Connection Through Creativity
Intergenerational Art Project
"It's been thorougly enjoyable (and) the teacher was wonderful"
-One of our senior participants
Good Neighbours Australia continues to keep the community’s best interests at heart with our Intergenerational Art Project. Early this year, seniors and young adults from the multicultural community were brought together during weekly art classes to promote emotional wellbeing and build social cohesion. We are very grateful to the Strathfield Council for awarding us this grant so that we could carry out this activity.
Promoting the wellbeing of diverse communities
Many from the multicultural community do not have the support of friends or family at a time when they need them most. Some of these participants live by themselves or are vulnerable members of the community who need to feel like they belong. The project allowed participants to connect with others to help reduce loneliness.
Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic and its after effects has not affected all communities equally. Indicators suggest that there has been significant psychological and social stress felt within culturally or linguistically diverse communities,
An interactive environment to promote engagement
The project required young people from the age of 18-25 to be paired with the elderly. Once a week, over a month, each participant was paired up with a different person from class to work on completing an artwork.
Under the guidance of an art instructor, one participant created one half of the artwork while the person they were partnered with worked on the other. This enabled participants to exchange feedback and ideas, allowing them to open up and connect in an interactive environment.
The art classes also created opportunities for participants to learn from each other by sharing their own perspectives and experiences related to art themes as well as bond through conversation over coffee and tea during the breaks.
Deep conversations were made, breaking down barriers between generations and promoting a sense of community belonging. Strong intergenerational friendships were nurtured and formed as participants explored their creativity.
This project was essential at a time when the pandemic left many socially isolated and struggling with conditions such as depression or other stresses on mental health.
Connecting through creativity in Strathfield
Altogether, 30 participants attended each of these sessions that helped build mutual trust. Participants from the elderly community especially left with a feeling that their contributions were valued, enabling them to rebuild their confidence at a time when they may be most vulnerable.
The overall results were overwhelmingly positive and supports our long term initiatives towards community development. Indeed, studies show that creativity is helpful in reducing stress and decreasing anxiety with healthy connections vital in creating a sense of belonging and boosting wellbeing levels.
Helping communities find meaning and purpose
Along with loneliness and social isolation, the impact of COVID-19 has left many suffering from poor self-esteem and struggling with finding a sense of purpose and meaning. It is important for such community members to feel connected to society through collaborative activities that will help them bond with others.
This project was able to help participants improve their confidence through finished artworks they created with the person they were partnered with. It provided participants with a sense of fulfilment from overcoming obstacles while collaborating with others.
To build stronger, much healthier communities
The Intergenerational Art Program was essential in providing a sense of connection - creating relationships that may turn into friendships. Age barriers were broken down and participants were able to find commonalities despite generational differences.
We hope to continue this project on a larger scale for the community. The positive feedback received from participants provides us with even more of an incentive to continue the program within the Greater Sydney Area to help build social cohesion.
The sense of belonging promoted within this project will help multicultural participants engage positively and contribute to society. In turn, this strengthens the social fabric and wellbeing of communities - aligning with our long-term goal of providing sustainable solutions for vulnerable people across the globe.
This year we had the privilege of working alongside the Australian Burma Community Development Network (ABCDN) to deliver hampers with essential items to the Sydney Myanmar Community.
A New Water SOurce In Mozambique
In partnership with Good Neighbours Mozambique, our 2021 WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) project successfully installed one borehole and water pump in one school to aid in the well-being and health of the children.