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A cry from the heart

Moreton Bay artist Dr Natalia Balo, an Australian citizen who migrated from the Ukraine in 1995, views the destruction of her native Ukraine with a sense of increasing alarm. An acknowledged world-renowned avian artist, she recently achieved further fame with her bestselling pictorial book Bird Anatomy for Artists being featured in the CSRIO’s prestigious book Feather and Brush- A History of Australian Bird Art by Dr Penny Olsen.

However, notwithstanding this artistic success, Natalia was determined to assist the Ukrainian refugees fleeing from their war-torn homeland to Australia in any way she could. She volunteered to serve as an interpreter with the Australian Translators and Interpreters Service. This service provides much needed language interpretation assistance to newly arrived refugees from all over the world. To assist her in carrying out this important work, she completed an interpreting course with the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, gaining a NAAT certification as an official interpreter.

“In doing this work, I have heard so many horrible stories from these poor, homeless refugees. They relate stories of the depravity, the cruelty and the barbarism meted out to them by Russian soldiers. Watching the destruction of their homes and wondering whether they will ever return, breaks my heart to hear their stories,” says Natalia sadly. “However, all are extremely grateful to the Australian community for their generous support and help.”

While she prays that this terrible war will end soon, she is determined to carry on with her interpreter’s work for as long as its needed.

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