June 2024

The Australian Refugee Association to hold award-winning Souk: A cultural celebration and marketplace at Tonsley Innovation District

Amidst an array of stalls selling everything from artisan produce to unique handicrafts, attendees can enjoy live entertainment by cultural performers and sample a wide selection of street foods.

If you’re looking for a fantastic, diverse market that will bring some culture to your life, the Australian Refugee Association (ARA) is set to host its annual Souk at the Tonsley Innovation District, celebrating the rich contributions of refugees to our society.

This unique event, scheduled to coincide with Refugee Week, invites South Australians to engage with the diverse cultures refugees bring to our community.

ARA’s first Souk was held last year, making it the biggest event in the Association’s history. It drew over 3,500 attendees and featured 75 vibrant stalls. Its success was so remarkable that it was officially recognised and awarded the 2023 City of Marion Community Event of the Year.

With the overwhelmingly positive reaction to last year’s event comes high expectations for this year’s Souk, which will be held on June 29th.

The Souk offers a particularly powerful platform for refugee entrepreneurs, allowing them to engage directly with the public. Many of these business owners participate in ARA’s Micro Enterprise Initiative, which assists refugees in conceptualising and launching business ventures. The event not only enables them to showcase their products but also serves to introduce the broader community to their diverse cultural traditions.

ARA has a longstanding history of supporting refugees and migrants. Founded nearly five decades ago, ARA provides crucial assistance to over 4,000 individuals annually, helping them overcome barriers such as language difficulties, trauma, and unfamiliarity with local services.

These efforts are facilitated by a skilled bi-cultural team with extensive experience in delivering tailored programs, encompassing a broad range of services from health education to family reunification and financial counselling.

Those who have explored traditional Souks in the Middle East, Africa, and even parts of Asia will relive the exciting and enriching sensory experience that is unique to these markets.

A wide selection of local providers will gather, setting up stalls that sell everything from artisan produce to unique handicrafts and flavours from across many countries.

This will be a deeply immersive experience, incorporating all the sights, smells, tastes and sounds you’d expect from a Souk. While exploring, eating, drinking and chatting with vendors, live entertainment by cultural performers will weave its way into your ears and hearts.

If you fancy convincing your friends and family that you visited a Souk overseas, then jump into the Bespoke Photo Booth created by local Iraqi artist Nooralhuda Aziz.

Tonsley Innovation District has grown from strength to strength over recent years, providing ample space for large community events, such as the Souk, which will be positioned next to the Central Rainforest. The venue is weather-proof, so you need not worry about getting wet as you wander around the market, making it a comfortable and fun experience for the whole family.

ARA CEO Deb Stringer shared, “We are thrilled to bring the ARA Souka back and highlight the many cultures that make up modern Australia.”

“It is important to continue providing opportunities for enterprising former refugees to showcase their emerging businesses and share multicultural experiences for the wider community.”

All you need to know about The Souk 2024

What: The Souk 2024
Bookings: Register for a free ticket: Find Tickets
Where: Tonsley Innovation District 6 MAB Eastern Promenade Tonsley, SA 5042
When: 29 June, from 10am
For more information: Visit their Facebook Event page.
Learn more about ARA: Visit their website

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