Cobram Community House celebrated its cultural and linguistic diversity last month with a lunch as part of Cultural Diversity Week.
The March 19 lunch was attended by the local community and supported by Moira Shire’s mayor Libro Mustica and Cr Gary Cleveland, as well as DHHS representatives and Moira Shire staff.
Community House’s Certificate in General Education for Adults students, under instruction from chef Seetanah (Raj) Mooniapah, prepared the multicultural lunch, with student Nathan Burdziejko formally welcoming guests to the event.
Guest speakers Veronica Perra and Raj spoke about their respective cultural heritage and how they came to be in Cobram, as well as the challenges associated with establishing a new life in a new country.
Mrs Perra spoke about her father Matteo, a migrant from Naples, Italy, who first moved to Adelaide before bringing his young family to Cobram in 1944.
Matteo later bought a milk bar on Punt Rd which he eventually expanded.
Mrs Perra said her mother Alice played a critical role for Italian women in the Cobram community, helping them to overcome the difficult language barrier they faced when moving to a foreign country.
These days, Mrs Perra is following in the footsteps of her mother, helping Italian women in Cobram, but in a much different way.
She helps Italian women engulfed by grief at losing a husband, which can lead to a nomadic lifestyle and a disconnection from their culture in many cases.
She said her role was to ‘‘decimate fears and promote wellbeing’’.
Raj, originally from India, spoke about his love of rural Australia and all things food.
He first worked in Melbourne for eight years, predominantly cooking Italian food before relocating to the north east, where he found work at Tocumwal Golf and Bowls Club.
Community House’s Sally Bate said events like these helped connect the community.
‘‘I think it is a great opportunity to come together and learn about other cultures – to accept each other and celebrate our differences,’’ she said.
‘‘Cobram’s history is steeped in multiculturalism and events like these do a great job of showcasing that.’’