Brisbane hosted its first Ana and Vlade Divac Humanitarian Foundation cocktail evening fundraiser
International Basketball star Vlade Divac was back in Australia to raise money for his humanitarian projects as part of the Ana and Vlade Divac Foundation.
For the first time this Cocktail Fundraiser was held in Brisbane on Thursday, 30 January at the FireWorks Gallery in conjunction with Theme and Variations Piano Services and 'balkanbeatsbrisbane'. This fundraiser, as all such humanitarian endeavours held on behalf of the Divan Foundation, will enable better living conditions for the refugee families and internally displaced people in Serbia. 'Collective Centres' were established 20 years ago as a safe alternative to a war zone but now in 2014 the living conditions are no longer considered acceptable and funds raised will provide housing for the remaining 143 (out of 515) families still in these centres.
It was Serbian-born, Australian-based, internationally renowned operatic mezzo soprano Milijana Nikolic, who was so moved by the organisation's mission for improving the lives of those still affected by the war, that she initiated this Brisbane fundraising event. "I lived in Serbia at the time of the last war and understand the feeling of hopelessness and the struggle for survival", she said. "I also know what it means when you give someone a new chance that may forever change their life for the better and that's why I wanted to support the Ana and Vlade Divac Foundation". Milijana and her husband, Italian-Australian tenor, Rosario La Spina performed arias from the opera Carmen and Rigoletto, as well as popular Italian canzone and selected works by Serbian composers at the successful cocktail evening, which gathered a diverse crowd, including many Serbian young adults.
"In the last two years I have met so many wonderful people in Australia, both from the Serbian Diaspora and people born in Australia", said Vlade Divac, former NBA player, who always looks forward to returning to Australia. "With your help, we managed to provide homes for 505 families in Serbia". He greatly enjoyed the ability to meet people for the first time in Brisbane and making even more friends in Australia. His Grace Bishop Irinej of the Metropolitanate of Australia and New Zealand added to the evening with his presence and by speaking from his personal experience in witness to the many accomplishments of the Divac Foundation. Also present was Ms Ana Koeshall, Director of the Ana and Vlade Divac Foundation from Belgrade. The evening was graciously hosted by Danica Majstorovic and Michael Eather, owners of the Fireworks Gallery. The guests enjoyed a wonderful selection of traditional Serbian food and drinks, followed by a Silent Auction.