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Rosemary's Way

November 4, 2022

Rosemary’s Way is a celebration of life, women’s lives, migrant women’s lives. Helping new arrivals from far away Africa to escape loneliness, language barriers and in some cases domestic violence. Without Rosemary Kariuki’s warm kindness these women would be isolated and having a very difficult time adapting to their new life in Australia.

Bay and Basin Amnesty are excited to present the film Rosemary’s Way as part of the 16 Days of action for Elimination of Violence Against Women.

Rosemary Kariuki is the multicultural community liaison officer for the Parramatta Police. She specialises in helping migrants who are facing domestic violence, language barriers and financial distress.

Fleeing Kenya alone in 1999 to escape family abuse and tribal clashes, her early years in Australia were terribly lonely. Her experience helped Rosemary recognise that isolation is a huge issue for many migrant women. Many aren’t used to going out alone, have no transport and speak little or no English. So, Rosemary devised ways to help women leave their house and meet women in similar circumstances.

In partnership with the African Women’s Group, she helped start the African Women’s Dinner Dance. Now in its 14th year, more than 400 women attend the annual event. She also started the African Village Market – a program to help migrants and refugees start their own businesses – which ran for four years.

Rosemary’s warmth, courage and kindness inspire all who meet her.

The Cultural Exchange program was started by Rosemary in 2008, and she has been doing it on her own initiative with very few resources for more than 13 years. Rosemary’s Cultural Exchange program takes isolated women with a migrant experience who have often never been out of their local suburb, into rural areas where they are hosted by local Australian families for a few days to experience Australian life and culture. 

Rosemary Kariuki's Cultural Exchange program takes isolated women with a migrant experience who have often never been out of their local suburb, into rural areas where they are hosted by local Australian families for a few days to experience Australian life and culture.
Rosemary’s Cultural Exchange program takes isolated women with a migrant experience who have often never been out of their local suburb, into rural areas where they are hosted by local Australian families for a few days to experience Australian life and culture. Photo credit: RosemarysWayFilm/Facebook

The aim of this program is also to increase the understanding of the general Australian population about people with a migrant and refugee experience, to understand their stories and cultures. The name Cultural Exchange is a two-way exchange and sharing of cultures. Rosemary does this important work outside of her full-time position with the NSW Police and she would like to continue running the program, but she needs financial assistance to keep going.

Rosemary’s Way celebrates this remarkable woman and the group of vulnerable migrant women of suburban Sydney whose lives she helps transform from isolation to connection. Rosemary is our vibrant host over the course of a year, as we witness her reaching out to isolated migrant women from cultures as diverse as Iraq, the Congo and Peru.

Rosemary is our ebullient facilitator; but the key characters are the migrant women who are drawn into her wake, and the Anglo women who agree to host them in their communities. We are moved and inspired by the stories of the women as Rosemary coaxes them to participate in new adventures and share insights into other cultures formerly outside of their experience.

We join in the women’s wonder at the beauty of the Australian bush, where they gather under the trees to be Welcomed to Country by an Indigenous elder. And we witness their gradual transformation, as they find their voices and confidence in this new country that is now their home.

The screening at Huskisson Cinema is on the 24th November with tickets required to be purchased by the 14th November to ensure the screening goes ahead.

Drinks, nibbles, and a conversation about our plans to be a part of the cultural exchange program starts at 5.30pm with the screening commencing at 6.30pm. Tickets can be purchased here.

Feature image: Rosemary's Way flyer for screening at Huskisson Cinema organised by Amnesty International Australia - Bay and Basin Local Group/Facebook

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