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Amplifying the voices of young people in multicultural communities

September 29, 2023

Darling Downs and West Moreton PHN recently delivered its latest TALK ABOUT campaign with a focus on Young People and Their Health. We reached out to community members and health professionals to provide their feedback on what is working well and what could be done better.

One group of young people who participated in the campaign and provided feedback regarding their own health needs and what is important to them was the Mercy Community’s Social Football (Soccer) Team, which is made up of young people from the Toowoomba Yazidi Community. The young people meet and train together twice a week and participant in local football competitions around the Toowoomba region.

According to the 2021 census, Toowoomba is home to the largest Yazidi population in Australia, and their Kurdish dialect is the city's second-most-spoken language after English.

At the PHN, we work with culturally informed health services to provide primary health care support to migrants and refugees in our region.

Providing our region with a ‘voice’ is a significant priority for the PHN, placing health consumers at the forefront of everything we do. Initiatives such as our TALK ABOUT campaign enable us to fully engage with our communities so we know and understand their wants and needs.

As such, our typically online-only TALK ABOUT survey was adapted to create physical copies translated to Arabic and Kurdish to ensure our region’s multicultural voices, such as the Yazidi community, were heard.

Multicultural Community Worker, Nestor Kangudia, discussed his involvement with the program:

“The social football was initiated to create an environment where we could teach players how to respect football rules, keep the spirit of the game, commitment, and learning to accept the referee’s decision.

The program has been running for 18 months with our wonderful Coach Kamo from the Yazidi community. We are delighted with the outcome.

When we look at the performance and good behaviour of the younger players at the Oakey Carnival (winning three games and drawing one out of four games), and the older players at the Yes23 Multicultural Football Cup, who faced eight teams and won the championship by coming first without a defeat, I can say that this program has been fantastic.”

The PHN’s Child & Youth Coordinator, Julie Cave, spoke on her opportunity to work with the young people and the significance of amplifying their voices:

“These energetic young people were very keen to be involved and share information about their health needs. Dental care and keeping fit (for football) were high on the list of priorities.

Many of the young people stated they also support the health needs of members of their family by helping parents, who often have limited English language to make doctor and medical appointments.

Hearing the voices of young people from our Multicultural Communities is important and I’m grateful for the opportunity to spend some time with these future football stars!”

We are collating the TALK ABOUT feedback provided to create a 'What We Heard' document which will be available on our website at the end of December. Thank you to everyone who took the time to share their experiences and opinions.

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