the Director of the Australian Greek Welfare Society (AGWS) has been given the distinct honour of being awarded as Woman of the Year by the World Council for Hellenes Abroad (SAE).
Ms Messimeri has been recognised for her work in providing for the needs of all Greeks as well as being a major advocate for multiculturalism in her role as the Chairperson of the Federated Ethnic Communities Council of Australia.
As Ms Messimeri says to Neos Kosmos English Edition (NKEE), “I think it’s an honour – I view it as that. It’s a vote of confidence for what I have done in AGWS, particularly from my country of origin.”
Ms Messimeri has also been awarded as Member of the Order (AM) for her work but she is someone who is not keen to accept praise for her work.
“I think that the work at the AGWS has given rise to other endeavours in Australia such as Fronditha Care and Agapi, but that is the organisation, not me, it is the organisation which is important in leading the way for these services,” underscores Ms Messimeri.
When asked about the most important issue affecting the Greek community Ms Messimeri did not hesitate to point to the overwhelming ageing Greek population. “I think that the most important task for any Greek organisation is providing services for the huge ageing population.”
Ms Messimeri goes on to highlight, “The sheer numbers… (for) example in Victoria 57,000 Greeks born in Greece, most of them aged over 65, many averaging 75 years old.
A lot of potential services are needed, while most of these people are ok, there is a substantial number of people that do require complex care or will soon, and the sheer numbers are overwhelming, particularly as funding into age care has slowed down.”
Ms Messimeri has no qualms in standing up for the rights of those in need, as she points out to NKEE that, “Part of the services AGWS provides is an active lobby in its own right; we are constantly lobbying for the increase of services to the aged and others in need.”
The Federal Government provides some funding in the form of Community Aged Care Packages (CACPs) but Ms Messimeri is clear on the inadequacy of these arrangements,
“CACPS is provided by the government, and it does provide some additional, funding on a year-to-year basis but it’s marginal and it needs to be increased significantly.”