunes.
Multicultural family support worker Mirja Colding-Moran planned the trip to give the group an orientation of the local area. They had not been outside the immediate city of Newcastle before this. “As well as an awareness of the landscape around them here, the trip allowed them to experience Australian icons like koalas, kangaroos and the beach for the first time,” Ms Colding-Moran said.
“It was a big mental health boost for them to get out and about like that and it definitely helped in strengthening their confidence. It also allowed them to form new friendships, which is very important when trying to integrate in a new place,” Ms Colding-Moran said.
Ms Colding-Moran heard comments during the day such as “I love this day” and “today is making me very happy”.
At the end of the day when asked what was their favourite part, they replied in unison “everything”.