The letters to kids aged between seven and 14 years are written in Polish and canopy many subjects, however largely Mr Swistak solutions their queries about life – corresponding to whether or not it is OK as just a little lady to slam a door on a member of the family.
”No, it isn’t good to slam the door on anybody,” he tells his younger correspondent.
Individuals don’t put together themselves for previous age, it’s important they turn out to be eager about one thing.
The intergenerational letter alternate program was launched by Australian Multicultural Neighborhood Providers through the pandemic as part of its Seniors Knowledge and the Cell Info Hub mission (SWAMIH).
Mr Swistak mentioned the letters are a method – he additionally paints, writes poetry and composes music – to remain mentally wholesome.
”Individuals don’t put together themselves for previous age, it’s important they turn out to be eager about one thing. A few of these folks don’t even know they’ve the flexibility or expertise to do one thing, as a result of they’ve by no means tried,” he says.
The stay-at-home lockdown restrictions have exacerbated the loneliness for a lot of aged Victorians, significantly for these culturally and linguistically numerous (CALD).
On the age of 20, Mr Swistak moved to Australia within the wake of World Struggle II having survived the Dachau focus camp the place he was imprisoned as a member of the Polish resistance. His father and brother had been killed on the camp.
”I got here to Australia and began to really feel very lonely, I used to be instructed to not communicate Polish, nobody might perceive me, so I needed to be taught English. I additionally needed to belong to one thing,” he says.
Challenge officer Ewa Lenartowicz says the letter program goals to have interaction and cut back social isolation for CALD seniors.
”Establishing a connection and belonging to the native cultural group is essential for the wellbeing of seniors,” she says.
This system connects seniors with kids, largely born in Australia, who’re studying to talk their dad and mom’ language. With greater than 55 seniors and 66 volunteers, this system presents greater than 10 languages, corresponding to English, Polish, Arabic, Macedonian, Sri Lankan and Indonesian.
Mrs Lenartowicz says language obstacles and cultural variations could be difficult for a lot of cultural and linguistic numerous seniors.
”They migrated to Australia due to numerous life circumstances. Fairly often their family members and family members reside in different nations and as they age they lose their English-language skills. Among the CALD seniors by no means have an opportunity to be taught English,” she says.
In response to the Australian Institute of Health, one in three Australians aged over 65 had been born abroad, with a majority born in non-English-speaking nations.
The interim findings of the 2019 Royal Commission into Aged Care revealed that aged care services had not been assembly the necessities of culturally and linguistically numerous seniors.
Mom of nine-year-old twins Eren and Deniz, Magdalena Sahingoez, says her kids had been launched to the letter program by means of Edmund Strzelecki Melbourne Polish College.
”I believe it’s stunning. On the Polish faculty they be taught in regards to the tradition, custom and the language, and that is an extra expertise for them.
”They began studying the way to write a letter, the way to tackle it, as a result of nowadays it’s not one thing common they be taught in school,” she says.
Deniz says the aged have turn out to be extra remoted through the pandemic and these letters are essential to them.
”Individuals can’t go to them that always, I do know that the aged folks actually need somebody to speak to as a result of they’re alone,” he says.
Eren says he was the primary pupil to obtain a letter again from one of many seniors.
”I assumed, ‘Yay, I received the letter.’ I waited so lengthy, I normally don’t get mail from anyone,” he says.