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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 23 March 2019
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 23 MARCH 2019 7 NEWS People and places Greeks in Melbourne are an active lot. Not a day goes by without some sort of event, happening or meeting to keep us busy. There were 110 young dancers from Melbourne, Adelaide, Sydney, Wollongong and Canberra who joined together for Pontian dances in a gathering, known as Synapantema, that took place in Canberra from 15-17 March. The Federation of Pontian Associations of Australia were joined by representatives of the Pan-Pontian Federation of the United States and Canada for the annual gathering of Pontians. Dr Helen Kavnoudias and Kathy Tsaples addressed a crowd, sharing their own personal stories. And the winners the door prizes were a couple of Lemnian ladies from the same table. Wreaths were also laid by Pontians in Canberra to commemorate 100 years since the Pontian Genocide that began in May 1919, with Kemal Ataturk’s arrival to the region. The wreaths were laid in the presence of Greek Ambassador Katerina Xagorari. Mary Calombaris, Vassi Vafeas and Sophie Kambouris older brothers and her parents. She brought up her two younger brothers who were nine and seven. Then, during the Second World War she lost my grandfather and had to bring up her four children alone. Yiayia came out to Australia in 1964 so she was very much a part of my life – her mantra to me was to be independent, not to rely on my father or my husband but to be able to stand on my own two feet. Or alternatively and jokingly, as my Irish friend would say, 'A man is not a plan.' But more seriously, Yiay- ia was a true feminist, she knew this was a woman's as much as a man's world. So thank you yiayia for moulding me into a bit of a workaholic. I cannot imagine life without having some interesting work to do. To draw out a little bit more Lemnian history – when I told my family that I wanted to go overseas to study: Dad was apprehensive, Mum looked a bit worried but elated and yiayia, she wasn't even impressed. She said, that even in her day she had family, cousins, who had gone to Europe to study, one studied architecture in Germany and another music in Paris. This is an aspect of pre-war Lemnian history I knew nothing about but it smoothed my way to fulfilling my dream of further study, working in medical research and seeing the world. Like most women, have I had a good work-life balance? Not quite. I had just enough time to constantly hurry, but not rush, to my girls as they were growing up; and I did not leave enough time to regularly see friends and extended family, people that I care about. Am I underpaid and work more hours than I'm paid for? Yes, but it is the tradeoff I accepted for having flexibility in my work hours. Have I been promoted appropriately? Probably not. But, I chose to take the career back seat in our family, to make sure I had time to be with my daughters. And, to be fair, my current job was actually advertised by a male Head of Department as a 'Mum Hours, 9-3 position, and with extra time off for school holidays’; a working mum's dream. As women, our responsibility is to nurture and love our families. We have a lot to offer in the workplace and to the community and we do balance it all. Our mothers did, with far greater challenges than our own. They have taught us to live with dignity and to respect others, they taught that to their boys and girls. Gender disparity is still huge internationally and it has gone backwards, more needs to be done - small things, like employers adjusting work hours and significant adjustments and acceptance that women should have equal opportunity to choose what they want to do. Within our community I feel we have all the right elements in place and we are respected. Seeing all of you here today confirms that we have been shown, and know how, to live a fortunate and fulfilled life. For the next IWD event, I hope we can hear from our younger generation and to hear about their challenges, which will be different to ours, and about their achievements. It's been a pleasure to share my story with you. Thank you. The Anemones Northern Suburbs Dance Group held a function for International Women’s Day on 12 March. The women got together at Neighbourhood House. Dozens of people from the association I Kastoria gathered outside their building calling for a general meeting to discuss the potential sale of their building. AGAPI House officially opens in effort to give disabled people independence AGAPI Care has officially opened AGAPI House at 12 Shower Street in Preston to help further its services and support to people with disabilities in Victoria. A blessing ceremony was followed by an official welcome from AGAPI Care President Nick Mitsios, who highlighted the effort that the community is making to meet the needs of disabled people. "This house will provide the opportunity to four individuals to live their life as independently as possible," he said. AGAPI Care CEO Mary Gakopoulos thanked the Greek community for its ongoing support and generosity which makes projects like this possible. She also thanked the many volunteers who donated their time to the project. AGAPI House was officially opened by Batman MP Ged Kearny, who described how she came to know the organisation. "You have an organisation like AGAPI Care who allays fears, who steps in and says don't worry because we care," she said, adding that "whilst they care, they are also skilled, professional, they are competent, they know what needs to be done, but also, provide a loving and secure environment". Ms Kearney finished off by saying that she was delighted by the fact that AGAPI Care is in her electorate and that she will do everything possible to ensure that the government listens and understands the support that is required by AGAPI Care to continue servicing the needs of the community.
16 March 2019
30 March 2019