Our Story
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Our Story

In 1976, seven ethnic organisations (the Greek Orthodox Community of NSW; Australian Turkish Child Care Co-op Society of NSW; St Francis Pre-School Kindergarten; Macedonian Orthodox Community of Rockdale; Luso-Australian Association; Hungarian House Co-op; and Sorella Radio Child Care) came together with a common purpose to build and operate Long Day Care Centres in Sydney.

The first of these ethnic based child care centres in Australia, was the establishment of the Greek Orthodox Community of NSW Child Care Centre in 1979. Whilst it came under the auspices of the Greek Orthodox Community, it was and still is a service for every child, irrespective of their cultural or linguistic background. Lots of learnings came from the establishment of this first service that were shared amongst the collective and prompted to establishment of many other ethnic based child care centres, auspiced by a larger ethno specific organisation. That was the business model that seemed to fit the environment of the time.

It became obvious that in order to build and operate child care services there was a need for an organisation to support these multicultural child care services in NSW.

Ethnic Community Services Co-operative (ECSC) or what was then called Ethnic Child Care Development Unit was registered as a Non-Trading Non-Share Co-operative under the Co-operatives Act 1992 (NSW) in 1979. The Board and members included representatives of the original seven organisations and other ethnic communities. The key activities of support included: researching the child care needs of ethnic communities; providing information and advice to ethnic families including newly arrived immigrants about accessing child care services; advocating to government on the needs of ethnic children and their families; sourcing capital or supporting ethnic communities’ source capital funds for the establishment of child care centres.

It was a fast learning curve for all involved and we came to understand that there was much more to do with respect to access and equity for ethnic communities, beyond child care.

Of course we weren’t the only registered organisation around that recognised these needs. We knew then as we still know now that we need to collaborate with other like-minded people and organisations to truly make the difference that is required to balance the disadvantages suffered by many culturally and linguistically diverse communities attempting to live a full life in Australia.

A lot has happened and changed in our organisation since 1976.

We have increased the number of issues to many other access and equity, social justice, human rights and social inclusion issues affecting CALD and other disadvantaged communities. Unfortunately however the issues only fade for a while, they do not often disappear. We have got bigger in size largely as a response to demand and we are honoured to be one of the leaders in NSW advocating for the needs of CALD communities, especially older CALD persons, CALD persons with disability and CALD children (0-12 years) requiring support to access and receive services, especially Children’s Services.

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