Everyone has a story as volunteer Christine Dang knows only too well

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Everyone has a story as volunteer Christine Dang knows only too well

September 7, 2021

Christine Dang has a story to tell. She and her family fled Vietnam as refugees, ending up in a refugee camp in Malaysia before transferring to Australia as new migrants through a relative sponsorship program.

It’s a story she is happy to share, but she is equally happy to help others tell their own stories.

Christine is volunteering at Braeside Park on the Life Stories’ project, which involves her supporting residents to put their memoirs on paper and leave behind a legacy for their children and grandchildren.

“I know from my own experience how important it is to tell my own story, so that people know what I went through with my family, often challenging, often uncertain but eventually one with a happy ending,” Christine said.

“The young generation can learn so much from our seniors about how they carried out their life, the memories they celebrate and the lessons they have learnt. It is a special project, and I am so honoured to be part of something so amazing.”

Christine works full-time as a credit analyst. She was looking for the opportunity to become a volunteer and although she lives a distance from Braeside Park, she jumped at the chance to meet and work with residents at the retirement village.

Older people have always inspired Christine, teaching her what to value, what not to worry too much about, and to enjoy life before the time passes.

“They are great companions; I appreciate the chance to listen. We can learn so much when we are silent, and some older people make me laugh with joy.”

For her, the chance to link with Braeside Park has allowed her to open her eyes to an Australia she is unfamiliar with, as well as learn more about different cultures and values.

“We should celebrate life regardless how difficult or challenging it is and the best way is to read someone’s bibliography and realise they have overcome such an amazing life even if it’s a simple life.”

I love the ‘magimix’ of people who make up the community and that it is a safe and happy place to live. - Jo Portlock

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