SILA would like to invite you to participate in its latest project. The Flourishing Communities Project is a new initiative for SILA, emerging from research into diaspora communities in the greater Melbourne area which was undertaken in 2021–2022.
Diaspora communities are often suffering from trauma, separated from family and homeland, and they struggle to find ways to provide for themselves. Life is hard, and there are very few friends and good neighbours on the journey. Language development and literacy promotion mean greater access to resources for healing, employment, education, and relationship formation, as well as helping with English proficiency.
When we meet with communities our goal is to develop good relationships. We want to understand the hopes and challenges of each community. One question that we have heard over and over again from communities is: how can we preserve our identity, language and culture?
In September–October 2022, SILA hosted the Language and Identity Journey training and Phase 1 workshop, which equipped a number of SILA staff to become specialists able to come alongside a language community through the phases of the Journey as the community makes decisions about how they want to use their languages.
Current staff directly involved with the Flourishing Communities Project are Graham Scott and Jack Hibbard in Victoria, and Orrin Hurlbutt in Queensland. They are relating to five diaspora communities, coming alongside them as they evaluate their situation and plan for language development activities.
SIL Australia’s prayer is that we would be a good neighbour and friend to diaspora communities here in our context. We trust that God will use this project to inspire us by his love to walk with diaspora communities in our local context for his good purposes.