BUNINYONG’S Evie Dichiera has spent almost 20 years helping Ballarat’s multicultural community.
Today, she will be named as an Order of Australia Medalist (OAM) for her service to that community.
Ms Dichiera was one of the founding members of the Ballarat Regional Mutilcultural Council in 1999 and held the role of treasurer.
She is also the current treasurer of the Ballarat Italian Association which today boast more than 150 members.
“My passion is getting to know people within the multicultural community,” she said.
“We organised a lot of events, provided a range of activities that provided a continuity for people and this established lasting friendships within the community.
“I did it because I was passionate about the work and believe in this purpose. Ballarat has changed so much in 20 years in accepting of refugees and diverse groups.
“It was wonderful to be involved in the early days of the multicultural council and get it off the ground. It has expanded considerably, but there was a group of us that did a lot of the ground work.”
Ms Dichiera said she was humbled by what she called a significant award that others were equally deserving of.
“It is an honour,” she said. “It’s something that recognises the work of people in the community who are generous with their time.
“You do think to yourself, ‘why me?’ because there are so many people within the community that give up their time.”
As well as her work with the multicultural council, and the Italian association, she has also worked as a refugee settlement worker as part of the Settlement Grants Program, a cultural diversity development worker with Gambler’s Help and she is a founding member of the Central Highlands Cultural Network.
Ms Dichiera said she wanted to thank her husband Chez, her two daughters and members of the multicultural council for all their support over the years.