Harmony Week 2017 has just wrapped up.
The week, pin-pointed by Harmony Day on March 21, aims to “promote unity, understanding and respect for all individuals”.
It is a celebration of all the different cultures that make Australia – and Tasmania – the vibrant society that it is today.
The week culminated in Launceston on Saturday with a community event in the city’s Prince’s Square.
Members from all sectors of the community turned out on a (slightly cloudy) Launceston day to enjoy the festivities, and show their support for the week’s ethos: everyone belongs.
Over the past week, The Examiner has reached out to representatives of the different cultural communities in Northern Tasmania.
They shared their stories, and what Harmony Week meant to them.
Congolese refugee Pierre Bula Butupu told us of the horrors he left behind in Congo.
Before he arrived in Australia in 2010, he spent 18 years in a Zimbabwean refugee camp.
“There are so many great things about this country such as its safety and opportunities, despite some individuals who are still sticking with discrimination and racism,” Mr Bula Butupu said.
“We should focus on the positives rather than the negatives between us. It’s what you think on the inside that is important.”
Bhutanese man Mohan Hangkhim spent 20 years as a refugee in Nepal before his family came to Tasmania.
He has been in Launceston since 2012, and runs two taxis. Mr Hangkhim said he’s thankful for the local community, service providers, and people.
President of the Sudanese Community Launceston Juma Piri Piri has been a part of the Tasmanian fabric for more than 10 years.
Through charity work, he still looks to help his home country of South Sudan, especially its children.
But, he said, his big passion was to “contribute positively to my newer home country”.
“… to make Australia a great place for every citizen, regardless of your ethnicity, political views or religious ideology,” Mr Piri Piri said.
These attributes are invaluable to our society. Thank-you for being a part of Launceston.