Font size

In response to COVID-19, we're continuing to adapt our operations. View our latest COVID-19 updates.

VTMH August Seminar 2022

“Nuestras Voces”: A powerful reflection on the strengths and resilience of immigrants


Wednesday, 31 August 2022


Online via Zoom
— details to be sent to registrants in advance


3.00pm - 4.00pm



Event image




Dr. Trini Abascal – Co-founder and Director of Latin Stories Australia and Research and Evaluation Coordinator at Family Life

Rafaela Lopez OAM – Anthropologist and Historian

Cristy Abela – Co-founder and Board Director of Latin Stories Australia and Senior Policy Adviser at Essential Services Commission



The “Nuestras Voces” project is an initiative of Latin Stories Australia and was funded by the Victorian Government with the aim of increasing understanding of the migrant and refugee experiences, through the eyes of the Spanish-speaking communities’ members who arrived in Melbourne between the 1960s and 1980s.

This project is centred on social harmony and connection. It explores migrant and refugee settlement themes such as: settlement challenges, the refugee voice, multiculturalism and the transformational experience of education and opportunities for migrants and the experiences of the seniors.

One of the deliverables of the project was a documentary film which is a powerful reflection on the strength and resilience of migrants.

About the speakers

Dr. Trini Abascal – Trini is one of the Co-founders and Directors of Latin Stories Australia and a Research and Evaluation Coordinator at Family Life. Trini is passionate about inclusion and social justice which is reflected in her work and the projects she develops and delivers, as part of Latin Stories Australia. She has over six years’ experience managing community projects; eight years’ experience conducting research activities and over two years’ experience undertaking evaluation on community-based projects across a diverse range of population groups.

Rafaela Lopez OAM – Rafaela is an anthropologist and historian who has a diverse professional background, having worked in social research and community services for close to four decades. This includes Migrant and Refugee settlement, Disability Support, Aged Care Services, Community Housing, Women’s Health Programs and Domestic Violence Services.

She has published many articles, particularly in relation to immigrant issues including issues for Hispanics living in Australia. In the early 1980s, whilst part of the Executive Committee of the Spanish Latin American Welfare Centre (CELAS now UNITED), Rafaela was part of a group of Spanish, Latin Americans, and Australians who responded to the needs of highly traumatised recently arrived refugees, whose countries were under right-wing dictatorship (Chile, Uruguay and Argentina) or undergoing a Civil War (El Salvador) and established the Foundation for Survivors of Torture and Trauma. Now known simply as Foundation House and now working with Australians of all backgrounds.

Rafaela’s community contribution has been recognised, with a number of awards, by the Federal as well as the Victorian Governments including the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for her ‘long-term contribution to the Victorian Community’.

Cristy Abela is a senior Policy Adviser at the Essential Services Commission, which is the economic independent regulator of water, electricity and transport of the Victorian Government. Cristy is working on the State’s Water Price Review. She came to Melbourne in 2011 to study her Masters of Environment at Melbourne University. She loves the Mornington Peninsula and watching Australian sunsets. She is the Director of the board and co-founder of Latin Stories Australia. 


VTMH seminars are open to individuals, from all disciplines and working in all sectors, who are based in Australia and interested in diversity and mental health.  

Please note, Trybooking is no longer supported by Internet Explorer so you will have to use another web browser such as Google Chrome, in order to make your booking.