Craft promotes culture and friendship

Rania Abdelwahed moved to Australia for a better life for her three children.

When she arrived from Egypt two years ago, she didn't know a single person in Parramatta and her only relatives were distant cousins.

It wasn't until she joined a jewellery making course led by Parramatta artist Mary Tamras, that her chance of making friends in a new country could become reality.

"It made me feel optimistic," Mrs Abdelwahed said.

More than 40 women from many cultures, who have children at either Parramatta North or Parramatta West Public Schools, participated in the program.

Relationships Australia west region manager David Sokol, who partnered with Ms Tamras on the program, said the course aimed to help the women forge new friendships within the school community.

"Part of the problem that we are finding is that a lot of these women have a sense of social isolation and we haven't made a lot of contact," Mr Sokol said. "The principals have cited the same thing and noticed the mothers would come to the school and would drop off their kids and there was no contact with the school either."

Ms Tamras said she wanted the women to learn a skill.

The women will exhibit their designs at an exhibition, Linking Culture Through Jewellery Creation, this Friday, at 6pm, at Parramatta Leagues Club.

■ Details: 13-15 O'Connell Street, Parramatta.

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