A multilingual DVD series portraying the daily reality of dementia has won the grand award at the prestigious National Multicultural Marketing Awards.

The DVD It’s not a disgrace – its dementia, produced by Why Documentaries for the Multicultural Communities Council of Illawarra, beat off competition from top-line marketing professionals around the nation to win the 21st annual award.

NSW Premier, Kristina Keneally and Minister for Citizenship, John Hatzistergos both attended the gala dinner in Sydney organized by the Community Relations Commission of NSW.

Congratulating the winner of the grand award, the Chair of the Commission, Stepan Kerkyasharian, who founded the Awards in 1990, said:

“This is impressive work on a very sensitive and serious issue. It seems that those skills which many clever Australians have developed to market goods and services in a multicultural market have been put to wonderful use in helping us all to accept and understand dementia, as something we can manage.

“Not only are we a multicultural society, we are an ageing multicultural society. Many people who migrated here in the Fifties, for example, will already be at an advanced age.

“We need to know how to take care of these pioneers, especially those who took on the hard work of building this nation’s economy in the Snowy Mountain Scheme, in the steel works and on the land growing sugar, tobacco and grapes.

“This DVD series acknowledges that in understanding and dealing with dementia, cultural factors do come into play.

“Each of the productions, in Portuguese, Serbian, Arabic and Ukrainian, were filmed entirely in the community language and that, of course, immediately inserts the cultural variants into the discussion.

“Dementia sufferers tell their own stories and they are backed up by family carers, bilingual doctors, specialists, health workers, religious leaders and community care-professionals.

“The discs deal with cultural understanding and traditions in relation to ageing. Even taboo subjects such as curses and superstitions are discussed, in an attempt to demystify the illness and bring greater understanding and acceptance within individual communities.

“This is a fantastic job of communication at a very professional level, for little money”, Mr Kerkyasharian said.

“What we are creating here to meet the needs of people from specific cultural backgrounds will probably also work in the home country, or in other places where there is a community of that background. That means we can export our ideas and our solutions. We know that some of that has happened in the case of AIDS prevention work.

“The Illawarra Multicultural Communities Council is already looking at export opportunities. Full marks must go to them as a community organisation in a regional area for doing a thoroughly professional marketing task which takes multicultural marketing well beyond simple translations of a brochure written in English”, Mr Kerkyasharian concluded.

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