On the eve of Springvale's famous Lunar New Year celebrations, the head of Adviceline Injury Lawyers (ALIL) Springvale office has said that the firm is very proud to be the Festival's Presenting Partner and that the multicultural event reflects the incredible cultural diversity of many local businesses - including the office that she heads up in Springvale.
ALIL partner Bree Knoester said "the Lunar New Festival is a major celebration of the multiculturalism of the City of Dandenong and our Adviceline office is a great example of that multiculturalism.
"In the spirit of the local celebrations, employees at our Springvale office have spoken about and shared stories of their own cultural heritage. These stories are very moving and very inspiring."
"The whole Adviceline team in Springvale is so excited to have the opportunity to support the community we work in through our partnership with the Springvale Lunar New Year Festival," Ms Knoester said.
By partnering with the Festival, we are able to give back to the local community in a very tangible way. We can't wait to see everyone for what will be a fantastic day on the 15th .
Partner, Bree Knoester - Holland
My family arrived in Melbourne in 1956 from Holland with my grandparents, mother and uncle all spending time at Bonegilla Migrant Camp before settling in the Latrobe Valley. I grew up speaking a mix of English and Dutch with my grandparents - a language they called Danglish. I am proud of my Dutch heritage and have named my daughter after the current Dutch Crown Princess!
Senior associate, David Schwartz - Eastern Europe
My family arrived in Melbourne on Australia Day, 1955. Before this, they had been refugees in Israel following their escape from Nazi-occupied eastern Europe in the early 1940s. My grandmother could speak seven languages. By contrast, I dropped my French studies at the end of Year 9 to take a course in home economics.
Lawyer, Marie Pham - Vietnam
More fortunate than many other boat people, we only had to face the natural elements and not fishermen who turned pirates on our journey from Vietnam to Melbourne. We arrived in 1977 with empty hands. Like many other new migrants, we had to put up with some bigotry but the overwhelming welcome from many others helped us settled in. My parents worked hard to put four children through schools and universities.
Legal secretary, Tran Ong - Vietnam
My story is very similar to many who fled Vietnam following the fall of Saigon. My parents had lost all hope. They saw no future for us in their homeland so decided to take their chances, boarding an overcrowded boat and sailing over treacherous seas in search of a better life. I was only 18 months and my sister nine months. We arrived in Australia in 1977. My parents worked very hard to give us a comfortable life here.
Legal secretary, Lucia Nguyen - Vietnam
My parents fled from Vietnam and spent time in Pulau Bidong Refugee Camp and Sungai Besi Refugee Camp before arriving in Sydney in 1982. They eventually settled in Adelaide where they opened up one of the first Vietnamese video rental stores in the state. My father brought over his parents and six of his siblings from Vietnam a couple of weeks before I was born. In fact, my mother went into labour following a night of Lunar New Year festivities with the family. And so, every year when I celebrate my birthday and the Lunar New Year, I also celebrate the number of years my family has been reunited in Australia.
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