Trading business for brotherhood – Uncle Duc’s story


    Từ Kinh Doanh đến Tình Anh Em – Câu Chuyện của Chú Đức

    By Michael Gartland

    Huu Duc Trinh, warmly known as Uncle Duc to his newfound WeFo community, was a savvy entrepreneur back in Vietnam before he decided to relocate to Australia to be closer to his loved ones. 

    Upon arrival Uncle Duc was met with the common hurdles that accompany moving to a new country; unable to understand the local language, unsure of how he fits in, and re-establishing his cultural roots in unfamiliar surroundings.

    Trading business suits for brotherhood, Duc’s participation in Sons of the West was a key turning point in his quest to feel at home in Australia.

    “Whatever you want to do in your life, you need good health, but good health requires learning and training appropriate for your age,” asserts Uncle Duc, full of a new-found sense of self-confidence. 

    Sons of the West is an initiative of the Western Bulldogs Community Foundation, focused on encouraging and empowering men of all backgrounds to take better control of their health and wellbeing, building supportive social networks in the process.

    Through the Foundation’s partnership with Worksafe Victoria, cohealth and Watergardens, the 10-week program is able to be provided free of charge across nine different sites in Melbourne’s inner west, going a long way to minimise one of the barriers that too often prevents people from taking care of themselves.

    Throughout the program, participants are treated to expert advice in the fields of mental fitness, cooking, and health conditions to name just a few, with every session ending in an exercise program that is tailored to the capabilities of each individual. 

    Sons of the West taught me the foundation to train my body appropriately, highlighting what to embrace and what to avoid. As a newcomer to Australia I got advice I didn’t know I needed, like my rights as a worker!”

    In 2024, Sons of the West celebrates ten years since its inception and yet for the majority of the thousands of participants across the years, there has been a highlight that shines even brighter than the boosts they gained to their physical health.

    “The program is a melting pot of cultures, allowing us to connect on a deeper level, share our stories, and learn from each other,” reflects Uncle Duc as a smile washes over his face.

    “I have so many good memories, experiences, and now, friends.”

    It is this sense of support and camaraderie that has flourished naturally among participants. A common thread that weaves many past-participants together is that they signed up not knowing what to expect, but within two to three weeks, they discovered they were actively participating in a support network unlike any other.

    When asked for his final words, Uncle Duc’s message to the Inner West is clear. “If there is anyone in the community who hasn’t done the program before, I highly encourage you to register and join. It’s a very beneficial program that teaches you a lot about health and wellbeing.”  

    Registrations for Sons of the West are open to all who identify as men over the age of 18 across the inner west. Daughters of the West is the partner program open to all over the age of 18 who identify as women and will begin in July.

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