2020 was, and still is, a year in which the world faced an unprecedented crisis – the COVID-19 pandemic. During this difficult period our thoughts went to our families and our friends, both near and far, and to the medical staff all over the world who continue to fight bravely so as to save as many lives as possible.
Like many other organisations, CO.AS.IT. had to quickly adapt the way its services were delivered. The main changes in our operations this year reflect our response to the conditions imposed by the lockdown restrictions.
Our area managers, working from home, continued coordinating the activity of our care workers, who kept on looking after people in their homes, providing personal and other services as required. We ensured that our support care workers were at all times thoroughly equipped for COVID-19, both through training in stringent hygiene and sanitation protocols and through the use of protective equipment.
CO.AS.IT. is managing the activities that used to take place in our community centres and the home visits program. Although it has not been possible to meet in person, our work continued all the same. We have been in touch with our community every day by telephone, Skype, FaceTime, Zoom and WhatsApp, reaching out with a friendly voice and offering a series of activities designed to counteract the social isolation connected with the restrictions. From the beginning, we first supported and then ran relief programs for Italian citizens temporarily residing in Australia.
Our activities promoting the Italian language and culture were also adapted to meet the Government’s directives. We continued organising and delivering courses for adults and Doposcuola classes, initially in schools and subsequently via distance and online learning. We continue to support schools with a series of distance programs, including sending out resources to teachers and producing videos and podcasts to support teaching. The Italian Language Assistants program went ahead in 2020 with staff recruited locally.
In the cultural sector, as well as working to extend the Diaspore italiane initiative through further international conferences, we have presented several online events and are working on innovative multimedia projects.
The Italian Resource Centre remains the foremost hub for Italian teachers in Victoria, and the Italian Historical Society, which has just turned 40, continues to work remotely on ongoing projects and collecting historical material. Hopefully we will be able to celebrate this together soon. The Museo Italiano will reopen as soon as feasible, with the appropriate safety measures, to celebrate its 10th anniversary.
To sum up, while working in a different way as we enter a new phase of evolution and innovation, we are continuously seeking opportunities to develop our offer of quality services.
I wish to acknowledge the Australian Government for its support to our organisation for its services to the elderly (Aged Care), the Italian Government for its ongoing commitment through its Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the promotion of the Italian language and culture abroad, and the Victorian Government for the new agreement with CO.AS.IT. regarding the teaching of the Italian language. Together we have been able to maintain high quality, people-focused services, and to support the teaching of Italian in schools through the Language Assistants program and through distance learning.
This year CO.AS.IT. has worked hard to minim and continues to work hard done during the year and what it is currently doing; it describes our efforts and ongoing commitment, and illustrates the positive results attained. This account inspires me, in my capacity as President, to thank all our staff and volunteers for their ongoing work supporting our elderly and promoting the Italian language and culture. This account also inspires me to thank all those who choose to use our services.
CO.AS.IT. worked hard to minimize the impact of this pandemic across all our services. We put in place all the necessary measures to keep supporting you, your loved ones and the broader community, whilst safeguarding everyone’s wellbeing.
Prof. Mauro Sandrin
President of CO.AS.IT.
We have collated some information and useful resources regarding Covid-19, please find them below.
Letter from the CEO Marco Fedi to our Aged Care Services clients:
General information on Covid-19: