The idea of moving to a new country and sharing your culture could be daunting for some.
But a Ballarat social group for women is helping ease the path and improve confidence in those who are culturally-diverse.
The Womens Health Grampians It Takes Courage project meets weekly, hosting women from refugee and migrant backgrounds for discussion and cooked meals from each of their respective countries.
Fourteen different cultures are represented, including participation from Indigenous Australian women.
The It Takes Courage recipe book will be released this year, filled with with treasured family recipes, artwork and life reflections.
Participant Joy Juma, who moved to Australia in 2004 from Kenya, said she now has a greater knowledge of other cultures, and was given the opportunity to share hers.
“It’s made me understand other people, particularly through their food,” she said.
“We all just say, ‘oh it’s their food, they eat that’, but it’s just not their food, it’s knowledge passed down through families.
“It’s a closed group, so we’re able to talk about things which are deep, and our lives.
“I chose to write a letter to my mother and grandmother for the cookbook, because they are both very strong characters.
“I draw courage and strength from them. My mother came from Tanzania to Kenya, that was brave of her when she didn’t have a language.”
Discussion each week also covers prevention of violence against women, equality and respectful relationships.
Women's Health Grampians intercultural engagement advisor Shiree Pilkinton said it was important for the women to be a voice in their communities.
“There’s no evidence to say a certain culture is more at risk or has higher numbers of perpetrators.
“The course is about building up their awareness and knowledge, so if they do in their cultural communities come across anyone that does need help, they know the pathways.”
Ms Juma said the she’d learnt a lot about violence, which she “didn’t know was so prevalent in Australia”.
“It was an eye opener for me,” she said.
“To know that it can be these people we trust, and they don’t have to be aligned to some gender or some tribe, people from everywhere can actually harm their partners and their families.”