LENSA Dinka and MaramaKufi greet listeners in the African language Oromo on 3ZZZ radio every second Sunday when they discuss health issues.
The Noble Park couple, who fled the war-torn Oromia region on the Horn of Africa and came to Australia through the resettlement program, have teamed up with Southern Health to help bridge the culture gap between Oromia and its people’s new home, Australia.
The health workers, who had to learn English quickly in order to find work, are keen to get the radio show up and running.
MrKufi said the health show was not only a community project, but it had already “connected” the Oromia people with government department heads.
“It is a source of information; it’s easy for hard copies of health tips to get lost in distribution. Now we’re bringing information to the people in the old language.”
Ms Dinka, a division one nurse and community worker, said they wanted to connect the community – an estimated 8000 people living in Casey and Dandenong – with health experts.
“We want to reach those feeling isolated, but we want to break down barriers of taboo, such as mental health and disability among children.”
Health promotion practitioner at Southern Health, Cranbourne, RhondaGarad said the project was part of a partnership of Casey Cardinia Community Health Service, Monash University and the Adult Multicultural Education Services.
“We want to get people to access health care early so they can have early intervention for a problem.”
Radio waves: Rhonda Garad, left, and Lensa Dinka. Picture: Marco De Luca