Representatives of Victoria’s South Sudanese communities and the Greek Orthodox Community of Melbourne, Victoria, (GOCMV), met for the third time last night at the Greek Centre, Lonsdale Street, Melbourne, to plan the way forward in an historic partnership that began in late 2018.

In late 2018, the Greek Community offered its support to the South Sudanese in developing the key pillars of language, faith and cultural maintenance.

Mr Deng Kur said, “We want Greek Community language schools model because it is concrete, it works, and we will adapt it to our needs.

“We can advocate for ourselves. We don’t need more advocacy. We can see what successful communities like the Greek Community is doing especially in language maintenance.”

Pastor Tut Yoa said, “At the heart of every community is faith, language, and tradition.”

Pastor Yoa and Mr Kur both stressed the “great need” to establish schools in areas that will service Noble Park and Cranbourne. They want to develop schools that can offer Dinka, Nuer and Sudanese Arabic from primary school to Year 12.

GOCMV Vice President Theo Markos said that it was right that more established larger communities like the Greek provide advice and mentoring to smaller emerging communities.

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“While circumstances change, we share experiences of migration and settlement, as well as the effects of racism, isolation, family breakdown, gambling and more, only in the Greek Community’s case it as in the 50s, 60s and 70s.”

GOCMV Board member, Mr Nick Dallas and the Principal of Language and Culture Schools, Mr Manos Tzimpragos, emphasised the importance of developing educational materials that suited local South Sudanese Australian students.

Mr Kur and Pastor Tut expressed confidence in coordinating and developing curriculum and materials.

Pastor Tut added, “What we can’t do we will work with the Greek community to develop everything in the right way.”

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The two communities will seek a meeting with the new Chair of the Victorian Multicultural Commission, Ms Vivienne Nguyen, to present their vision, seek advice and support.