As part of CatholicCare’s Building Community Program, refugees and people from multicultural backgrounds can now access a new community garden in Pakenham. Late last year, the block was completely overgrown, but the fences have since been rebuilt and the planter boxes have been filled with soil.
Today at the official launch of the community garden, local volunteers and businesses gathered to celebrate the achievement.
"It was great to be joined by our supporters from Bunnings, school children, staff
and volunteers, and some of the refugees and migrants who will benefit from gardening and learning English in such a supportive environment," said Mark Tanti, CatholicCare Family Relationship Programs Manager."
St Patrick’s Primary
School in Pakenham and St Clare’s primary school in Officer are helping to
promote the project. Between both schools, there are approximately
850 students from many multicultural backgrounds.
Ross Jackson, a volunteer gardener and handyman who worked to establish the community garden and is responsible for general maintenance of the Pakenham property said “I’m hoping, as time goes by; we can do some carpentry work
with people to teach them how to construct simple things like boxes to plant
herbs for sale. We also need some saw stills, and if I show them how to use the
hand tools, we can make bench seats for the garden. It’s not only good for
their skill sets; it’s good for their self-esteem. They can say, “I made that”
and be proud of what they have built.”
As the rain came down, the local community was given a fabulous new place to welcome refugees and migrants; one that aims to build their sense of belonging. Nine per cent of people in Pakenham are recently arrived migrants or have come from multicultural communities, and the community garden will be a fabulous stepping stone to connect them with the local community.
View the Building Community Program