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What is Harmony Day?

Harmony Week is celebrated from 15 March and culminates in Harmony Day on Saturday 21 March. It’s a chance to celebrate Australian multiculturalism and the many different faces, people and cultures that make up our country. 

This Harmony Day, Cancer Council SA CALD Project Officer Shahla Rostami shares a bit about her role and what Cancer Council SA is doing to support people from all cultures to achieve a cancer free future.

What is Harmony Day?

Harmony day is celebrated on Saturday 21 March. It began in 1999, coinciding with the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. Every year it is marked by people coming together and participating in local and cultural activities that unite communities and celebrate the many different cultures that make up Australia. The theme for Harmony Day this year is ‘Everyone Belongs,’ which celebrates inclusiveness, respect and a sense of belonging for everyone.

Why is Harmony Day important to Cancer Council SA? 

Cancer Council SA celebrates Harmony Day to embrace diversity in our workplace and in our community.  The idea ‘Everyone Belongs’ is the very essence of Harmony Day and at Cancer Council SA we are proud of our inclusive services and resources for all community members, regardless of their cultural background. Our Harmony Day celebration is not just a time to celebrate, but it is an opportunity to embrace diversity and reflect on our skills and knowledge to continue to improve the way we deliver information and services to our ever-changing diverse community.

What are the challenges/barriers facing individuals from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) communities who have been diagnosed with cancer?  

Receiving a cancer diagnosis can be a challenging time for anyone. For someone with a CALD background, there may be added pressures, including lack of culturally sensitive information, trouble understanding their diagnosis, especially if English is not their first language, and hesitation to disclose private information.

The theme for Harmony Day is “Everyone Belongs” – what does that mean to you in your role at Cancer Council SA? 

At Cancer Council SA, we aim to foster positive relationships with communities to overcome known barriers to accessing services and create trust among new and emerging communities across South Australia.

We respect and acknowledge diversity, but most importantly, we want to ensure that everyone can access and utilise our services and resources with confidence, regardless of the existing barriers.

What message do you have to people in CALD Communities going through a cancer diagnosis?

Cancer doesn’t discriminate and as a community organisation we are here to support all members of the South Australian community impacted by a cancer diagnosis. If you or someone you know is going through cancer and you would like more information, we are here to help.

Our trained cancer nurses are familiar with using telephone interpreters and can answer your questions or queries about cancer diagnosis and treatment and refer you to the appropriate services. Give them a call on 13 11 20 and they would be happy to assist.

Our message to anyone going through cancer, regardless of their background, is that we’re here to help. 

For more information on Cancer Council’s programs and services call Cancer Council 13 11 20.