Muslim Women Association

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Public Awareness Campaign


Celebrating Mothers

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The mother is the foundation of the family, and the Muslim Women’s Associations’ Linking Hearts Support Service decided to celebrate the mother in all her forms with the Celebrating Mothers Linking Hearts Morning Tea on the morning of Friday 12th May 2017.

Linking Hearts, officially known as Canterbury Bankstown Multicultural Homelessness and Domestic Violence Support Service, is the primary provider of CALD specific services for families, including men, women and children in relation to homelessness and DV support in the Sydney region.

 

Understandably, Linking Hearts sees many people come through the service, and a distinguishing factor of all families, is the role that the mother provides in guiding herself and her family towards support, strength and empowerment.

For this reason, and due to the endless strength of the resilient women that come through the Linking Hearts service, the Linking Hearts team decided to hold an event that would truly celebrate them, their efforts, their struggles, as well as their achievements, and how far they have come in all aspects of their lives.

The Morning Tea was enjoyed by over 40 women and children, all of whom are at different stages of life. There were women who had only been with Linking Hearts for a few days, having escaped violent relationships, and seeking safety and support with Linking Hearts. And there were women who had been with Linking Hearts for over two years, who are now confident in who they are and the direction that their life is headed. It was these women, who can now acknowledge the pain they have gone through and the strength that they have, who were able to provide inspiration and encouragement to the women who are just starting to come out of the depths of pain, confusion, and struggle.

The morning was made up of a few presentations aimed at acknowledging the strength and resilience of all the women present. The women were also honoured to meet and interact with Sophie Cotsis, Member for Canterbury, who spoke words of strength and appreciation.

The women were gifted with a number of carefully chosen items as a gesture of appreciation and acknowledgement. These included special care packages that had been put together by MWA’s SAYIT Girls Youth Group, where girls aged between 6 and 16 years old spent a whole term, designing bags, making special items, collating useful products, and designing and writing their own cards, to be presented to women and children who were facing or had faced adversity due to domestic violence and/or homelessness.

The cards brought smiles as well as tears to the faces of the women, with messages like “life needs you”, “just have faith in yourself”, and “you are special” being lifted off the pages as the women read them through tears in their eyes and smiles shining on their faces.

The women were also gifted with an individual red rose enveloped in black paper, and as one of the women put it, these roses represented the light blooming from the darkness. The women reflected on how the roses signified the darkness of the life that they were in but how now they were headed towards a beautiful bright future. The roses were kindly donated by Michael Lavilles, CEO of Beyond Travel in Surry Hills, who wanted to extend a gesture of appreciation to some of the most vulnerable members of our community.

It was truly a morning of love, appreciation, kindness and strength as these resilient women gathered to be themselves without fear, and acknowledge the inner strength that they have displayed. All of the Linking Hearts team were left inspired by these women and motivated to continue supporting the people in the community with respect, love, and compassion.

 

 

Last Updated on Friday, 19 May 2017 12:14
 

Launch of Linking Hearts: Supporting Families Together

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The United Muslim Women Association (MWA) was excited to launch Linking Hearts: Canterbury Bankstown Multicultural Family Homelessness Support Service at Haldon House Function Centre in Sydney's South West on Tuesday 24th March 2015.

 

Linking Hearts, a new service supporting individuals and families in need, was launched by NSW Minister for Family and Community Services Gabrielle Upton, and NSW Minister for Citizenship and Communities Victor Dominello.

 

Linking Hearts is a new innovative program that builds on strong interagency relationships to provide holistic and culturally sensitive support options for those at greatest risk of homelessness.  Linking Hearts is a program funded under the NSW Department of Family and Community Services Going Home Staying Home reforms.

 

Ms Upton said the Linking Hearts program will provide support for individuals and families from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds who are at risk of homelessness.

 

“I welcome this new program aimed at helping to ensure the most vulnerable in society, including new migrants and refugees, are able to access the services they need regardless culturally and linguistic background,” Ms Upton said. “In particular I pay tribute to the Muslim Women’s Association, led by Maha Abdo OAM, for its dedication to supporting migrant families, especially women and children, across Sydney at risk of homelessness and domestic violence.”

 

Mr Dominello said Linking Hearts would provide culturally-appropriate services for individuals at risk of homelessness, including women and children escaping domestic and family violence and refugees requiring crisis care accommodation. “We’re one of the most culturally diverse societies in the world, so it’s important that we have specialist migrant homelessness services - where the staff understand the culture, speak the language and have strong links to the community,” he said.

Ms Joumana Harris, President of the MWA, stated "The MWA is excited to be leading this initiative.  Linking Hearts draws together a number of agency providers to work together to bring a better outcome for our clients.  We are pleased to be able to leverage off our strong interagency relationships to deliver a key platform of the Going Home Staying Home reforms."

 

Working with the MWA on this key initiative will be our key partners:

  • BaptistCare NSW and ACT
  • Creating Links (NSW) Ltd
  • Southern Sydney Women’s Therapy Centre Inc
  • Domestic Violence Service Management
  • Metro Assist Inc.

 

Ms Maha Abdo, Executive Officer of the MWA, stated, "The need for emergency and crisis support in the community is growing and crosses cultural and social barriers.  For the first time, through Linking Hearts, we have a support service that also crosses these very same boundaries."

 

The MWA, with over 30 years experience in supporting the community, is excited to be leading this evolution of support services in NSW.

 

To read the ABC News article on the Linking Hearts launch please click here.

Last Updated on Thursday, 02 July 2015 11:35
 

MWA Media Release 1st October 2014

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Muslim women shocked at attacks on religious dress

 

The Muslim Women Association notes recent comments by several members of the Australian parliament that once again place the spotlight on Muslim women’s dress.

 

The Muslim Women Association finds these comments exceptionally offensive as they imply that Muslim women’s dress is associated with criminal elements in society. Worse still is that such statements imply that Muslim women’s dress is “not Australian enough” to be accepted in public.

 

“Such statements are at best ignorant and at worst a deliberate attempt to target the Australian Muslim community. It is extremely disturbing that the Prime Minister has not shown real leadership on this issue.” said Ms Abdo.

 

To read the media release please click here.

 

SBS Radio Interview with MWA Executive Officer

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Below is a summary of an interview with MWA Executive Officer Maha Abdo on SBS Radio Arabic on 27 May 2014

 

The Muslim Women Support Centre (MWSC) has been providing support services to Muslim women and their families who are experiencing domestic and family violence for the last 25 years.

 

However, the sector is currently undergoing some changes and about six months ago we submitted our prequalification application for all services within the domestic and family violence support area. We then submitted our service model application, and we are still waiting to hear back from the government if we will be approved for funding for our service or not.

 

This is after 25 years of providing this service specifically supporting Muslim women experiencing domestic and family violence. The whole sector is actually quite perplexed at the current state.

 

There is a need to do a mapping exercise within the broader NSW area so that we can see exactly which areas need the most support and specifically what type of support is needed.

 

We need to ensure that those who are funded to support children and young people are developing and implementing appropriate programs that will have an everlasting effect.  We need preventative measures, as opposed to bandaid solutions.

 

Our concern is with the families that may no longer be supported, where are they supposed to go if everything is streamlined and they don’t have a Muslim specific service with years of experience to cater for them, and understand their specific needs?

 

We hope there is cooperation between the existing organisations and the government to ensure the best outcome for those directly effected by domestic and family violence, the women and children.

 

I also participated in the Walk for Respect, in Lakemba last Saturday the 24th May and was truly a walk of unity. Different races, colours, religions, and walking together with the clear message of strength in unity. It was an action of true respect, a sense of respect with sincerity for those around you. It was a beautiful day, a truly Australian experience, with real respect for our indigenous community, a buzzing and vibrant family atmosphere and all walking strong and united, with a sense of peace and community.

 

 

The complete interview can be found on the SBS Arabic Radio Website:

http://media.sbs.com.au/audio/arabic_140526_338116.mp3

Please Note: The interview is in Arabic

 

MWA Media Release 3rd April 2014

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The Muslim Women’s Association has expressed outrage at the actions of an anti-Islamic hate group which posted a photo on its social media page on April 1 of a Muslim woman wearing a hijab and captioned it with extremely negative and derogatory comments.

The woman was photographed by a person sitting opposite her on the train as she was on the way to work. She was unaware that she was being photographed. The person then posted a photograph of the Muslim woman on a Facebook page belonging to a group whose main aim is to instigate hate against Australian Muslims.. The caption of the photograph was not only extremely offensive and insulting but also vilifying of the woman in the photograph as well as Australian Muslim women more generally.

To read the media release please click here.

Last Updated on Thursday, 03 April 2014 22:22
 
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