The Greek Community of Melbourne building was filled with over 80 enthusiastic participants for the first interactive workshop of the joint initiative of Food For Thought Network (FFTN) and PRONIA.

The workshop was the first of a series in the context of the wider ‘Intergenerational Dialogue’ aimed at empowering and strengthening women, highlighting their role in the community, and defending their rights.

Participants from all suburbs of Melbourne and regional areas and from a variety of professional or business backgrounds, including politicians, academics, lawyers, researchers, and journalists, came together for the workshop.

Tina Douvos Stathopoulos. Photo: Supplied

The organisers distributed them randomly to work tables and asked them to answer a series of questions aimed at recording the expectations of modern Greek women in Australia for the future, highlighting the challenges they face, and proposing solutions for these issues.

The FFTN founder and president, Varvara Athanasiou-Ioannou, welcomed the participants and thanked them for responding to the call for the workshop.

Ms Varvara Athanasiou-Ioannou at the podium. Photo: Supplied

In her opening speech, CEO of PRONIA, Tina Douvos-Stathopoulos, emphasised the organisation’s priority of empowering women to make informed decisions about issues related to their particular needs.

The patron of FFTN, Professor Vaso Apostolopoulos, chose to address the participants with the song ‘Diaspora’, a hymn to the first generation of immigrants and the difficulties and challenges they faced in their struggle to build a new life in a foreign land.

The participants provided their input, and the organizations collected the information to prepare a report and strategies to mitigate the challenges mentioned.

Ms Athanasiou-Ioannou concluded, “Greek women are strong, resilient, multi-talented, and with their unique skills and different perspective, they belong everywhere where decisions are made, in community and mainstream organizations… Together we can do better!”

FFTN and PRONIA organisers and facilitators. L-R Dorothy Hatzopoulou, Tina Douvos Stathopoulos, Georgia Pernitzis, Helena Kidd, Maria Maikousis, Varvara Athanasiou-Ioannou, and Mary Sofou, (back) Prof. Vasso Apostolopoulos and Kelly Tsagournos. Photo: Stav Lambropoulos