Western Sydney celebrates its diversity for Harmony Day

Governance and executive support officer Reema Randhawa with the team at Cumberland Mental Health’s Harmony Day morning tea celebration.

It takes a diverse team to reach people in one of the most diverse regions in the country, and that’s exactly what you get from Interpreter Services.

The permanent workforce can speak 21 in-demand languages between them, and they utilise a sessional workforce of nearly 400 people to interpret vital health information into 120 different languages.

“I think we are the most multicultural team, and the best example of how we can all live and work together in harmony,” Health Care Interpreter Service manager Gordana Vasic said.

The team celebrated Harmony Week at Westmead Hospital last week by bringing food to share, creating a smorgasbord of delicious options from countries such as Turkey, India, Korea, Serbia and Lebanon.

The main date for the celebration – March 21 – coincided with the Persian New Year, which the Iranian team members were also celebrating.

WSLHD staff Tony Liu and Shinder Gill share their stories of coming to Australia and finding their home in Western Sydney.

The talented interpreters aid health practitioners in reaching Western Sydney Local Health District’s diverse population, where more than half of residents speak a language other than English at home.

They certainly weren’t the only team in the district celebrating Harmony Day though, as hospitals and health services became a sea of orange in recognition of the cultural diversity that Western Sydney celebrates every day.

An African drumming demonstration entertained patients, visitors and staff during a morning tea at Blacktown Hospital, while staff at Cumberland Hospital also enjoyed food from around the world.

This year’s theme, ‘Everyone belongs here’, communicated the inclusiveness, respect and sense of belonging that all people deserve.


It also presented the opportunity for staff from different backgrounds to share their journey of coming to Australia and making a new home in Western Sydney.

WSLHD executive director of operations, Robynne Cooke, said Harmony Day is “a celebration of our multicultural heritage, our multicultural community, and our multicultural staff, patients and carers”.