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Sharing Spirit of Christmas During Challenging Times

The Multicultural Assistance Task Force (MATF) organised a simple program to share the spirit of Christmas with the International Students and their families who are among those most impacted by the corona virus pandemic. Held at the Auburn Youth Centre, Sydney Australia on 20 December 2020, it was also an occasion to publicly acknowledge and thank the various multicultural project partners, donors, community volunteers, media and other organisational and individual supporters to the continuing humanitarian relief activities for victims of the pandemic and natural disasters here and in the Philippines.

Besides the usual Christmas decors, the venue was adorned with a variety of multi-coloured toys and Christmas goodies that were given to the families of international students who have been adversely impacted by covid-19. The joy that Christmas brings filled the air with the anticipation, especially among the children, of receiving so many toys of their own choice!

Emceed by the Filipino community’s darling of the crowd, Charles Chan, the program was a delightful combination of singing, dancing and Christmas greetings from special guests. The program highlight was an inspirational sharing of the success story of Rizza and Cesar Janea, both Filipino international students who turned their lives of uncertainty and fear for their children’s future as a result of covid-19 to an opportunity to start their own business Pinoy cake shop!

Among the guests were: the Hon Lynda Voltz MP, Member for Auburn; who expressed appreciation for the support and assistance from MATF to multicultural international students at this time of the pandemic. Multicultural community leaders Siddique Panwala and Abbas Alvi both briefly shared relevant information on the services that they provide to diverse international students. The diva of Kapit-bahayan Cooperative Ltd, Gilda Pagaduan entertained the audience with her musical talents and witty disposition. Fr Bong Pamintuan, Filipino Chaplain of Westmead also joined the celebration.

Lunch sharing for all attendees was prepared by MATF. The day ended with the distribution of the much loved toys to the children and a variety of Christmas presents to their parents.

Among those who received framed Certificates of Appreciation signed and handed by MATF

Chairperson, Dr Cen Amores and assisted by ASCON president Ghassan Alassadi were:

Project Partners: Kapit-bahayan Coop, Austral-Asian Financial Services, Auburn Small Community Orgn Network, Alliance of Philippine Community Orgns, Auburn Youth Centre, Assn of Pinoy Students in Australia, Clothesline Inc, Grace Church, Salon de Anne, Crowe Production, Super Save, Bosnian Seniors and Disability Assn, La Sadi Accounting, Diompillor Kissia Assn, Australian Middle Eastern Assn, Sri Om Foundation, Filipino Women Support Group, Church of Scientology, Filipino Lesbian and Gay Community, Somali Welfare Cultural Assn, and NSW Multicultural Seniors Assn, 

Donors: Illawarra Medical Services, Vietnamese Women in Canley Heights, Kapit-bahayan Cooperative Ltd, Austral-Asian Financial Services, Salon de Anne, Sastra Pty Ltd, Iraqi Renaissance, Quality Dental Care, Crowe Production, Vida Fernandez, Dr Nirmala Chrishanthan, Mr & Mrs Rey Quinoy, Mr & Mrs Rafael Amarille, Mercy Abraham,

Mr & Mrs Reggy Tolentino, Nhu Tran & Kelvin Nguyen, Flor Barton, Nilda Ruiz, Willie and Abigail Plan, Ghassan Alassadi,  Churlya Wurfel, Nancy Casaol, Ofelia Aloda, Mariana Uru, Mitchell Badelles, Mr & Mrs Aloysius Canete, Mr & Mrs Mario Saguin, Hon Lynda Voltz MP, The Philippine Consulate, Lilian Luciano, Pol Sadumiano, Pastor Ares Balatan, Mr & Mrs Michael Toomey, Mr & Mrs Fred Hernandez Sr, Izeta Zecevic and an anonymous donor. 

Community Volunteers: Dr Edgar Escultura, Violeta Escultura, Carmen Fraser, Zeny Piosik, Willie & Abigail Plan, Joe Caballero, Lilian Luciano and family, Ruben Amores and family, Mehdi Hamidpour, Ashraf Sedrak, Ernest Sourie, Fatma Mohamed and Yin Lang Ge