Like everyone else, she has a story and she’s taking her chance to share it through her involvement in the Ballarat community.
Harmony Day is about celebrating diversity and the different cultures that the world is made up of. For the specific day to come, a whole week is usually planned with different cultural activities by multicultural organisations and this year’s one was like no other hosted in the City of Ballarat.
‘Rock the Block’ showcases the ideas that youths come up with and how they look at the future of their community. From Centre for Multicultural Youth (CMY), a youth advisor, Vanessa Amedegnator, said that she was excited and interested in involving herself in a community to make it fun to socialise with people.
On the run for safety and security, Vanessa and her mother Florence Dick landed in Australia in December 2007 just in time for a brand-new life and a happy Christmas to end their long-time horror.
After being raised in a refugee camp in Benin and then given a new life with endless opportunities, she joined CMY as a Youth Advisor to share her skills and knowledge of how a young person can fit into a new society. Becoming a youth advisor was an exciting new journey for Vanessa as she faced the new challenges it opposes on her life.
“I joined the organisation because being alone mans that you don’t really get to meet other people. I also want to help raise the awareness surrounding racism,” she said.
After being in Australia for almost 11 years, Vanessa has accepted Ballarat as her new home and to show her appreciation, she wants to tell the world what harmony means to her.
“I want to take action and help raise the awareness of racism and how indifferent the whole world is because when I arrived in Ballarat, I was warmly welcomed and then had to face discrimination like every other race,” she said.
The CMY ‘s Youth Worker and Case Manager Shani Cain said that it was great to see young people in action doing what they love and being involved in the community.
“I think it is pretty amazing, pretty remarkable how the event ‘Rock the Block’ has turned out. About 800 people came through and they came through purely out of what young people had visioned and made it happened,” said Shani.
Harmony week in Ballarat was ended successfully with the help of the youths in the community putting their visions into action and once again proving that the City of Ballarat is an inclusive multicultural community.