Some of the participants and faculty

Life Matters Sydney style

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Some of the participants and facultyNSW Police community liaison officers Rosemary Kariuki and Assefa Bekele, with Kuranda Seyit (Forum on Australia's Islamic Relations) enthusiastically arranged a weekend version of the Life Matters course in Sydney 17-19 September. (This is the second time this has taken place.) They received funding to cover all expenses. Two Sydney couples gave practical and logistical support. The course was delivered by a faculty of five to a multicultural group of young adults at the Granville Community Centre.

Faculty member David MacLaurin writes:

Identity, meaning for our lives, leadership, community building, conflict resolution... these are some of the world changing principles with which a group of 21 brave souls in Sydney sought to grapple one fine weekend in September.

The workshop kicked off in the fine tradition of the Life Matters course. Present were talented local community leaders, several of whom came from Sydney’s growing African community.

The participants and facilitators were all in agreement that Sydney was an amazing place to live, but we all either personally or as a greater community face daily challenges, some deeply personal in nature, but many brought about by living in such a dynamic, multi-faceted and in many respects, materialistic city. The course is a forum to discuss how to address these personal and community concerns.

The course was a whirlwind of workshops and ideas that were of great value to explore, both for the participants and the facilitators alike. Perhaps the relationships forged and the friendships made were the most valuable component.

Faculty member Mary Bagaric writes:

In a nutshell, some key observations are:

  • the richness of the multi-cultural and multi-religious background of participants;
  • the strength of character people revealed when they shared their stories ... and awareness of being in presence of true 'survivors', with their dignity, humanity and courage through it all;
  • the effervescent enthusiasm and contagious laughter from fun exercises, spilling over into the whole three days;
  • “Aha” moments, with take home stick-on-the fridge action items, such as the "I" statements (from the Conflict Resolution workshop);
  • generosity of all the organisers, from the insights shared on 'leadership', to a local couple's dedication in serving delicious food all weekend.

Other quotes from the weekend:

  • 'I feel good because I have learned so many ideas about how to live in society and to build up community. I have a lot of stress and the course gave me inner peace because there were people here not only from Africa but from different backgrounds.'
  • 'Valuable reminders were – “change starts with me”; “listening is not waiting to talk.”'
  • 'I learned: “if I want to go fast, go alone, but if I want to go far, go together”'.
  • 'I learned to be responsible as a leader. Honesty plays a big part in leadership, also perseverance and respect for others. This workshop brings peace in my life; it strengthens my heart.'

The next full nine-day Life Matters course for young adults will take place in Melbourne, 4-13 February, 2011.

A shorter weekend workshop for mature age participants, Life Still Matters will take place in Melbourne, 19-22 November 2010.

For application forms, call Viv or Fiona on 03 9822 1218