By Marcus Uhe
The culinary talents of the Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) community’s youth in the South East will be on show on Saturday 28 May at the Selandra Community Hub at the COOK4CALD Support Market.
COOK4CALD is a non-for-profit youth-run volunteer organisation made up of university students, high school graduates and more, all aged 30 or younger, that prepares and delivers culturally diverse meals for Melbourne’s South East community.
The market is looking to connect and raise awareness of the support services available to the CALD community in a comfortable, family-friendly setting.
Volunteers will prepare and serve delicious butter chicken and daal meals with rice, as well as providing a halal-chicken sausage sizzle and snacks, all free of charge for those in attendance and all made from scratch.
Small business stalls will also be operating on the day.
For COOK4CALD President Ashvina De Zoysa, the event is many years in the making, having been the victim of multiple Covid-19 enforced cancellations over the last few years.
“I was hoping to hold in refugee week last year but it kept getting cancelled,“ Ms De Zoysa said.
“We want to the vibe to be like a market day, like at Queen Victoria Market, with food and fun activities.
“We want it to be a safe place for people who have questions, meet people, and understand more about their community.”
COOK4CALD was born out of necessity according to Ms De Zoysa, a former Narre Warren North resident and second generation Sri Lankan, who began evaluating what support was available for the CALD community as part of a university assignment during the pandemic.
“I was studying a degree of health sciences at Deakin. We had to choose a demographic in Melbourne and be able to demonstrate what support was there for that community and there was nothing there (for this community).
“Jobseeker and jobkeeper payments were not going to the CALD community. International students, asylum seekers, refugees all lost their jobs first when Covid-19 hit.
“I felt I had an obligation to do something with knowledge and tools that I had.”
She said ensuring that people know that support is available is the first step.
“If you don’t feel safe to be able to ask for support, you’re not going to be able to get it. The biggest barrier to accessing support is knowing that it is out there.
“COOK4CALD are there and they understand differences in culture and language. Having it out and available is vital.
“We want to make it a bit more normal to take it to friends, neighbours, and it will hopefully help the entire community.”
The Support Market will run from 11am to 3pm on Saturday 28 May the Selandra Community Hub in Clyde North.
Food and entry is free of charge but some activities will cost.
For more information on the event head to facebook.com/events/716208123160516/?ref=newsfeed or check the COOK4CALD website at cook4cald.org/