Getting safety messages out to minority communities in their language

Amanda Flack, Rebecca Blayney, Asriana Rio, Michelle Greenwood and senior members of Coffs Harbour Police Force Matt French, Guy Flaherty, Steve Clarke, Daniel Dunn and Matt French, with volunteers and community voices.

 

NOT being able to access or read the rapidly changing COVID guidelines written in English is a barrier for minority communities in Coffs LGA, that is being addressed by a new collaboration between STARTTS (NSW Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors), The Australian Red Cross – Migrant Programs and Coffs Harbour Police.

The language project focuses on getting time-sensitive, Coffs-specific information to CALD (Culturally and Linguistically Diverse) communities quickly, in audio or video form, in a language they understand, including an English version to assist all in our community.

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“This latest COVID alert in late July, made us aware that there are people in CALD communities who are not able to access accurate localised information quickly,” Amanda Flack, Migrant Programs Officer at Australian Red Cross told News Of The Area.

“Being able to hear short, specific messages across various social media platforms in your first language is vital in assisting people to make informed decisions about their health and their families.”

The spoken word in various dialects is the most effective way of supporting people, and that’s what this project is providing.

The organising partnership launched the project with volunteers, between them speaking thirteen different languages, who will be doing recordings of NSW Health-approved COVID messages.

“In the future, we will access these volunteers to make other materials about time-sensitive information such as bushfire safety,” said Rebecca Blayney, Community Development Project Officer, STARTTS.

“We have volunteers in our Coffs communities from Myanmar, Malaysia, Philippines, India, Iraqi, Syria, Burundi, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Afghanistan, speaking various dialects, who are currently recording COVID guidelines, such as where to go for testing, symptoms and QR code check-ins, and, if the communities request it, we’ll cover any topic that they need further information on.”

With the first recordings completed on Day 1, Wednesday 4 August, the task now is for the team, volunteers and friends to share the messages with their communities to get the words out there.

 

By Andrea FERRARI

 

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