Shamara Williams is evidence that Bunbury is a place of belonging.
Of course, Shamara’s infectious bubbly attitude makes it impossible not to welcome her into any community so Bunbury cannot take all the credit.
Further, Shamara has well and truly imbedded herself in the community, selflessly volunteering her time over and over while helping create networks so others too can get that sense of belonging.
While it is clear Shamara has worked hard to entrench herself in the City’s diverse community, she modestly credits Bunbury as being a place that allows this to happen.
"That whole idea of being inclusive and welcoming is so important because it is how we all belong and the need to belong is at the very core of us as human beings," Shamara says.
"So, when a city is welcoming and a city is diverse, and we see people who look like ourselves, I think that makes it a city that you want to live in."
Shamara has lived and worked around Bunbury for nearly three decades after migrating from Sri Lanka at the age of 19.
Deputy Chairperson of the Bunbury Multicultural Group, Shamara could be considered a trailblazer in Bunbury’s multicultural community.
The group is behind the budding South West Multicultural Festival and Shamara said Bunbury’s culturally diverse community made it a vibrant city in which citizens were continuously learning and growing from each other.
"The Festival is really important to Bunbury, I believe, because it gives opportunity for the diverse cultures represented in this community to share their food, their dance, their song, the different clothing they wear," she said.
"And it allows a responsive audience to find out more about those cultural groups.
"We also believe that the festival tends to break down cultural barriers and also dispel myths because this might be the only time that you see a certain cultural group represented and even talk to someone from a group or religion."
Shamara says Bunbury offers her the lifestyle to do what she loves to do, surrounded by the people that she loves to be around.
"Bunbury to me is a city but with a country feel and what I love most about it is that you can walk down the street or go to an event, and you can be pretty confident that you’re going to bump into someone that you know … you just don’t get this in a large city," she said.
"I also love that Bunbury has all these vibrant community events where you get to meet new people and make new friends.
"I think for me ultimately, Bunbury is about the people because I’ve made some really close friends and I’ve built these networks that are important to me personally and professionally."