Racial discrimination is a key contributor to health inequality. Several studies have linked racism with poorer mental health outcomes, reduced access to health care, and poorer patient experiences.Your Community Health has addressed the need to support women living in East Preston and East Reservoir with racism and Islamophobia with the ‘Our Place Our Purpose’ project.In collaboration with the Islamic Council of Victoria, Victoria Police and Darebin City Council, we facilitated a ‘Racism and Islamophobia’ workshop at the East Preston Community Centre. Inviting twenty-two Muslim women from Somali and Arabic-speaking backgrounds, this workshop provided a safe space to share their experiences.Small group discussions were facilitated along with a panel providing information about services, the racism reporting process and answering questions about experiences of racism and Islamophobia.
Key themes from these discussions included:
Racism and Islamophobia is experienced at home, in local neighbourhoods, in public spaces, workplaces and schools
Impacts of experiences of racism included women feeling unsafe as well as changing their activities or behaviours
Common barriers to reporting experiences include fear of making the situation worse, language, and not knowing how to make a report.Alongside empowering women to respond to racism and Islamophobia, the workshop findings summarised in this paper will be shared with Darebin City Council and Victoria Police to highlight the experiences and needs of this cohort, the Somali and Arabic-speaking women from Islamic religion, and to inform planning to address the issue of racism in Darebin.
Alongside empowering women to respond to racism and Islamophobia, the workshop findings summarised in the below paper will be shared with Darebin City Council and Victoria Police to highlight the experiences and needs of this cohort, the Somali and Arabic-speaking women from Islamic religion, and to inform planning to address the issue of racism in Darebin.
Our Place Our Purpose
The Our Place Our Purpose workshop also collaborated with the East Preston Community Centre in delivering a healthy lunch box session to 27 Somali mums and their children. A Your Community Health dietitian delivered the session to the mums and children were supported to do art and craft activities on healthy lunchbox messaging before enjoying a traditional dinner. Mothers who attended the health lunch box session will also be supported with a one on one appointment with our dieticians’ as part of this initiative.