Vietnamese club offers friendship

When widow Thu Hoang's children flew the nest, she turned to the Illawarra Indo-Chinese Aged Group to stave off her loneliness.

The Vietnamese club for the elderly offered her friendship and comfort.

"When I come here I have friends to talk to and I play bingo," she said.

The group will celebrate its 30th anniversary with lunch, games, music and dancing in Gwynneville's Senior Citizen Hall on Wednesday.

Co-ordinator Gai Ta said it was a struggle to conclude the meetings.

"They are supposed to leave at 1.30 to get on the bus, but they always say five more minutes," she said.

The group began when Quan Tran gathered a few lonely middle-aged Vietnamese refugees for weekly meetings in the 1980s.

The 71-year-old worked at the Fairy Meadow Hostel and witnessed the older refugees struggle to participate in Australian society.

"One day I looked through the window and saw four or five aged people standing at the fence talking together, but very sad," she said.

"They couldn't communicate to other people, it was a different country and they didn't have anything for their own."

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