It was very humbling and an honour to perform at Ukrainian Independence Day celebrations at Kalyna Care (Ukrainian Elderly Peoples Home). Many of the residents endured great hardship during WWII. At the end of the war they became displaced persons which eventually led to an uncertain life and daunting journey to Australia.
They arrived with a suitcase in hand and little to no money. Everything was so unfamiliar: the language, the food, the culture, the climate, the environment. They found work and worked hard to make a new life in a free land, raising families and instilling in them wonderful Ukrainian traditions.
These people helped create the Ukrainian Diaspora in Melbourne: building churches, establishing Ukrainian Schools so that the language and history were not forgotten, donated money to purchase buildings which became central hubs where Ukrainians could meet.
They formed committees which organised Balls and community barbecues with Ukrainian music and food; developed youth groups, interest groups, Ukrainian dancing groups, bands and choirs.
We owe this elderly generation of Ukrainians so much for keeping the Ukrainian spirit alive in their descendants.
Happy Ukrainian Independence Day to the residents of Kalyna Care….and thank you for enriching our lives and for the opportunities we have been given as members of the wider Australian community.