Indian origin OZ sisters sing national anthems of 193 countries in 6 hours to spread the message of world peace.
What have you done on this World Peace Day, the 21st of September? You must be taking a resolution that you will be responsible to maintain peace in your surroundings if you were some society-conscious or peace-loving person. Otherwise, you must have just sat and wondered where is peace even existing in this world. If you are no where between these two, you must not even have known about the World Peace Day. Well, here is some interesting information waiting for you about sisters from Kerala who have settled in Australia, and who have been working for the cause of establishing a peaceful and secured world. They have been doing their best ever since childhood to work for a cause that today’s world is in dire need of.
For nine years now, two sisters who live in Brisbane have been practising singing and memorizing national anthems of countries across the world. They are Teresa and Augnes whose father Joy K Mathew was a part of the Malayalam film industry in Kerala. Their mother Jaquiline Joy is a nurse. As he spent a few years in Kuwait, Teresa studied there till Grade 3, post which they returned to Thycattussery, Kerala and Teresa pursued her studies in St. Mary of Leuca English Medium School, while Augnes studied there till Grade 3. In 2008, Joy shifted to Australia with his family and Jaquiline works at the Clinter Park Nursing Home. Currently, Teresa, 21 years old, is a third-year graduate student pursuing Criminology and Psychology at Griffith University, Queensland, and Augnes, 18 years old, is a Grade 12 student at the Calamvale Community College. Joy wanted his children to learn something different. When he thought about it, he noticed how National Anthems bring people together and thus wanted them to learn the national anthems of different countries. "National anthems bring people together. I waited for Augnes and Teresa to grow up, and when they were in Year 3 and 6 respectively, I started teaching them. We have given them the opportunity to learn from musicians around the globe," he said. “Our dad guides us to learn the national anthems. He is leading us along the path, while our mum looks after everything related to school and college,” Augnes said. Joy also has got his daughters trained taking every detail into consideration by arranging musicians from different countries who would help the girls with the right pronunciation and meaning.
National Anthems To Advocate Peace:
Having said that they have been practising the national anthems of various countries for the past nine years, the two sisters can now sing the anthems of 245 countries and territories by heart. On 21st September 2021, on the occasion of International Day of Peace, also known as World Peace Day, Teresa and Augnes sang the national anthems of 193 countries at an event hosted by the United Nations Association of Australia at St John’s Cathedral in Brisbane. The Indian-origin sisters sang the national anthems of the 193 sovereign states, the members of the United Nations in alphabetical order, starting with Afghanistan. Augnes and Teresa not only learnt the national anthems by heart, they have also read and understood the stories behind them. "We enjoy learning all about these anthems, their meanings, who wrote them and other interesting information,” Teresa said. The sisters took six hours to complete their singing. “We were only allowed an interval of 20 minutes,” Teresa mentioned. The record attempt that happened in Brisbane in the presence of government representatives, representatives from various countries and dignitaries of the United Nations Association, was originally scheduled to take place in 2020, firstly in the United States and then in the UAE, was cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak. After their performance, the sisters were presented with a ‘Record Breakers’ certificate from the Australian Book of Records and a 2021 World Record certificate from the Universal Records Forum for singing the national anthems of 193 countries in 100 languages by heart.
Clem Campbell OAM, of the United Nations Association of Australia's Queensland Division, who coordinated the event on International Day of Peace, said, "The young people will be our future leaders. They will have to save our world. And it is very important we support all young people who are there, promoting peace, promoting understanding of the environment, and appreciating climate change”. Talking about breaking the records, Augnes Joy said that their aim was not to set records but it was world peace. “Our actual aim is world peace. We are singing because national anthems are the binding source for citizens
of a nation irrespective of social, economic or political differences. This is just the beginning of our journey,” Augnes Joy said. Teresa further added saying, "Our intention is not world records or any rewards. We have actually been working for the last nine years towards world peace”.
Record-breaking Was Just The By-product Of A Bigger Cause:
This time, if you think that the sisters have sung the national anthems for setting the record, then we should tell you how this duo have sung the national anthems to create a sense of oneness and harmony during the pandemic in 2020. They contacted the cultural organizations in some countries that bore worse effects of pandemic like Italy, France, and Cuba. They sang the national anthems of these countries, recorded messages in each language to console people who are in distress. “We were overjoyed to learn that people were incredibly happy to listen to us and some people rang us to express their gratitude. They even invited us to their countries after the world re-opens. It gave us a real boost,” Augnes said. Moreover, the duo also started the Augnes and Teresa Peace Foundation (ATPF) to assist women and children in need around the world. They are in plans to conduct stage shows internationally once the pandemic eases. “Once the world is open, we wish to organise international stage shows across the globe. Any remuneration or sponsorship we receive will be channelled through charities or organisations who provide aid to those most vulnerable,” said Teresa. “We also aim to use these funds for the empowerment of women and children. We have already received invitations from many countries to stage events,” added Augnes. The sisters have also authored a book named “Inspiring Journey” that describes their nine-year journey spreading peace through singing. The book that was written in English is being translated into languages like Spanish, Chinese, and French and shall be published next year.
Unique idea, isn’t it? That’s what the world needs today. More than food and shelter, people across the globe need promise – the promise of seeing a peaceful sunrise tomorrow. We wish Teresa and Augnes succeed in their attempt to spread peace in the world and may we and our coming generations live in harmony.
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