Coffee with a side of bonding in Friendship Cafe

Friendship Cafe: Shepparton’s Common Ground cafe was radiating energy on Friday, June 24, with women filling almost every seat in the place. The Ethnic Council of Shepparton welcomed back some friendly faces — and some new — to its Friendship Cafe.


Shepparton’s Common Ground cafe was radiating energy on Friday, June 24, with women filling almost every seat in the place.

The Ethnic Council of Shepparton welcomed back some friendly faces — and some new — to its Friendship Cafe.

The event was held specially in partnership with Goulburn Ovens Institute of Tafe for Refugee Week. Seventeen students studying English Language through the institute were a part of the day.

The Friendship Cafe aims to be a safe place for young women from culturally and linguistically diverse communities to join together, have a cuppa and connect — generally with a guest speaker at each session.

Organiser Ethnic Council project officer Aleena Qazikhil has been coordinating the sessions since 2019 and fronted the group of women for this session.

She shared her journey of coming to Australia in 2009, only speaking a few words of English.

From there she began to study, from graduating Shepparton High School, she completed a Diploma of Business Management.

Following that, she found her dream position in the Ethnic Council, helping other women feel “confident and positive about the future”.

“Since then I have been able to support and empower new arrival women, especially women from refugee and asylum seeker backgrounds, using my own journey and experience,” she said.

The group meets once a month across Shepparton and is free to join. For more information, contact Aleena on 5831 2395.

 

Friendship Cafe:
Friendship Cafe: Aleena Qazikhil leading the session. Photo by Megan Fisher

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Image Credit: Shepparton News/Megan Fisher

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