New arrivals celebrate International Men’s Day

A football match pitted boys against men with plenty of support from the spectators.

Scores of men Arabic-speaking men gathered at Nurragingy Reserve in Blacktown last week to celebrate International Men’s Day with a healthy theme.

Multicultural Health project officer Abulla Agwa organised the day for newly-arrived migrant and refugee men from countries including Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Bhutan and Eritrea.

The event featured talks covering topics including physical and mental health, cyber safety, relationships, smoking and shisha, as well as a soccer match and dancing.

The formal proceedings concluded with an impromptu dance session that got everyone to their feet.

“The program was very successful in bringing together men from different backgrounds,” Abulla said.

“Many of these men have come to Australia from refugee camps and difficult circumstances, so they have never before had a chance to celebrate an event like International Men’s Day.

“All the speakers presented wonderfully on the theme of ‘keeping boys and men healthy’ and the feedback was very positive. Everyone was excited.”

Soccer, dancing and shisha were among the important topics on the day.
An Arabic translator ensured everyone could understand all the important messages.

Around 80 men of all ages were in attendance, including intensive English centre students from Evans High School.

The day was organised in partnership with Blacktown City Council, SydWest Multicultural Services, Mount Druitt Ethnic Communities Agency, the Salvation Army, Mount Druitt TAFE, Blacktown Police and Western Sydney Family Referral Services. 

Due to the very high fire danger across Sydney, the planned barbecue was substituted for a lunch of sandwiches and fruit.