The City of Marion is located 10 km south of Adelaide in South Australia. It has a population of approximately 88,618 people and is showing healthy growth. This is due in part to overseas migration which welcomes newcomers from countries such as the United Kingdom, India, China, the Philippines, the eastern countries of Africa and many others. Over 30% of people living in the City of Marion were born overseas, and 19.4% speak a language other than English at home.
On 26 August 2003, the City of Marion Council became a Refugee Welcome Zone (RWZ) and this commitment is enshrined in their community vision of a place where cultural diversity is celebrated. These themes have been implemented in many of their cultural programs in support of refugees and culturally diverse communities.The City of Marion supports and works in partnership with culturally diverse and aboriginal people through community cultural development projects, programs and events.
It has also been active in promoting their RWZ commitment to enhancing cultural and religious diversity by organising a number of key events reflecting and celebrating this diversity.
Annual events supported by the City of Marion include Harmony Day in March. The Living in Harmony initiative, designed to challenge all Australians to take a stand against racism, prejudice and intolerance, is about practising justice, equality, fairness and developing friendship.
City of Marion collaborated with ‘Local Government Reference Group’, six other councils and the ARA to produce a Community Connections guide for refugees and new arrivals to assist those that are unfamiliar with written English to understand the role Council plays and the services that they provide.
The City of Marion supports the Australian Refugee Association’s Scholarship Program.
The Marion Celebrates Festival is a large community festival with the theme Many Cultures, One Earth attracting approximately 7000 people. The festival gives emerging and culturally diverse communities the opportunity to showcase their culture, identity and talents through projects, performances and market stalls.Each year Marion’s Neighbourhood Centres participate in a Refugee Week event involving morning teas, information sessions and small scale celebrations.
Neighbourhood Centres collaborate with the Baptist Care Fuse program. The Fuse Mentoring Program provides opportunities for volunteer mentors to build friendships with people from refugee backgrounds (‘mentees’) who are settling into Adelaide.
Welcome to Australia runs a Christmas in Australia event every year at Cooinda Neighbourhood Centre to welcome new arrivals.
Lutheran Community Care ran a monthly event for the New Neighbours Settlement Support Project based at Cooinda Neighbourhood Centre.
Programs at Neighbourhood Centres include ongoing English Language classes and Adult Community Education programs.
Marion Libraries offer a range of opportunities to maintain cultural heritage or to learn about other languages and cultures. Books for adults and children, audio visual resources or magazines in nearly 50 languages are available for loan from the South Australian public library network.
Community Grants are available to support non-profit groups to develop new projects benefiting the community.