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Cultural Historical Association of Rodriguans & Mauritians in Victoria Inc.

About C.H.A.R.M


Mission Statement

C.H.A.R.M Vic is an impartial non-political entity, members of the association work in harmony and unity to achieve the purpose of objectively promoting the Mauritian and Rodriguan rich cultural heritage to the broader community and to build and strengthen relationships at all levels.

The purposes of the Association are to:

  • Promote and advance the interests of the Mauritian/Rodriguan community in Victoria by researching and collating information relevant to their history of migration and settlement in Australia.

  • Coordinate and host events such as exhibitions to increase the community's awareness and to educate the broader community about the Mauritian/Rodriguan Culture.

  • Provide the Mauritian/Rodriguan community with a "voice" in Australia 's multicultural society so as to strengthen our sense of identity and place in society.

  • Represent and liaise on behalf of the Mauritian/Rodriguan community at all levels.

  • Unite and consolidate the ties amongst various groups, encourage social, cultural interaction within the community.

  • Cooperate with other clubs, businesses within the community to achieve common goals and objectives

  • To develop a strong support network to deal with social, economic, cultural issues faced by new migrants and students from Mauritius and Rodrigues.

  • Encourage the community's participation, support and involvement in all undertakings.

History of C.H.A.R.M Vic

The "Cultural Historical Association of Mauritians & Rodriguans in Victoria " is a community based, non-profit organisation, incorporated since 28 July 2003 (ABN No 98 909 416 198). The organisation is managed by volunteers who positively and harmoniously share their time and talent and have the community’s interest at heart.

Early in 2002, Mr. Richard Hammerton , approached the Chisholm Institute seeking the collaboration of students from a Mauritian background to carry out the initial research. As a result Sabrina Lapierre , who was studying for a Diploma of Community Services, pursued this initiative as part of her "Field Education Placement Community Development Project." Sabrina sought the assistance of fellow Mauritians & Rodriguans who have close links to the Mauritian/Rodriguan Community in Australia and a Reference group was formed to assist her with her tedious task. Sabrina completed her research and successfully submitted her report to Chisholm Institute.

The Reference Group decided to pursue with the project by hosting an exhibition and cultural event in March 2003, coinciding with the celebration of Mauritius National Day. The Golden Age Club, a Mauritian social group for the elderly, kindly offered the Menzies Hall in Dandenong as the venue to host this event; this was held over two days. The central theme of the exhibition: "History of the Migration and Settlement of the Mauritian and Rodriguan Community in Victoria ". Information compiled by Sabrina during her research was used together with further historical data, a collection of memorabilia, photos, artifacts, artworks, documents and other items that added value to the historical data collected.

This cultural event laid the foundations for our the community to pursue the long term goal of staging an exhibition at the Melbourne Immigration Museum - Melbourne, to showcase the patterns of migration and settlement of the Mauritians and Rodriguans since the 1880's. The emphasis has been on how active and involved we are in Australia today, and all undertakings aim at strengthening the ties within the community and building strong relationships with other community groups.

C.H.A.R.M was formed to oversee the various community projects, including the first ever community festival, La Faya Festival 2004, held at Federation Square, Melbourne from Friday 12 March 2004 to Sunday 14 March 2004 . This premiere event was a great success, close to 20,000 people visited the venue. Due to its popularity the festival was again held at Federation Square in April 2005, March 2008 and March 2010. Estimated visitation across the Square in 2010 was 32,432.

These events were financed with grants received from the Victorian Multicultural Commission and in 2010 with a grant from Melbourne City Council. Additional funds were raised through sponsorships, donations and raffles. All funds received were used to cover the various festival expenses, these included venue costs, Public Liability Insurance, hire of equipment, banners and more.

Other undertakings:

Beyond the Postcard Image Exhibition

At the end of October 2003, an application was lodged with the Immigration Museum for an exhibition to be held at the Community Access Gallery in 2005. Unfortunately C.H.A.R.M was not successful then. Only 4 community groups are granted access per year, therefore this was a very competitive game, nevertheless C.H.A.R.M was not deterred and made holding an exhibition at the Immigration Museum their long term goal. Another application was lodged in December 2004, this time it was successful and C.H.A.R.M was invited to hold an exhibition in the Community Access Gallery at the Museum from 1 November 2006 until 18 March 2007. La Faya Festival was again held, but this time at the Immigration Museum on 18 March 2007.

"Beyond the Postcard Image" highlighted Victoria’s small but vibrant Mauritian and Rodriguan community, through personal stories, objects, photographs and information panels. The exhibition explored the community’s diversity through language and food, as well as important cultural traditions such as music and dance.

Over the past few years, various activities were carried out to encourage and involve the community in the various projects. With the community’s ongoing support and contribution, what seemed impossible to achieve to some, was achieved although it had not always been smooth sailing. The perseverance, passion, dedication and teamwork of C.H.A.R.M Vic, their sponsors, volunteers and the community have paid off.

In a nutshell, through the various initiatives C.H.A.R.M achieved its objectives of:
• bringing together the Mauritians & Rodriguans in Victoria and other states
• preserving and showcasing a valuable part of history
• celebrating the multicultural diversity of Mauritius and Rodrigues and that of Victoria in harmony, successfully launching the "Celebrate Our Cultural Diversity Week" and Harmony Day in 2005
• providing the Mauritian and Rodriguan Community in Australia with a "voice" in our multicultural society
• strengthening the ties and building relationships with other communities
• encouraging the community's participation, support and involvement

The organisation has also successfully coordinated a mini festival at Castlemaine during the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games, this was proudly supported by the Mount Alexander Shire Council who adopted Mauritius during the Games and the Victorian Multicultural Commission. We also held a Farewell Cocktail party for the Mauritian athletes and delegates who attended the Games.

CHARM has also successfully hosted community workshops in leadership, volunteering, cultural awareness, Australia Day Celebrations in Cranbourne in 2010 and 2011 and community dances such as African Night 2009. These events promoted diversity and harmony, and inclusively engaged many individuals, community groups and local businesses.

International Students

C.H.A.R.M is also trying to connect with as many International students (from Mauritius and Rodrigues) as possible to help them “integrate” and settle better in their new environment. We feel it is important to encourage international students to build and strengthen their relationship with the local community and other students, thus building valuable friendships whilst also offering support to one another. We also encourage international students to share their existing skills, knowledge and abilities with other local community members and learn new ones thus increasing their confidence and enhancing their learning experience in Australia.

What next:

Through feedback received, the community is keen to have La Faya Festival held yearly. This can certainly happen but not without the community's full support and commitment. The reality is that such an event cannot be successfully coordinated without the ongoing support of volunteers and sponsors.

Funding is also another critical issue, C.H.A.R.M is already evaluating the various funding sources such as community grants, but one cannot solely rely on this as grant applications are so competitive today. Therefore in the coming months, C.H.A.R.M will organise various activities to raise funds required, for more information refer to our Events & Calendar.

We encourage you to seriously consider joining us as a volunteer , this can be uplifting and rewarding in so many ways! Find out more here!

We also encourage individuals and businesses to consider sponsoring our activities and events. Find out more here!