Tamar Valley Peace Festival holds Global Village event

West Launceston Primary School was a melting pot of different cultures over the weekend.

The Tamar Valley Peace Festival’s Global Village event included a number of different cultural traditions on display over both days through various activities, workshops and stalls. 

Nationalities represented at the mini-village included South Sudanese, Afghani, Bhutanese-Nepalese and Egyptian.

Three Afghani women were offering to paint people’s hands and arms in traditional henna patterns at one stall.

Zeinab Ramezani, Hadis Ashouri and Mina Ramezani.

Zeinab Ramezani, Hadis Ashouri and Mina Ramezani.

“We usually put henna on our hands on special festivals and every time we have something special, like a wedding, or when we have our new year,” henna artist Hadis Ashouri said.

Ms Ashouri immigrated to Australia with her family five years ago and is a student at Launceston College. 

“I quite like the country, because it’s safe and we get a better quality of life and I like the people – they’re nice,” she said.

“I want to be a lawyer, because I want to help people in the future.”

One workshop on offer to the hundreds of people who came through the village was a traditional Bhutanese craft activity, with a modern twist. 

Members of Launceston’s Bhutanese-Nepalese community ran a basket weaving workshop, using discarded plastic bags as the main material. 

Rina Baalisampang, her mother Bhadrii Kempacha and her grandmother Som Mayara lead the workshop.

“It is a traditional practice – we used to make them out of corn leaves, betel leaves or coconut leaves,” Ms Baalisampang said. 

“You can even make them out of banana leaves, but they would be used for weddings.

“My grandmother can make them in three or four days, but my mum will take about a week because she doesn’t do it all day long.”

Event organiser Robin Flittner said the event was a way for the festival to connect with Launceston’s different nationalities.

“[The Global Village] is about people coming together with an idea of, ‘how do we actually celebrate the diversity that we have here in the context of peace’,” she said.

“How do we demonstrate we’re a community that has respect for each other and respect for our environment?”

Ms Flittner is a part of the Women’s Friendship Group, which supports Afghani women who have immigrated to Launceston. 

As a city, it’s big enough to have a whole range of people, but we’re small enough to also value community.

Event organiser Robin Flittner

She paid tribute to the Launceston community at the event.

“Launceston is an incredible community,” she said.

“As a city, it’s big enough to have a whole range of people, but we’re small enough to also value community.

“It’s a community that cares and there are a lot of people volunteering their time to help other people.”