Hola! Annyeong! Moi! Halo dalam Bahasa! Konnichiwa! Salut!
Gold Coast volunteers are connecting with older Queenslanders from non-English speaking backgrounds, making weekly social calls for a chat.
I Speak Your Language is delivered by Multicultural Communities Council Gold Coast in partnership with the Australian Red Cross, extending the Red Cross’s popular Telechat service to 12 languages other than English.
“The language barrier can be a major factor contributing to social isolation,” said Multicultural Communities Council community development officer Maria Daix.
The statewide I Speak Your Language service has operated for just over 12 months.
Four out of five phone call recipients are aged over 65, with greatest demand from people whose first language is Japanese, Spanish or Italian.
Ms Daix said the service was available to any older Queenslander, whether living independently or in care.
“As people age, it can be easier to speak in the native language, even more so for people with dementia. It is comforting to hear the language of your birth.”
While languages spoken depends on volunteers, the program currently has callers who speak Spanish, Italian, Thai, Indonesian, Korean, Russian, Mandarin, Japanese, French, Persian, Finnish and Arabic
If a family member living in Queensland could benefit from a free weekly phone call in a language other than English, contact the I Speak Your Language program on 5527-8011.
For information on becoming a volunteer for the program, click HERE