11 November 2022

Respect bus hits the streets of Wagga

| Chris Roe
Start the conversation
people and bus

The team from Respect Awareness Inc wants you to Stop … Think … Respect … when you see the bus. Photo: Chris Roe.

Wagga’s Ronda Lampe would like to see a little more respect in the local community.

In fact, she’s so passionate about improving the way people engage with each other that she has spent the past 25 years promoting the message.

“I called the public meeting in ’97 and had quite a lot of people there from council and police and people like that, and everyone agreed that ‘respect’ was something important that was sometimes missing,” she explained.

“I had thought we’d just have a meeting to talk but they all said we should do something, so we did, and then in 2005, we started Respect Week.”

READ ALSO Wagga’s ‘Pop Up Shop’ is all about supporting locals this Christmas

After a two-year hiatus, the Respect Awareness campaign returns next week (12-19 November) with a multicultural theme and a host of initiatives including multilingual flyers, a bus-back ad, coffee cups, stickers and events.

“We’ve decorated the bus with the multicultural theme because we have so many people from different backgrounds in Wagga,” explained Ronda.

“The Yazidis were one community where we saw 1000 people arriving and very few of them speak English, and so this prompted the idea of having the pamphlet in different languages.”

Woman and tree

Ronak Hassan fled war in Iraq and has found a home in Wagga along with a growing Yazidi community. Photo: Chris Roe.

Ronak Hassan has been in Australia for five years after fleeing persecution in Iraq.

“It wasn’t safe for us there and there was war there, so we just had to move somewhere else,” she said, adding that the Yazidis have found a warm welcome in Wagga.

“It’s much better than my country, the people are lovely and friendly here.

“The biggest challenge when I arrived first time was language and communication with other people. So hard!”

READ ALSO Wagga’s Relay for Life team recognised for dogged endurance

Thom Paton from Wagga’s Multicultural Council said it was a wonderfully inclusive gesture to include translations in Kurdish and Burmese.

“In terms of the cultural diversity in Wagga Wagga, it’s growing every day,” he said.

“In last year’s Census, the data reported that 11.5 per cent of the local community were born overseas and we’ve 9 per cent of the population speaking a language other than English at home.

“Accessing translated resources is one of the most important things.”


This year’s brochure carries the message in three languages. Photo: Supplied.

The bus, with its message of respect, is already on the streets and Ronda says people will see little reminders of the sentiment everywhere, including on takeaway cups at coffee shops, on products at FoodWorks supermarkets and down in the Marketplace.

“It’s a reminder that respect is important. It’s a short word, but it’s got an impact that’s relevant to all ages,” said Ronda.

“Stop … Think … Respect.”

Respect Week kicks off with a launch on Saturday (12 November) and runs until 19 November.

You can learn more here.

Start the conversation

Daily Digest

Want the best Riverina news delivered daily? Every day we package the most popular Riverina stories and send them straight to your inbox. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.