$2.2m to teach understanding

Prime Minister Scott Morrison (centre) with Amna Karra-Hassan (left) and Rabbi Zalman Kastel (right) at a Together for Humanity function last year.

THE federal government has committed $2.2 million to Together for Humanity to foster intercultural understanding in schools across Australia.

The interfaith organisation, co-founded in Sydney in 2002 by Rabbi Zalman Kastel, delivers programs to teachers and students focused on increasing understanding among young people. Its programs in Melbourne are delivered by the Jewish Christian Muslim Association.

The AJN understands the federal government funding is already allocated and not contingent on an election win.

“The Jewish community can be very pleased about the support from the government for Together for Humanity,” Rabbi Kastel told The AJN.

“This will enable our coalition of Christian, Muslim and Jewish interfaith educators to really advance the cause of intercultural understanding in schools. 

He added, “We are focused on ensuring that the dignity of all people is respected, and on fostering students’ feelings of connectedness and belonging together with their fellow Australians. 

“Our diverse teams, working cooperatively together as role models, can now deliver more programs to students, and support more teachers to achieve these aims.”

Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs David Coleman said the funding demonstrated the government’s commitment to supporting schools and communities.

“Together for Humanity has worked with more than 100,000 Australian students and teachers in primary and secondary schools across the nation, and I commend their work promoting interfaith and intercultural understanding,” he said.

“The work of Together for Humanity is vital to bringing Australians together. Their programs foster integration of students at risk of alienation, and ensures social divisions are minimised in schools.”

Minister for Families and Social Services Paul Fletcher said the government is committed to supporting students to prosper and grow. 

“The program delivered by Together for Humanity provides young people with important skills to develop their ideas about identity, community and service, as well as enabling them to resist extremist influences of whatever form they take,” he said.

Meanwhile, Labor has pledged $500,000 to improve security at the Jewish Community Centre of Western Australia, located in the Perth suburb of Yokine, should it win the election.

GARETH NARUNSKY