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Mirrabooka Community Markets a celebration of multiculturalism

3 December 2019

One of Australia’s most multicultural suburbs will celebrate its diversity with a unique, grass roots market showcasing authentic food, arts and crafts and uplifting entertainment from around the world.

More than simply another Perth market, the Mirrabooka Community Markets represent an opportunity for local residents to learn new skills, establish a small business and create a sense of community.

The Markets will also provide local families, and the wider Perth community, an evening activity that brings the community together during the warm summer nights to celebrate and share.

The inaugural Mirrabooka Community Markets will be held from 4pm to 9pm on December 12, and next year on January 9, February 13 and March 19 at The Square Mirrabooka.

The Markets are led by MercyCare in partnership with The City of Stirling and The Square Mirrabooka, and Federally-funded by a Fostering Integration Grant.

“The markets celebrate one of the most multicultural communities in Australia, encouraging tolerance, understanding and enjoyment of over 50 different cultures and nationalities that call Mirrabooka and the surrounding suburbs home,” Multicultural Services Manager Teri O’Toole said.

“The Markets are about building community in Mirrabooka, but also developing a sense of community between the stallholders too. It’s about being able to say: ‘this is what Mirrabooka means to me and I feel proud of my local area’.”

The Square Mirrabooka Centre Manager Allana Edwards said the markets would help strengthen the thriving community.

“We’re excited to have partnered with MercyCare and the City of Stirling to bring these one-of-a-kind markets to life and strengthening Mirrabooka’s multicultural community. The Mirrabooka Community Markets are a great opportunity for local community members to learn the working of a business in Australia,” Allana said.

Along with the Step by Step Settlement Service and No Interest Loans services MercyCare offers from its Mirrabooka Office, the Markets are a perfect complement to its CaLD specialist Jobs and Skills Centre.

“This is another avenue for new migrants and refugees to get into sustainable employment. Many refugees and migrants had home industries or a business back at home, but with English as a barrier or their qualifications not being recognised in Australia when they first arrive, opening a business can be vital to providing them with an income,” Ms O’Toole said.

Stallholders have been given training on how to market and sell their products; food handling; stall management and sustainability; as well as learning lessons from the organisers of other Perth markets.

“Learning these skills means it is also a launch pad for stallholders to engage in other markets. We’ve already had management from other markets interested in picking some of the Mirrabooka Community Market stallholders up, and we haven’t held our first market yet!” Ms O’Toole said.

The Markets have received tremendous community support with strong attendance and energy from a local Community Reference Group who has been meeting regularly to ensure the markets are community-led and represent the people and cultures living in the local area.

More than 18 countries across four continents will be represented at the December markets.

Mouth-watering food stalls will be offering Bosnian baklava soaked in sugar syrup, Persian ice cream, delicious pastries stuffed with spiced meat from Somalia, curry from the heart of Afghanistan, Sri Lankan chicken biryani, Macedonian cakes and the much loved Jollof Rice from West Africa.

Unique crafts on offer include paintings, cards, clothing, beauty, jewellery, and knitted tableware.

Entertainment for the December debut market includes Catch Music with its inclusive performances for people of all ages and abilities; interactive children’s dance with Ready Set Dance, poetry from Josephine Zimama; and traditional Afghan entertainment from Afghan Young Leaders.

The stalls will be situated in the Sudbury Road carpark of The Square Mirrabooka.

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