Vera was severely persecuted during the Chinese political turmoil in the 1970s because of her mixed heritage. Having suffered great personal loss, she arrived in Australia as a refugee 37 years ago. This is a story of how she found sanctuary in community housing, regain happiness and serendipitously, discovered the artist in her.
My name is Vera, I am 73 years old. I am from China and arrived in Australia 37 years ago on 27 July 1977.
My father died when I was six years old and I was raised by my Russian mother in China. During the Chinese Cultural Revolution, my family was persecuted because my mother was Russian and we were considered to be foreigners. My husband died while trying to save a friend. I fled the country together with my mother and four children. We came to Australia as refugees under the Geneva Convention. I worked in a factory when I arrived to provide for my mother and four children.
'I did not want to be a burden'
I was living with my son a few years ago, but he has his own family and children and I did not want to be a burden to them. So I moved in with my daughter. Her place was quite small and she did not have a shower, but only a bathtub. It was difficult for me to step into bathtub and I fell down a few times and injured myself. My daughter was worried about me so she applied for community housing for me.
I became an Evolve Housing resident one year ago and my life improved so much since then. I was invited to participate in many resident engagement activities. I actively take part in these activities because they help me stay alert and are beneficial for my health. The people I meet at these events are wonderful. I made new friends and they make me happy.
Writing and painting
The best part of living in this house is I can do what I want to do. Although I live alone but I like the tranquillity. It gives me time and space to do the things I like, namely writing and painting. One of my articles, ‘Xiao Hei’, was published in the newspapers in China and I even won an award for it. I am also an active member of my community. In honour of my volunteering services to the senior community I was awarded many certificates, including a leadership certificate by the City Council of Cabramatta.
I am also a recipient of the Evolve Housing Friendship Aged Network* and am very grateful to the volunteers who regularly call me up to talk and check on me.
* The Friendship Aged Network is an Evolve Housing resident engagement program where volunteers make weekly phone calls to elderly residents to chat and check on them.
- Twitter: Tweet to us @evolvehousing and use the hashtag #verastory
- Facebook: Comment on any of our Journey Home posts and use the hashtag #verastory
- Email: Send an email to email@example.com the subject 'Vera's story'
We will compile your messages and make sure Vera gets them.
Follow the journey of our residents. Connect, share, engage, inspire!