The launch of the Digital Hub at the Peel Multicultural Association was held on Tuesday, with members of the council, volunteers and community attending to celebrate the new program.
The Digital Hub will be open every Tuesday at the Parents Place (63 Ormsby Terrace, Mandurah) from 10am to 2pm for the Culturally and Linguistuically Diverse (CaLD) community. It is free to Peel Multicultural Association Members, however anyone can become a member for $15 per year.
This Hub represents a place where community members can learn IT literacy through information and mentoring sessions, as well as receive help with visas, citizenship, job search, résumés and job application advice.
Peel Multicultural Association president Virginia Pitts hosted the launch and described how the new project would help the community.
"Community members can come and do whatever they need to do online. We will be doing information sessions and digital mentoring for our members. We also welcome those people who need to come and use our laptops and tablets," Ms Pitts said.
Visitors can drop in casually or make appointments for short courses which will soon be running. Ms Pitts described how the new Hub represented an opportunity for members who did not have access to laptops to connect with family overseas.
"They can now connect with their families back home, especially with the pandemic. They can also establish friendships out of doing the lessons here as well," Ms Pitts said.
Not only is the Hub a place where community members can learn and grow their skills, it is also a place where lasting friendships can be made, with many members describing the positive relationships they've established after attending sessions held by the Peel Multicultural Association.
"We are trying to introduce sessions about COVID-19 safety, apps and downloading vaccination certificates. Most of our clients have very limited English so it's hard for them to understand," Ms Pitts said, referring to the range of information sessions which will soon be available at the Hub.
Ma Cecile Haggerty, a member of the Peel Multicultural Association, said the new Hub enabled her to work and connect with overseas family.
"It is really important for us, because we do our work here sometimes. I don't have a laptop at home, it's too difficult to use the library, so I prefer to come here. I'm also connected to the Filipino community," Ms Haggerty said, referring to some of the friends she has made.
Nadira Serattee, another association member, added, "It's great because the community are together and we can exchange our thoughts through the computer."
Dawesville MP Lisa Munday was also in attendance to celebrate the launch.
"Myself and [Mandurah MP] David Templeman are very excited to see the Digital Hub launched. On behalf of the state government we made a joint commitment of $10,000 to provide the laptop computers to assist the Peel Multicultural Association to build a Digital Hub. This will help people from the CaLD community have access to the internet, which is so important these days, with so much of what we do and how we interact with the world now online."
The Peel Multicultural Association is a non-profit organisation and relies on community and government support to deliver important programs and projects for Mandurah.
"Most of our people, the community people, they are lacking digital mentoring or learning. So, we ask them if they can donate to us to have our own digital hub. We're still looking for more funding, because we are non profit. We just wanted to do something that is best for our community," Ms Pitts said.
The association is always on the lookout for volunteers to help with its Digital Hub. Qualified or experienced volunteers, along with anyone willing to donate time, are encouraged to reach out. Training is provided.
To become a member, donate or volunteer for the Peel Multicultural Association, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0428888575.
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