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Celebrating diversity at ACH Group

Harmony Week is about inclusiveness and respect for all Australians, and celebrating that no matter where you are from, everyone belongs.

As an organisation that is made up of over 50% of our current workforce born outside of Australia, we have so many reasons to celebrate. 

Our staff hail from over 90 different countries of origin and this week, we spoke to some of them about their culture and their experiences in Australia.

What do they like about Australia, what do they miss about home, and what is one thing they wish people knew about their culture? 

Where were you born?

I was born in one of the many islands (thousands) of the Philippines.

How long have you been in Australia?

I have been in Australia since 2011, so that makes it 12 years. We acquired our Australian Citizenship on Harmony Day in 2016.

What do you like about Australia?

I love the close proximity to the beaches. And the beaches here are extraordinary!! Most of the people you meet, even strangers, are so friendly and people always say hi to one another.

What do you miss about home?   I miss my family and friends, and the food.

What is your favourite food from your culture?

I love Filipino street food, and grilled food, such as Inasal Chicken.

There is a Filipino store near where I live that sell Filipino supplies as well as cooked meals and desserts, so that comes in handy.

Where were you born?

I was born in Coventry in the west midlands of England and grew up in Scotland.

How long have you been in Australia?

34 years. I originally came to work as a physio in Castlemaine in Victoria, a small rural town which was a big culture shock after the big cities in the UK!

What do you like about Australia?

It really is the ‘land of milk and honey’, there is so much opportunity and a high standard of living compared to other countries. The climate is great, allowing people to get outside to experience nature – people really take for granted how open it is.  The education system here is also really good, making it a great place to bring up children.

What do you miss about home?

I miss family and friends, as well as the ability to be able to get there quickly if I needed to. There is easy access to everything in the UK.  I also miss the British chocolate!

What is your favourite food or festival from your culture?

The Highland Games – with events like the caber toss and hammer throw.

What is one thing you wish people knew about your culture?

That we’re not all whingeing poms, and haggis actually tastes nice!

Where were you born?

Ferozepur in India, 3km from the international border between India and Pakistan.

How long have you been in Australia?

15 years

What do you like about Australia?

Having the opportunity to live the way I want to live, that aligns with my values such as equality, human dignity and equal opportunity. I like Australians’ ability to embrace other cultures and believe that everyone is a good person.  I was an army officer and a lawyer in India, but feel I have found my place here in Australia and the freedom to be myself.

What do you miss about home?

I really miss my brother.

What is your favourite food, restaurant or festival from your culture?

Food: Chicken Biryani

Restaurant: Beyond India

Festival: Diwali

What is one thing you wish people knew about your culture?

Indians come from a very diverse background. People often see what they want to see – many people believe that India is a poor country whereas there are extremes between rich and poor.

Where were you born?

I was born and raised in a small town Ponnur in the state of Andhra Pradesh in India, where my family has lived for several generations.

How long have you been in Australia?

I’ve been in Australia for just over 3 years now.

What do you like about Australia?

I love the natural beauty of the country. Additionally, I appreciate the multiculturalism and diversity of Australia. There’s a rich blend of cultures and traditions that coexist harmoniously, and it’s fascinating to learn about the different perspectives and experiences.

Overall, I feel very grateful to be living in such a wonderful and vibrant country.

What do you miss about home?

I really miss spending time with my Mum, Dad and Grandfather. They are such an important part of my life and it’s hard being away from them. I also miss the food, especially the home-cooked meals that my mum used to make, they always had a special taste and aroma that I can’t seem to find anywhere else. Lastly, I miss the familiar surroundings and the comfort of being in a place that I know so well. I feel homesick sometimes.

What is your favourite food from your culture?

My favourite food to cook is delicious Payasam – a sweet and creamy pudding made from rice, milk and sugar, typically flavoured with cardamon, saffron and nuts. I love making it because it reminds me of my childhood and the aroma of cardamom always fills my kitchen with a warm and comforting scent. It’s also easy to cook.

What is one thing you wish people knew about your culture?

One thing I wish people knew about my culture is that it is home to a wide range of religions, languages, and traditions, and that each region has its own unique customs and practices. Despite these differences, there is a strong sense of unity and pride in being Indian that transcends cultural and linguistic boundaries.

Where were you born?

I was born in The Netherlands, or some might also say Holland.  More specifically I was born in the North of The Netherlands.

How long have you been in Australia?

My wife and I migrated in 2005, so almost 18 years.

What do you like about Australia?

I like the people, the mentality, the true multicultural society. I like that Australia is such a welcoming country – I’ve lived in other countries but I’ve never felt at home as much as here in Australia. Lastly, what I value living in Australia is the open wide space and the ability to go and meet people but also the ability to escape everything and enjoy the landscape and the scenery.

What do you miss about home?

I miss family and the ability for my children to engage with their cousins in particular, as that was important to me when I grew up.

I am a very proud Dutchman and I miss part of the Dutch culture, hence I travel back to the Netherlands every so often.

What is your favourite food from your culture?

The Netherlands aren’t famous for a particular main course, its more the little courses, like Dutch pancakes, poffertjes, Dutch croquettes, like an arancini ball but not filled with rice, but with meat ragu. Also Dutch Liquorice – it’s a bit like vegemite, you need to have been born in the country to value it which for me, Dutch salted liquorice is what I love.

The great thing is, there are so many Dutch people that migrated here in the 50’s and 60’s so I can buy lots of these things in specialist shops.

Where were you born?

I was born in Sri Lanka.

How long have you been in Australia?

This is my 11th year in Australia. So I’ve been here for a whole 10 years now.

What do you like about Australia?

It’s a great country to raise a family. Since we are coming from such a family oriented background, being Australia is great as it embraces multi culturalism hence we are able to hold our cultural and traditional key values and able to pass it to our kids.

What do you miss about home?

Parents, however so far they have been able to travel therefore they’ve been visiting us every now and then. Apart from that I miss home when it comes to festive times. Especially during our New years’ in April, I miss that vibe as that’s the time where the whole extended families get together and celebrate with lots of food and traditional events.

What is your favourite food from your culture?

Rice and Curry of course. You name a food item- we can make a curry out of it!

Where were you born?

I was born in Czechoslovakia, a country that doesn’t exist anymore. It split peacefully in 1993 into Slovakia and the Czech Republic, and I became a Slovak citizen.

How long have you been in Australia?

Around seven months. I came to Australia as part of my “Pacific Trip” shortly before the Covid outbreak and spent three weeks exploring the east coast; nevertheless, meeting my wife was the follow-up story that brought me back to Australia last year.

What do you like about Australia?

There are a lot of things, but it is mainly the weather and the sea. Although I’m missing palms on the beaches. If I’d continue, it would probably be the open culture, many friendly people, and a vast country to explore and enjoy.

What do you miss about home?

Like everyone, I believe, family and friends, but I realised I’m also missing Slovak nature and the four seasons. Having a lot of snow in winter is amazing; it’s just the grey, muddy and rainy months that can get along I don’t miss that much.

What is your favourite food from your culture?

For me is a white creamy dill sauce served with corn beef and “bao” type dumplings—a big white cooked or steamed bread.
But I also like our national food called “Bryndzove halusky”. Hard to translate, but it’s a kind of potato gnocchi with a Bulgarian sheep fetta-type cheese. At least, that’s the type of cheese I found here in Adelaide that is close to our Bryndza cheese, which is more soft and smelly.

What is one thing you wish people knew about your culture?

We are a small country with a population of around 5 million, so our culture is not very well known, and there is a lot to tell.
Nevertheless, it would probably be a great hospitality that I’d pick. It’s fading with globalisation a bit; however, as a visitor, you usually get a lot of traditional drinks and food, and it is not uncommon; for you to stay overnight.

That’s probably because our drinks have 40-60% alcohol. It’s convenient when there is -20 Celsius outside, and it keeps you warm, but…drink responsibly.

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ACH Group is one of South Australia’s largest aged care providers, employing more than 1900 people. Our workforce is made up of passionate individuals who work in a wide range of roles in residential care, retirement living, home and community care, health and wellness, social experiences, and corporate teams.

Join ACH Group and support older people to live good lives – while making your mark on the people within.

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