Presentation to Multicultural Arts Victoria: Migration: Women & Resilience

Presentation on Migration: Women & Resilience by Dr Mrin Nayagam - A reflection on the event

Thu 26 April 6.00-8.00pm


My Culture, My Story
Multicultural Arts Victoria
CO.AS.IT -Museo Italianno
199, Farady Street Carlton


This is multicultural Australia as we know it today. None more so than Melbourne, the capital city of the state of Victoria. Migrants arrive here from all parts of the world and assimilate into Australian society.

At times this occurs easily, while at others with great difficulty. This may be due to the varying mores and folkways of the migrants, language barriers, religious differences, dietary restrictions or cultural disharmony. In these circumstances often, it’s the birth of the next generation of migrants that helps to bridge the gap between Australia and the migrants, enabling them to say with truth, “I still call Australia home”

On a balmy evening on the 26th April 2018, the day after Anzac Day celebrations which saw Collingwood FC beat Essendon FC at the Melbourne Cricket ground, people from all walks of life, arrived at the Museo Italiano located in Faraday Street, Carlton, Victoria.

They came in large numbers, by bus, tram, train, by car or on foot, to hear and listen to several amazing women of resilience, speak of their journey from the land of their birth, to Australia, their now, adoptive home.

Some spoke in the heartfelt language of song, while others spoke through pre-recorded video presentations. Some read their stories out loud with a poignancy which left the audience spellbound while others gave power point presentations either about themselves or of the journey of close family members.

Whatever the medium used the audience applauded as these inspirational women gave those present in the packed hall, an insight into the lives they left behind in the countries of their birth, for varying reasons; be it racial violence, rape, religious hatred or insecurity. They described their journey in overcoming the hardship of migration, with its associated loss, grief and emotional disempowerment. Their true to life stories of how they became the beacon of hope in building a better life for their family, for generations to come, were inspirational.

After listening to these empowering presentations by 10 women of resilience from Bosnia (Nela Trifvokic), China (Edith Chen), Italy (Lucia Ciampa narrated by her Grandchildren), Germany (Sabi Buhler), Kurdistan (Maryam Babaali), Italy (Carmalina Cinanni), Sri Lanka (Dr Mrin Nayagam), Indonesia (Arnesia Ranggi), Iran (Gelareh Pour) and Greece (Maria Vamvakinou MP) the audience walked away in the realisation that living in multicultural Australia today, is indeed a blessing.

Dr Mrin Nayagam