bankstown Archives - The Westies

Eden Dessalegn – Eden Stylz

braiding

Born in Ethiopia, Eden Dessalegn moved to Australia as a six year old. After many years of being uncertain of the path she wanted to take in life, Eden has created a business around the things she loves most – braiding hair and people.

The Westies chatted with Eden at her salon in Condell Park and, over a cup of tea, learnt how her path has been anything but straight and taking a step into the unknown has been equal parts scary and rewarding.  Continue Reading

Lesley Unsworth – Taste Cultural Food Tours

 

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Lesley Unsworth left her Northern England home for a holiday in Australia in 1981 and simply never returned home. After many years working in community building in Bonnyrigg – which she claims as her spiritual home, she now runs Taste Cultural Food Tours, one of the best ways to experience Western Sydney by discovering new suburbs through the most simple of life’s pleasures: food. Taste is no ordinary tour company – the guides pride themselves on their extensive local knowledge and connections with shop owners that will get to a behind the scenes look at some of Sydney’s most vibrant communities. Taste is not only a tour company, as a social enterprise they provide training for newly arrived Australians, refugees and youth, giving them a pathway into work in Australia . By providing them with a chance to build their confidence and skills in tour guiding, they learn skills that are transferable to many parts of their lives. I sat down with Lesley over a (few) plate(s) of food to chat about how she became involved in Taste and her affinity for Western Sydney.  Continue Reading

Stories of Strength – Abdullah Sankari

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The Westies love a good story and believe that it is our individual story that makes us human – each of us have one that is as unique as our finger print. It is in sharing the story that we come to empathise with each other and start to see that the commonalities are far greater than our differences.

‘Stories of Strength’ is a project run by Bankstown Youth Development Services, which is about showcasing local Bankstown stories, focusing on experiences of strength and resilience. These stories are generated through a series of interviews conducted by local young people, who interview selected community members. Through inter-generational sharing of cross-cultural stories, the project aims to highlight the strength that individual experiences bring to create a strong and resilient community.

We had the pleasure of meeting a wise young man named Abdullah Sankari who interviewed Ilona Abou Zalouf, his best friend’s Grandmother who grew up in Germany during the Cold War for the ‘Stories of Strength’ project. We chatted about his experience with the project and what he learnt about strength and the power of sharing stories. Continue Reading

Bankstown Poetry Slam – Sara Mansour

Poetry Slam

A visit to Bankstown Poetry Slam had been on the radar for quite some time, last month I finally made it there. It was my first experience of watching people perform poetry and I very quickly figured out why it’s called a slam. The words being spat out by the brave performers hit you with force and an energy that embeds them deep in your conscience. Poems about lost grandparents, lives yet to be lived, isolation, love – topics so common no one in the room would struggle to understand them, yet the room was full of people who were less then common. It was a room full of diversity, every age group was represented, the gender split was even. There were hijabs and hair braids, beards and bare skin. It was a united nations of people whose common goal was expression. There was no bar, no drinks were served yet the energy was intoxicating. It was thick with joy, with acceptance and support. I left the place on a total high waiting for my next hit.

Before the night started I managed to catch the beautiful Sara Mansour, one of the co-founders of Bankstown Poetry Slam for a quick chat about how BPS came to be and the unexpected rewards it has brought.     Continue Reading