Coffee with…Klaudia Lozo, Louise Multicultural Community Centre

 

 Describe your work/role at Louise Multicultural Community Centre

The Louise Multicultural Community Centre (LMCC) works with migrants and refugees living in Australia by encouraging and assisting them to practice, enjoy and share their own culture and to fully participate in public and civic life. LMCC offers programs and activities, of which the core are the English Language Classes assisting in meeting the demands of living in an English speaking community. In my role as the manager my work encompasses managing the Centre’s day-to-day operations; overseeing the programs and activities run by LMCC staff and volunteers; budgeting; sourcing new funding; reporting; and representing LMCC (just to mention a few things about my work). I am fortunate to have terrific staff and Committee of Management who support me in my role.

What sort of work were you doing prior to starting at LMCC?

I have worked with culturally and linguistically diverse communities for almost twenty years. I have spent the last nine years working at LMCC, initially as the receptionist, and then moving into the role of volunteer coordinator prior to becoming the manager. I have also worked for a foreign diplomatic mission as a locally employed staff member working in the area of protocol. Unfortunately, I was not eligible for any diplomatic immunity or the perks that may come with that as a locally employed staff member however I did get to work closely with the Croatian community and practice my Croatian language skills (which has also been handy at LMCC on occasion).

What excites and motivates you in your role?

I am excited and motivated by the whole LMCC community – participants and volunteers. Every day the corridors are filled with the sounds of people from all over the world who remain proud of who they are. The capacity of the centre is strengthened by the many volunteers who support LMCC, in whose absence we could not deliver enhanced learning experiences for participants -whether it is through classroom activities, excursions or other opportunities for cultural exchange. Forming partnerships and working collaboratively with other organisations to enable LMCC to have wider reach is exciting.

What strengths do you see in the local multicultural community?

LMCC is a great example of a local multicultural community with participants and volunteers coming from over 32 different countries of origin. The strength of LMCC’s community is its diversity and resilience. The migrant experience can often be isolating, with new Australians needing new skills to thrive, while craving connection to culture and identity. At LMCC, our community embraces LMCC’s philosophy of “learning together” through shared experiences and the desire to learn, meet others and feel at home. Increased diversity also brings economic benefits to the community. In the words of our Patron, The Honourable Alastair Nicholson AO RFD AC, “Louise is thus a great example of the value of multiculturalism to our society. The more we can live and work together, the less significant become the voices of hate that we have begun to hear all too often in Australia. These voices do not represent the vast majority of Australians, who have learned to welcome the diversity of modern Australian society.”

How does the One Million Stars project work with your community strengths?

The One Million Stars to End Violence project is a peaceful global weaving project that encourages people to be the light and kindness they want to see in the world. When I introduced LMCC’s support of this project and commitment to make 10,000 stars, the LMCC community jumped on board with a gusto. Our volunteers and participants gathered together to make stars proving language was no barrier and all you need is patience. I was so impressed by the wider community and community organisations making stars to help us reach our target. I am pleased to say that thanks to all involved, we have exceeded our target! And now we must work out how to get the stars to the Gold Coast so they can become part of an art installation for the Commonwealth Games 2018.

If you could change one thing about the world right now, what would it be?

There are too many things I would like to change about the world right now but the Global Refugee Crisis would be a start.

If you weren’t working at Louise Multicultural Community Centre right now, what would you be doing?

Since it is the first day of winter …… a place called Milna on the Island of Brac, sitting on the balcony, looking out onto the Adriatic Sea contemplating life (one can hope….)

We acknowledge the Wurundjeri people and other peoples of the Kulin nation as the traditional owners of the land on which our work in the community takes place. We pay our respects to their Elders past and present.