Our journey has been very interesting since we met in our Greek lecture at Melbourne University in 1993, full of dreams and aspirations for the future. Our friendship stemmed from our love for the Greek culture. However, we also shared a passion for learning, both pursuing careers in education.
It wasn’t until we had children of our own that we decided to change direction, venture into the unknown and pave another path. As parents, it was imperative that our Greek language and culture play a major role in the upbringing of our children. We mostly spoke Greek to them in the first years. It was when they started 3 year old kindergarten and were immersed in the English language that they stopped using Greek with us. They wanted to be like the other kids. They couldn’t see the relevance. Panic set in at this point! We couldn’t wait another 2 years to send them to Greek school. They needed a Greek activity to identify with peers who shared their background. They needed to keep up the language through stories, craft and music.
This desperation to hang onto our heritage led to the birth of the Zouzounia Program. Our own little ‘zouzounia’ were our inspiration!
We have now been running Greek language programs for over 12 years with our first group of students approaching VCE. We continue to be inspired by our own children as well as our students and their families who are committed not only to learning the language, but also to developing a strong connection with our culture and a sense of pride of our heritage.
Mary & Evie