Celebrating Harmony Day with a difference in Western Sydney

Westmead Hospital receptionist Carol Hollands places Harmony Day signage at the main entrance of the facility.

Harmony Day is normally an opportunity for Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) staff to come together, share cultural food and wear national dress.

But with COVID-19 precautions in place to protect staff, visitors and patients, our organisation found a way to celebrate our incredibly diverse community and foster the sense of belonging for everyone.

Blacktown Hospital maternity liaison officers Athena Kandris and Nawal Nadar said the spirit of the day is about respecting and embracing differences so people feel safe and not discriminated against.

“These celebrations are more than just eating delicious food and listening to music – it’s all about having conversations with your work colleagues, friends and family,” Athena said.

Carol decorates the information desk with international flags at Westmead Hospital.

“Multiculturalism represents a mixture of different cultures, their customs and traditions which make everyone unique and creates respect.”

As the first face who greets visitors, Westmead Hospital information desk receptionist Carol Hollands has met many people representing many cultures and nations from around the world.

She has worked at Westmead Hospital for more than 30 years, providing information, giving directions or taking phone calls.

Carol, along with staff across all of our Western Sydney Local Health District hospitals, have displayed international flag bunting at the front of each hospital facility.

Blacktown Hospital maternity liaison officers Athena Kandris and Nawal Nadar.

“Harmony Day is a special day for me it’s where we celebrate the different cultures and join together as a community,” Carol said.

“I can understand it can be very stressful and difficult for families to navigate throughout the hospital, especially if their first language is not English. One way we respect multiculturalism every day is by having interpreters available to ease that stress.

“I love what I do and it gives me great satisfaction helping people find their destinations or loved ones.”