1) What is your Story?
Hi, my name is Jioji Ravulo, and I'm a Senior Lecturer in Social Work at Western Sydney University. I was born and raised in Sydney, residing most of my life in south west Sydney. My father is Fijian, and my mother is Australian. Growing up in a family with two different ethnic cultures was both challenging and rewarding - providing me with different ways to see the world around me, and learning different perspectives on being Australian. After finishing High School, I completed my first degree in Social Work, helping me to develop the skills needed to professionally assist individuals, families and communities. My first full time job was working with young offenders, helping them get back into the swing of life after spending time in custody. From this experience, I realised I wanted to learn more about creating effecting programs, so I went on to complete my Masters in Education. This grew my passion to assist young people to see education as a possible pathway to succeed, regardless of their ethnicity or social background. This led me to complete my third degree, a Doctorate in Cultural Research, where I really saw the importance of celebrating cultural diversity in Australia, and beyond.
2) Can you talk about what your project/initiative is about?
In 2012, Pasifika Achievement To Higher Education (PATHE) was created, striving to develop vocational and career aspirations in Pacific communities. Our aim is to promote the idea that further education and training beyond high school can provide positive pathways into long term employment that people will enjoy. The PATHE program provides in-school workshops across Primary & High Schools in Greater Western Sydney, and works closely with parents and community groups to support Pasifika achievement in education. We are seeing positive outcomes from this program, including an increase in Pacific people enrolling and completing University studies, and creating realistic pathways for people to obtain vocational goals.
3) What does Multicultural mean to you?
Being a multicultural society provides Australia with an opportunity to EMBRACE the richness that comes from cultural diversity. As we become global citizens in a world saturated with information via social media and other forms of technology, it is important that we can CELEBRATE cultural differences as something that is positive; rather than barriers that deter inclusive communities. I am excited about the possibilities to learn new ways of thinking, knowing and doing from people from diverse ethnic backgrounds, and look forward to seeing more innovative and proactive approaches established by entities like Multicultural NSW, and the wider community.