Community help for Chaldeans

By Monique Ebrington

21st October 2008 11:06:00 AM

TRADITIONAL dance, artwork, music and food will all be on display as Roxburgh Park gets set to host the state’s first Chaldean women’s festival next month.

Dalal Sleiman is president of the 150-member Chaldean Women’s Association which helps women and families of the Chaldean Christian faith – traditionally from Iraq, Iran and Turkey – settle in Australia.

Mrs Sleiman said the festival aims to show Chaldean traditions to the community.

“It also gives the opportunity for Chaldean women to meet with each other to make friends and for the Chaldean women to learn about Australian culture,” she said.

Mrs Sleiman came to Australia from Iraq 16 years ago as a refugee and found it hard to settle into her new homeland.

She now helps refugees settle into Australia and said she wished there were similar associations when she first arrived.

“At the beginning settling in a new country is not easy,” Mrs Sleiman said.

“You come and don’t know anyone and, with a lack of English, it’s very hard.”

The festival is on 1 November from 10am to 5pm at the Roxburgh Park Homestead Learning and Art Centre.