AMES Australia has celebrated 70 years of work supporting migrants and refugees to settle in Australia.
More than a hundred staff, volunteers, stakeholders and supporters attended a gala dinner, held at the Immigration Museum, to mark the occasion.
Keynote speaker the Victoria Minister for Skills and Training and Higher Education Gayle Tierney spoke of AMES ‘vital work’ in supporting the creation of Australia’s multicultural society.
AMES Chair Start Crosby told the gathering how “over the years AMES Australia has quietly become part of the fabric of Victoria and Australia”.
“So many migrant families in Victoria have found stories about the support they received from AMES,” Mr Crosby said.
“The professionalism and dedication of our staff, volunteers and partners, has been critical to our work, and I want to thank everyone who has contributed over seventy years.” Mr Crosby said.
From humble beginnings teaching English to new arrivals in makeshift Nissen Huts at Bonegilla, AMES Australia has grown into one of Australia’s leading settlement agencies, delivering services to more than 30,000 clients and touching the lives of more than 250,000 people from multicultural communities each year.
Formally established in 1951, the organisation’s original mission of teaching English to new migrants has grown to include humanitarian settlement, employment services and community development programs. The first AMES services were delivered this week in 1952
AMES Australia was an integral part of the birth of multiculturalism, a term that was new in the 1970s but which now is accepted as an accurate description of the cultural and ethnic diversity of contemporary Australia.
The organisation’s programs are aimed at fostering a sense of belonging among our clients and they recognise that social and economic participation are key ingredients in maintaining social cohesion.