Congratulations and celebrations are in order over at The Healthy Living Centre, as Diversitat – GECC, proudly accepted a ‘Meritorious Service Award’ at the 2018 Victoria’s Multicultural Awards for Excellence, held at Government House. The ceremony was hosted by the Governor of Victoria, the Hon Linda Dessau AC, on Wednesday 12th of September.
Diversitat Aged Support’s water feature, Dyeerrm Klo (Frog Drum), was selected to receive this award “for its promotion of independence for older people by providing support and socialisation opportunities, including the delivery of an art project that brought together a group of Stolen Generation seniors with a group of refugee Karen and Karenni seniors.”
The award was presented by Helen Kapalos – Chairperson, Victorian Multicultural Commission, and accepted on behalf of Diversitat by Zena Sharples – Acting Manager Aged Support; whilst Jeffrey Kler (Diversitat AS Activity Worker & Karen and Karenni Community Leader) and Emma Williams (award nominator) were invited guests.
The winning project/initiative was the design and creation of the water feature that has pride of place at the entrance to the Healthy Living Centre. The project involved bringing together the Kuloo Arts group (Karen and Karenni weavers) refugees from Burma, and the local Wathaurong ‘Bringing Them Home’ group and was made possible by a Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) CALD Seniors Grant. Participants from both groups have experienced disconnection from their indigenous culture and described elements of their respective cultures through storytelling, visits, tours, craft and images. Despite not having common language, the groups worked together over a two year period, overcoming challenges and focusing on stories and symbols of importance for each culture and discovering common ground between both. These interactions culminated in the identification of symbols and meaning that were then incorporated into the design of the water feature. The water feature is named Dyeerrm Klo (Frog Drum). Dyeerrm is Wathaurong for Frog, and Klo is Karen for Drum, both words are highly symbolic for both culture. The design was made of toughened glass by the artists Jermaine Browning and Mark Edwards from Wathaurong Glass.
“The awards acknowledge the exceptional contributions of individuals and organisations who promote cross-cultural understanding, celebrate diversity, support new migrants and refugees, and enhance social cohesion in Victoria.” And we are awfully proud to be the recipient of one.
Many thanks and acknowledgements must be given to all who were involved. These talented people being staff and members of both groups: The Wathaurong – Bringing Them Home group members; David, Phil, Michelle, Lianne, Darren and staff members Judy and Naomi. The Diversitat Kuloo Arts Group members; Shall Dah, Ma Nage, Paw May, Ting Lay, Ta Dah, Mu Si Si, Ha Shwe, Tabi Thah, Kre Boh, Boh Wah, Su Nu Nu, Do Rah, Per, Neh Thoo and Diversitat staff members, along with GM Robyn Martinez; Jeffery, Mu Mu, Jasmine-Skye and Caroline. And those who collaborated in making the finished product: Wathaurong Glass Artists, Jermaine and Mark; Jeff Redman from Rendine, who arranged the building works and mechanics; and Stuart Quick and Jarrah at Training, who help design and make the planter boxes practical and pretty. Emma Williams, thank you for being the nominator of this project, we are all so appreciative.