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Happy Nowruz 2017

Nowruz food web size

Following the success of 2016’s Happy Nowruz, the Afghan New Year event, annecto is partnering with the Afghan Women’s Organisation of Victoria again for 2017’s event on Saturday, 25 March.

A thousand Afghan women and their children are expected to attend the event, which will be held at Menzies Hall in Dandenong.

Farida Bezhan, a Case Manager with annecto works closely with the Afghan community in Melbourne’s East. Farida and her sister Gula Bezhan, are organising the event. “Some of the women in this community are isolated, don’t speak English, and feel very alone,” Farida explains. “And most of them haven’t got extended family to celebrate the New Year with. “This event gives them an opportunity to meet others in the same situation as them, enjoy their culture and celebrate in a comfortable environment.”

annecto CEO Estelle Fyffe says annecto is proud to be part of the event for the second year in a row. “We’ve just celebrated International Women’s Day and having over 500 women together celebrating is a wonderful event to be part of.”

annecto connects people with culturally appropriate services that help them to live a more connected and happy life. “The event is also about providing support and help to Afghan women and their children and provide more information about their rights, available services, parenting, English and education advice,” says Estelle.

With this in mind, Farida has invited guest speakers from a range of professional services, who will be introduced to the crowd and will then be available for individuals to approach them one-on-one with questions.

The women-only event will start at 6pm, and continue through until midnight. There’ll be traditional Afghan food, a DJ playing music, and the traditional group dancing, Attan. Most of the women will be wearing traditional Afghan dress as well.

There will, of course, be other family activities, such as henna hand painting, face painting, a jumping castle, raffle tickets for special prizes and much more.

Farida’s work in the local community helps people with aged care through home care packages. “We have people who we provide transport to so they can attend medical appointments. I have a group of women who we help to attend social activities, such as a weekly sewing club and community kitchen in Dandenong.” 

This group of 15-20 women typically don’t speak English and are isolated from the community. Attending the weekly sewing club or community kitchen gives them a social connection and helps them feel more empowered and confident about living and socialising in their community. annecto provides transport so these women can safely attend their weekly activities and appointments and improve their ability to connect with others.

“We also offer support to older people who need help around their homes. Some might need a hand with cleaning and others with gardening. We have Afghan workers, who can speak their language and understand the culture, to provide this assistance,” explains Farida.