A GEELONG community services organisation has received a sizeable donation from a young local artist who has sold over 40 of her artworks in the last fortnight.
Twenty-two-year-old Kate Welsh authorised for 85 per cent of profits to be sent to Diversitat — also known as the Geelong Ethnic Communities Council — in the hope of raising awareness about refugees and asylum seekers amongst youths in the community.
Diversitat fundraising manger Raechel Gleeson said the opportunity to connect with young people through Miss Welsh’s contribution has been invaluable to the growth of the organisation.
“It’s absolutely wonderful for us to be connecting with the younger generations of people who are looking at different ways of lending a helping hand, whether that’s through volunteering or philanthropic support,” she said.
“We always have a need for volunteers and donations in different areas because we are working with people who are highly vulnerable.”
Miss Gleeson also noted the increasing number of youths wanting to volunteer with Diversitat has been overwhelming, particularly for young refugees in need of peer support.
“To have a young person be available to connect with another person of a similar age who comes from disadvantaged circumstances makes a big difference,” she said.
“It increases their ability to connect on a mutual level.”
Though Diversitat has been in operation for over 40 years, Miss Gleeson said that many are unaware of the breadth of services the organisation provides for Geelong’s multicultural community.
Having recently expanded their facilities to Colac, Diversitat works with 40 ethnic groups in Geelong alone, providing ongoing support to eligible asylum seekers who can no longer access services through the Department of Social Services’ Humanitarian Settlement Program.
“The programs that we offer through Diversitat are very much around embracing diversity and building inclusion,” Miss Gleeson said.
“We need to give them [refugees] support so they can become part of our community because that’s what they’re here for and they want to give back.”
Miss Welsh has been tutoring English to young refugees for five years and feels strongly about using her artistry as a platform to ignite a strong social message.
“I’m all about breaking down prejudice, racism … essentially anything that removes barriers,” she said.
“Diversitat doesn’t discriminate, and I feel like that’s what we need in Geelong because we are so culturally diverse.”
“Diversitat provide so many services but they need a lot of funding to gather their resources … that’s why I’ve chosen to donate my profits to them.”