Greek Australian’s story on diversity features in latest edition of Seniors’ Stories

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The short story of Brighton Le Sands resident Evgenia Klitsas, is the only one from a Greek Australian author that features in the latest edition of the Seniors’ Stories in New South Wales.

Now in its eighth edition, Seniors’ Stories is a writing competition aimed at celebrating the lives and contributions of seniors by giving them an opportunity to share their own short stories about their life experiences.

The top 100 stories from over 300 submissions this year with the theme ‘Celebrating Diversity’ were collated in a book and will be available at local libraries across NSW for everyone to read.

“I always liked writing,” Ms Klitsas tells The Greek Herald.

Her story titled ‘With Vanya… Or No Party at All’ describes how two girls, one of Greek and the other of Indian heritage who has recently moved to Australia connect through mythology and ultimately create a strong friendship.

Born to migrant parents in Australia in the late 1950s, Ms Klitsas says that parts of it reflect her own experiences and hurdles to settle into Greece where she moved with her parents at the age of 16.

“Not to say that I did not have a good life but people in Greece had a different mindset and I didn’t know the language. I always longed to return to Australia,” she said.

After nearly four decades, Ms Klitsas returned to Australia with her two daughters. 

“They [the daughters] went through the same journey I went when I returned to my parents’ country. They don’t know where they belong,” she said.

Now in her early sixties, Evgenia Klitsas who is also an educator hopes that her story will motivate more people to embrace diversity. 

Pictured is one of Ms Klitsas’ daughtes and grandaughter

“Diversity to me is to be different and to be accepted for that. We need to learn to embrace and not fight it,” she said.

“I have lived it myself and I see it every day at school where I teach. If a student is different other students exclude them.”

Ms Klitsas says it’s time for humans to realise that irrespective of their cultural or linguistic background they have common traits and needs.

“We need to focus on the things that connect us and not on those that set us apart,” she said. 

Launching the book earlier this month, NSW Seniors and Multiculturalism Minister Mark Coure said that “seniors are an integral part of our communities, and I truly believe we can all learn a lot from these stories.”

For Ms Klitsas this might have been the beginning of a journey in writing about inclusion, equity and diversity as a legacy for future generations.

*Seniors’ Stories Volume 8 is available at all local libraries across NSW or a copy can be downloaded from www.seniorscard.nsw.gov.au

READ MORE: Sharing food, sharing cultures: How cooking brings this Greek-Indian family together

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