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A new Indonesian Arts and Culture Club (IACC) was launched at Advance Diversity Services on Sunday, July 1, by the Honourable Indonesian Consul General, Mr Heru Subolo, and his wife, Mrs Sinta Subolo.

Forty guests from Indonesian regions ranging from Aceh, Sumatra, South Sumatra, Lampung, Jakarta, Java, Sulawesi, Flores, to Papua attended the launch, which also featured beautiful Indonesian food and a display of traditional instruments.

The IACC aims to showcase the assets and talents within the culturally rich and diverse Indonesian diaspora living in the Bayside area.

It will also provide a much-needed community space for Indonesian islanders from all faith and culture groups to come together through the common thread of arts and culture.

Notable community leaders that attended the launch included Endi Dharma from Indonesian Community Council, Firdaus Muis from South Sulawesi and John Hardjono from Indonesian Rockdale Saturday Club.

Mirna Yusuf, ADS’ dance teacher from South Sulawesi, performed a traditional welcome dance called ‘Pa’duppa’ in beautiful traditional dress.

Such welcoming dances, in which guests are showered with loose flowers and confetti, are common throughout Indonesia and show the deep respect Indonesian people have for their guests.

Ms Yusuf’s performance also highlights the club’s commitment to ensuring the traditional dances and instrumental skills of the Indonesian people are passed on to younger generations in a fun environment. She will teach ‘Pa’duppa’ to all interested IACC members when the club opens on July 29.

Theresia Tomahu, the club’s president, and Andi Dwipasatya, the ADS community worker worked hard to ensure the launch was a great success.

The club is a community-driven initiative made possible by a ‘Doing it Differently’ grant awarded to ADS by Bayside Council and NSW Health.

Mr Subolo said he was very grateful that ADS had assisted the Indonesian community to get the grant, which would provide a vital meeting point in the region.

‘We’re excited to launch the club,’ said Ms Dwipasatya, ‘as it offers Indonesian people in our area the chance to share our cultural heritage, and pass it on to the next generation. We’ll also enjoy the opportunity to meet new friends, and forge closer ties.’

The club will be open every Sunday from 2–5 pm at ADS in Rockdale. To register your interest, please contact Andi Dwipasatya on (02) 9597 5355.


Come join us for our networking event, Communicate Connect Collaborate to be held on Tuesday 24 July 2018! Jointly organised by the St George Multicultural Network and the Sutherland Shire Multicultural Network, this informal afternoon event is an opportunity to make new connections with other services working with the multicultural community in the area.

Please click here to register:



Sporting activities combined with health-related information sessions can improve the health, wellbeing and social connectivity of culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) young people including those who are newly arrived.

This finding is detailed in two recently released reports from the Get Active Project funded by Multicultural Health, South Eastern Sydney Local Health District (SESLHD) and rolled out by Advance Diversity Services.

‘Research results from ADS’s Get Active Project offer valuable insights into the health and wellbeing needs of CALD and newly arrived young people in our region’ said Anthony Scerri, Program Manager of Settlement and Community Services and Youth Services Team Leader with Advance Diversity Services.

Mr Scerri presented Get Active findings at the Youth Health: Promoting Empowerment, Wellbeing and Safety Research to Practice Forum in Surry Hills, Sydney, on April 10.

The forum was organised by the Priority Populations Unit – SESLHD to showcase the latest research on the experience of young people accessing health services, and to highlight best-practice programs across the region for engaging vulnerable and at-risk young people.

‘I was invited to speak at the forum because Get Active is seen as a good example of a successful locally based project,’ Mr Scerri said. ‘Our aim was to improve the health, wellbeing and social participation of CALD and newly arrived young people through sports and information sessions – and Get Active achieved this.

‘Our results will also help local youth and health services providers in the St George region to target their services to ensure young people receive the support and information they need to foster their health and wellbeing.’

Get Active roll out

ADS received funding from the South Eastern Sydney Local Health District (SESLHD) Multicultural Health Grants Program: Healthy Communities Project to coordinate the project.

This included organising a series of table tennis clinics combined with health-related information sessions at Kogarah Intensive English Centre (KIEC) and the ADS Youth Club. It also incorporated a regional table tennis tournament held at Hurstville Aquatic Centre in partnership with St George and Sutherland Shire Table Tennis Association and Table Tennis NSW.

Throughout these activities ADS and other project partners gathered young people’s perspectives on a range of health-related issues, including the features they’d most like to see in the health services targeted to support them. Their feedback is documented in the Get Active project reports along with details of audits conducted by Health Promotion SESLHD (a project partner) to promote healthy environments for young people at the ADS offices in Rockdale (where the ADS Youth Club meets regularly) and the Kogarah High School Canteen. Since the Get Active Project ended, ADS has also funded weekly sport sessions at Beverly Hills Intensive English Centre, and KIEC has approached ADS to offer table tennis sessions.

The success of Get Active’s Youth Health Forum held in June 2017 led to a recommendation that similar forums be held in the St George region every two years. ADS Youth Worker, Salvin Kumar, will meet with service providers soon to prepare for a second youth health forum in 2019.

In his day-to-day work, Mr Kumar provides information about racism, bullying, exams and other issues of concern identified by young people involved in the project, and asks relevant services to provide sessions for youth on these issues. The Get Active reports also recommend that local services provide targeted information to CALD and newly arrived young people on these topics.

‘We’re pleased that after taking part in the Get Active health and exercise sessions the majority of Get Active participants felt their knowledge about healthy food, healthy relationships, being active, accessing GPs and using interpreters had increased’ said Mr Scerri.‘Their confidence in pursuing sporting activities had also improved.

‘These outcomes support evidence from the Centre for Multicultural Youth (CMY) and Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIWH) in relation to the overall health and social benefits of recreational and educational projects,’ he said.

‘ADS will continue to build on these findings – to create programs that meet young people’s needs and can give them timely, accessible and relevant support.’


Read the reports now …

Project Report – Get Active CALD Youth Project 2015-2017: https://tinyurl.com/yc5lqw6t  | Youth Health & Wellbeing Consultations – July 2017: https://tinyurl.com/yasuwch2


Get Active participant backgrounds

Young people involved in the project came from diverse family and cultural backgrounds including: Thai, Russian, Chinese (not specified), Mandarin, Vietnamese,
Nepali, Malay, Greek, Hindi/Punjabi, Arabic, English, Bangladesh, Burmese, Cypriot, Egyptian, Indonesian, Iranian, Iraqi, Mongolian,  Pakistani, 
Palestinian, Peruvian, Filipino,
Syrian and Yemeni.

Get Active project partners

Advance Diversity Services including its Youth Club, 
Beverly Hills Intensive English Centre, Directorate Planning, Population Health and Equity – SESLHD, headspace Hurstville and Miranda, 
Kogarah Intensive English Centre, Multicultural Health Service – SESLHD
Primary Integrated and Community Health – SESLHD,
St George and Sutherland Shire Table Tennis Association, and St George Youth Services.


Advance Diversity Services (ADS) in partnership with NSW Health, not only helped create in language resources to encourage health screening for their emerging Bangladeshi and Nepalese communities – they also choreographed a new dance to reinforce the message that ‘taking care of yourself is the best way to take care of your family’.

Screening Saves Lives is a collection of video and print resources in community languages, including Bengali and Nepali, to show women and families from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities how easy it is to participate in cervical, breast and bowel cancer screening. These resources were launched at the Screening Saves Lives event on April 8.

The Living a Life dance was performed by three generations of Nepalese women – the Nepalese children’s cultural dance group, their mothers and their grandmothers.  This intergenerational dance explores the experience of being a migrant woman, and integrates this with the universal experiences of joy, happiness, relationships, identity, loss and adventure.  It features a vibrant mix of facial expressions and dance moves.  It was choreographed and directed by the talented Anjeela BK (dance instructor at ADS) and Merry Manadhar (dancer and active volunteer at ADS), with the support Gaya Dharmagesan of the Women’s Health program in the South Eastern Sydney Local Health District. A Bangladeshi children’s dance group also performed at the event.

Magdaline Shenton-Kaleido, Team Leader for Emerging Communities at ADS, said that Screening Saves Lives’ partners incorporated dancing into the launch because arts programs and activities had been shown to make significant contributions to health outcomes, and encouraging participation.

“The NSW Government’s Health and the Arts Framework supports an arts- and culture-based approach to health promotion,” she said. “In this case, we believed the Nepalese and Bangladeshi dances would augment the project’s message that by participating in breast and cervical health checks, women can improve their chances of living a long and healthy life.”

Screening Saves Lives received funding support from the Cancer Institute NSW. Project partners included South Eastern Sydney Local Health District (SESLHD) Priority Populations Unit, Central and Eastern Sydney PHN (CESPHN) and Advance Diversity Services.  Importantly, Bengali and Nepali speaking community members assisted in co-designing and developing the resources.

Find the resources here:

Screening Saves Lives – South Asian Community in English


Screening Saves Lives – Nepalese in English


Screening Saves Lives – spoken in Nepali


Screening Saves Lives – Bangladeshi in English


Screening Saves Lives – spoken in Bengali


Advance Diversity Services has been working with South Eastern Sydney Local Health District Multicultural Health Service (MHS) on the Get Active Project, delivered in Sydney’s St George Region. The below reports outline the aims and deliverables of the Project. They draw attention to the improved outcomes relating to health, wellbeing and social connectivity via participation in sporting activities and information sessions for young people who are newly arrived and/or from CALD backgrounds.

Project Report – Get Active CALD Youth Project 2015-2017:


Youth Health & Wellbeing Consultations – July 2017:



Advance Diversity Services (ADS) is looking for young people aged 15 to 24 to be part of its new Youth Reference Group. You’ll help drive social change on issues that matter to you – while developing leadership and professional skills for your future career and studies. Jenny Tang, Multicultural Youth Worker for the Settlement and Community Services Program of ADS, explains why you should consider being part of the team.

What prompted you to set up this new Youth Reference Group? What’s the need for it?

As a team working with young people from culturally diverse backgrounds, we want to give young people a voice in the community so that their ideas and opinions are heard on the issues that affect them. We want to be able to consult with young people to make sure that our own work at ADS truly reflects their concerns and needs, but is also informed by the strengths they bring. We want to equip young people with the skills and the knowledge to become leaders and to achieve the change that they want to see.

Have you seen something like this working effectively elsewhere? 

The Multicultural Youth Advocacy Network has a Multicultural Youth Ambassadors Program, which also aims to give young people a voice and equips them with skills to advocate on the issues they care about. It’s a great program.

What can happen through this channel that might not happen effectively without it? 

Without this group, we would not be able to consistently consult young people regarding our programs and initiatives. We might miss out on some wonderful ideas for advocacy or community engagement that a fresh and young perspective can offer us.

What freedom will the young people have to set their own agenda? 

Youth Reference Group members will have the freedom to work collaboratively to come up with their own ‘constitution’ of sorts, under the guidance of the Youth Workers. They will be able to choose the issues they feel passionate about, and put forth their own ideas about how to best tackle them. Of course, these must be subject to standards regarding respect for other political, religious, and personal beliefs.

How will what the young people decide feed into ADS’s or other local community or broader decision-making? 

ADS is part of several youth interagency networks including the St George Youth Network, Sutherland Shire Youth Network, Multicultural Youth Advocacy Network, and SSI’s Youth Collective. ADS also  often participates in advocacy and other policy work. The members’ ideas, concerns and decisions will be fed through these platforms to give them the widest audience possible. Members may also have the chance to attend conferences and speak at events.

Are there youth issues that need to be addressed in ADS’s catchment area in terms of external funding or government policy change that won’t find traction without the voices of young people getting behind them? 

It’s hard to pinpoint specific issues, but we know that proposals that come with evidence that’s based on consultation with the target group will certainly find more traction.

What’s the incentive for young people to get involved?

There will definitely be opportunities to develop leadership and professional skills such as public speaking, grant writing, project coordination, and meeting and networking with new people. We’re also hoping members will find it rewarding to be making a difference on important issues. These are all things that they can later put on their resumes to help with their future career. Oh, and there will be snacks at the meetings and fun team building activities every now and then (such as rock climbing). Incentive enough, we believe!

How do young people apply?

For more information and to get your application form, please email us at youth@advancediversityservices.org.au or call Jenny or Salvin on (02) 9597 5455. Applicants must live, work or study in the St George or Sutherland Shire areas, be aged 15 to 24, and be from a culturally diverse background. Applications close April 22, 2018.


More than 70 people, and many from Culturally and Linguistically (CALD) backgrounds, contributed to a round-table discussion about their experiences with the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) at Marana Hall in Hurstville on February 21.

Settlement Services International (SSI) and Advance Diversity Services (ADS) co-hosted the discussion, which brought together local people with disabilities from CALD backgrounds; local CALD organisations and leaders; local mainstream disability services; representatives from the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA); and NDIS Local Area Coordinators (LACs).

The aim of the forum was to identify issues that local people with a disability from CALD backgrounds have encountered with the NDIS, and to discuss solutions.

The group was divided into six tables to ensure the challenges people faced with the NDIS were voiced and noted.

Major issues identified included: a lack of understanding of how NDIS works; insufficient NDIS funds available to purchase the required services; and problems with navigating approved services.

Findings from the forum will feed into a statewide DiverseAbility: NDIS Inclusion conference to be run by SSI at the Novotel in Parramatta on April 19.

This one-day conference was prompted by research conducted by SSI’s FutureAbility project, which found that people from CALD backgrounds with disabilities are noticeably under-represented in the existing disability service and support systems in Australia, despite having similar disability rates as the Australian-born, English speaking population.

This is the first time in New South Wales that CALD and disability experts, practitioners, CALD NDIS users, and community groups and members will meet to identify ways to improve the participation of people with disabilites from CALD backgrounds in the NDIS – to achieve a better quality of life and increased economic and social participation.

People with disabilities and their carers are invited to attend DiverseAbility free of charge.

For more information and to register visit www.diverseability2018.com.au


Advance Diversity Services’ (ADS) Settlement and Community Services staff will coordinate a ‘messages of welcome’ activity – inviting people to offer greetings of inclusivity, diversity and hope at Georges River Council’s Harmony Day celebration in Hurstville on March 21.

ADS staff members have prepared more than 300 templates people can personalise with meaningful messages to help foster harmony across the community. These expressions of welcome will be displayed in a common area at Marana Auditorium—reinforcing the region’s and ADS’s commitment to openness and unity.

Key settlement information for new arrivals will also be available at the ADS stall, including information about housing, employment, training, recreational activities and case-work services.

People of all ages and cultures are invited to celebrate Harmony Day in Hurstville, which will feature henna hand painting, children’s activities, and multicultural stalls and food tasting.

The free Georges River Council Harmony Day celebration is on Wednesday March 21, from 10 am to 1 pm at Marana Auditorium, MacMahon Street, Hurstville.


Advance Diversity Services (ADS) was extremely proud to sponsor and take part in this year’s St George Aged Care Expo on August 24 at Rockdale Town Hall.

ADS joined more than 40 exhibitors who spoke with hundreds of people from more than 30 communities who attended the expo, which aimed to raise awareness of the goods and services available to ageing people in the region.

ADS staff also happily assisted with the expo’s Multicultural Awareness Program, which provided information to seniors in multiple languages about how to access My Aged Care – the Australian Government’s portal for information about aged care services.

The Nepalese Grandparents Choir pictured with ADS’s bilingual Nepalese case worker Rishi Acharya (front row far right), which has close ties with ADS, performed as part of diverse line-up of multicultural entertainment that enlivened the event’s atmosphere.

Senior Manager of Aged Care and Disability Services for ADS, Mrs Dimi Vourliotis, said the expo provided an important opportunity to showcase the services ADS offers seniors in the region so they can live safely and independently at home.

‘People were delighted to hear more about our expertise in providing care to ageing people from diverse cultural and language (CALD) backgrounds,’ she said. ‘They think it’s great we have bilingual staff that can help them to remain happily at home and to maintain their important cultural and spiritual traditions.’

Mrs Vourliotis said the expo was particularly helpful this year given the significant Home Care Reforms that were put in place in February across Australia.

‘We could highlight what the changes involved, dispel people’s fears, and give them vital information to enable them to find the right support to meet their needs.’


Advance Diversity Services hosts a free Justice of the Peace (JP) service in its Rockdale office on Friday mornings to help people with documents they need witnessing and/or certified.

We speak Bengali, Chinese, Hindi and Urdu.


What can a JP help you with?

JP volunteers play an important role in the legal system in New South Wales and provide a valuable service to the community.

A JP can witness and certify a range of legal documents (as follows).

  • Witness the signing of a statutory declaration

A statutory declaration is a written statement which a person declares to be true in the presence of an authorised witness. Various organisations often require information to be provided to them in a statutory declaration.

  • Witness the signing of an affidavit

An affidavit is a written statement for use as evidence in court proceedings. A person who makes an affidavit must promise that he or she is telling the truth, in the presence of an authorised witness.

  • Certify that a copy of an original document is a true copy

Organisations sometimes accept a certified copy of a document, instead of the original. This avoids a person having to mail or submit the original of a precious document, like a birth certificate or academic qualification.


When, where, and more information?

Every Friday 11.30 am to 12.30 pm

552 Princes Hwy, Rockdale 2216

Please call (02) 9597 5455 for more information

To keep our service consumers, staff and the public safe during the coronavirus pandemic, we are restricting public access to our offices.

We are continuing to provide services but by appointment only or over the phone (9 am – 5 pm, Monday to Friday). Please know that the ADS team is here to help.

Call us on (02) 9597 5455 or email us info@advancediversity.org.au and we’ll direct you to the right person.

Stay safe and keep healthy!