The letters to kids aged between seven and 14 years are written in Polish and canopy many matters, however principally Mr Swistak solutions their queries about life – resembling whether or not it is OK as somewhat lady to slam a door on a member of the family.
”No, it is not good to slam the door on anybody,” he tells his younger correspondent.
Individuals don’t put together themselves for outdated age, it’s important they grow to be all for one thing.
The intergenerational letter trade program was launched by Australian Multicultural Group Companies throughout the pandemic as part of its Seniors Knowledge and the Cell Info Hub undertaking (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”Individuals don’t put together themselves for outdated age, it’s important they grow to be all for one thing.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 various (CALD).
On the age of 20, Mr Swistak moved to Australia within the wake of World Battle 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 study English. I additionally wished to belong to one thing,” he says.
Undertaking officer Ewa Lenartowicz says the letter program goals to interact 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, principally born in Australia, who’re studying to talk their mother and father’ language. With greater than 55 seniors and 66 volunteers, this system presents greater than 10 languages, resembling English, Polish, Arabic, Macedonian, Sri Lankan and Indonesian.
Mrs Lenartowicz says language boundaries and cultural variations will be difficult for a lot of cultural and linguistic various seniors.
”They migrated to Australia due to varied life circumstances. Fairly often their kinfolk and family members reside in different nations and as they age they lose their English-language skills. A few of the CALD seniors by no means have an opportunity to study English,” she says.
In line with 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 amenities had not been assembly the necessities of culturally and linguistically various seniors.
Mom of nine-year-old twins Eren and Deniz, Magdalena Sahingoez, says her kids had been launched to the letter program by way of Edmund Strzelecki Melbourne Polish Faculty.
”I believe it’s lovely. On the Polish college they study concerning 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 handle it, as a result of as of late it’s not one thing common they study in school,” she says.
Deniz says the aged have grow to be extra remoted throughout the pandemic and these letters are essential to them.
”Individuals can’t go to them that always, I do know that the aged folks really want 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 believed, ‘Yay, I acquired the letter.’ I waited so lengthy, I often don’t get mail from anyone,” he says.