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PRONIA celebrates 50 years

PRONIA, the association that empowers, advocates and cares for the Australian Greek community, launched its 50th anniversary year celebrations for 2022 with a special evening at the Hellenic Museum.

The event was hosted by PRONIA’s president Ms Kris Pavlidis and the list of guests included dignitaries, community leaders, PRONIA’s co-founders, media representatives as well as PRONIA staff.

PRONIA’s CEO Mrs Tina Douvos-Stathopoulos opened the event thanking everyone for their attendance and support of the organisation, providing an overview of PRONIA’s services over the years.

“When the organisation was first established in 1972, in its first year of operation it served 1054 cases and this was done by the volunteers who worked tirelessly with the community,” Mrs Tina Douvos-Stathopoulos said.

“Fast forward to this year and the last financial year in particular, where the organisation serviced 8,500 people showing how relevant and necessary our services are today. The organisation has gone from strength to strength although facing many challenges in the form of policy changes, in the reforms within aged care, disability services, even family services, however we will continue to work through those and remain innovative to ensure we are relevant to the community and future generations.”

Mrs Tina Douvos-Stathopoulos went on to express her gratitude for what started 50 years ago as a simple service, and now become an iconic institution of which the entire community can be genuinely proud.

The highlight of the night came from Australian Greek Welfare (PRONIA) co-founder Dr. George Papadopoulos who delivered a polemical and often self deprecating humorous speech.

“When we started we were amongst the pioneers of what is now called multiculturalism,” he noted while reminiscing through times where a whole generation of people of different backgrounds wanted to establish a proper regime for the people of ethnic communities to be able to access services in the community. He lamented the political change of the use and meaning of “multicultural” but went on to say that “I am proud that PRONIA has developed and has become institutional and that it is at the forefront in the delivery of services as a non-government organisation.

“Others will do well to study what RPONIA does, and what it is doing. And I believe that with time people will come to appreciate the real contributions that you and people in the past have made to this community and to the country. ”

In her speech, PRONIA’s president Ms Kris Pavlidis thanked everyone for their unwavering and continued commitment, dedication and support that enables PRONIA to continuously deliver essential services and programs to our vulnerable community. Ms Pavlidis acknowledged individually all the sponsors, community leaders, valuable partners and collaborators in other community organisations “who play a pivotal role in keeping again our more vulnerable people of our community happy healthy and strong”.

“PRONIA is a live manifestation of the Greek-Australian migrant journey and as a work in progress reflects the developing and changing dynamic of our community,” Ms Pavlidis stated.

In his address, the Justice Emilios Kyrou, PRONIA’s patron, praised PRONIA’s staff and volunteers for their good work and ‘genuine concern’ and shared that he was confident for the organisation’s successful future going forward.

General Consul of Greece in Melbourne Emmanuel Kakavelakis also congratulated PRONIA’s personnel on this very important occasion highlighting “the long commitment and significant activity in the social services industry” while expressing his “gratitude and sense of pride to all the organisers and volunteers of PRONIA”.

Lastly, Joy Damousi, distinguished history professor for the University of Melbourne and author of PRONIA’s commemorative book, said that she is honoured to be given the task to write the history of the extraordinary organisation and that PRONIA has been pioneering, transformative and inspirational, making the difference to so many people in so many ways and changing the fabric not only of the Greek-Australian but the whole Australian society.

This year PRONIA celebrates 50 years with a number of upcoming events including a main celebration on 17 September 2022.

Taken from PRONIA. 

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