The relatively new community group, the Multicultural Assistance Task Force (MATF) has once again reached out to the International Students and their families who are among those most impacted by the corona virus pandemic.  This time MATF organised a simple event to share the spirit of Christmas with the group on 20 December 2020 at the Auburn Youth Centre in Sydney.

The occasion was also held 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.

The venue had the usual Christmas decors as well as had on display a variety of multi-coloured toys and goodies much to the children's delight. The children had so much joy as they lined up and received the toys they had their eyes on.

A program of entertainment and sharing was emceed by popular community personality Charles Chan. It included some singing, dancing and Christmas greetings from special guests. Its highlight was the inspiring sharing by Rizza and Cesar Janea, both Filipino international students. 

Rizza and Cesar recounted the challenges they faced with their lost of part time employment and the fear for the impact on their children’s future. They shared how the help they received from community organisations such as the Australian Pinoy Students Association [APSA] and the Fil-Aus media which helped promote their product of torta, a special muffin they were able to start their own business Cassaja Torta de Cebu.

The event was also attended by: the Hon Lynda Voltz MP, Member for Auburn; who expressed appreciation for the support and assistance from MATF to multicultural international students; and multicultural community leaders Siddique Panwala and Abbas Alvi who shared information on the services that they provide to diverse international students. The entertainment was provided by the diva of Kapit-bahayan Cooperative Ltd, Gilda Pagaduan with her musical talents and wit. Fr Bong Pamintuan, Filipino Chaplain of Westmead also joined the celebration.

As part of the festive occasion, lunch was served and enjoyed by all attendees. The final part of the event was the distribution of the loved toys to the appreciative children and a variety of gifts to their parents.

The spirit of giving dominated the event.  Not only were gifts given out but also Certificates of Appreciation which were handed out by MATF Chairperson, Dr Cen Amores with the assistance of and assisted by ASCON president Ghassan Alassadi to the following:

Project Partners: Kapitbahayan Co-op, 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.

Performers: Marjorie Bernardo, Gilda Pagaduan, Ross Vinculado and Charles Chan.

Media Supporters: Violi Calvert, Nonoy Perdon, Jimmy Pimentel, Marilie Bomediano and Millie Marcial.

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*Information and photos provided by Ruben Amores, founding President of Kapitbahayan Ltd.

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