When Kim Lan moved to Kensington with her husband and six children, her first impression was that Australia seemed strange compared to Vietnam, however she has called Kensington a peaceful home ever since.
Five of her children still reside in Melbourne with one embarking on the move to Holland.
Kim Lan is the founder of the Kensington Elderly Vietnamese/Indochinese Group.
This group began in 1986-87 when a nun approached Kim Lan at the Doutta Gala Health Centre (now co-health) to join a community health support group. There was a big need for a group to be available to those living in Kensington and surrounding suburbs from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
Kim Lan has always had a passion for helping people and wanted to join the group to help those in her Vietnamese community, and especially those who had moved to Australia for the first time. Many were single mothers who felt isolated due to knowing limited English.
Over the years, Kim Lan has organised camps, outings, hundreds of shared meals, and information sessions. The women who joined in their youth are now in their 80s and 90s and still going strong.
The group that started in 1987 continues to meet today and currently has 32 members. They gather at KNH fortnightly on Thursdays. The group provides the opportunity to take time out, to connect and relax, provide support to each other, share a meal together and learn about keeping on top of their health. When asked what her fondest memories have been with the group, Kim Lan replied: ‘every time I am with the group’. She wants people to know that she will always lend a hand to anyone who needs it.
(Special thanks to Thuy Ho for helping translate Kim Lan’s story to English.)