EOY MWASA Team Lunch

Last week a number of the MWASA Team – including volunteers, staff members and management committee members – gathered to enjoy each others company and some yummy food. 
 
One distinct difference between being a part of a Not for Profit Team as opposed to private commercial enterprise is that not all team members regularly see each other. Some of the tutors only come in to teach their students and go again until next week. Some of the Management Committee work full time and contribute entirely from passion after hours. Some team members are university students and their contributions are especially appreciated during exam times. 
 
It takes special women to make up a dynamic team such as this. The conversation around the tables was fascinating, colourful, multicultural, at times very funny and other times a heavier reflection on academic or unpleasant things. Each woman is an overflowing vessel of life experience and knowledge.
Another of the collective virtues of our team members is the willingness to help women in the community, the very thing that brought us all together. 
 
Not least, we must sing the praises of Pondok Daun on Currie Street. Lunch was ordered and delivered with no fuss. Pondok Daun is an Indonesian restaurant which consistently produces the highest quality meals, from nourishing soups to hearty kway teow to crunchy wontons with the very zingy chilli sauce. 
 
The team looks forward to 2020, to matching every achievement of 2019 and far surpassing it inshaAllah. 
 
If you would like to volunteer with MWASA in 2020, or know someone who would, please go to our Volunteer Page and submit your details.
 

SETS Citizenship Session Specific to Syrians

Recently MWASA hosted a Citizenship Session under the SETS (Settlement Engagement and Transition Support) program, specifically for Syrian clients. The presenter had requested for it to be Syrians only, due to visa differences in clients from Syria and Afghanistan.

The presenter was Okke Velzeboer, from the Department of Home Affairs. Okke is the South Australian Community Liaison Officer in the Citizenship and Multicultural Programs Division. 

The session covered the rights, responsibilities and privileges of being an Australian citizen. Okke also went through the eligibility criteria, application process, documents required, interview and citizenship test and application processing duration.

The ladies enjoyed the session and had lots of questions to ask from the presenter. The session was fun and also very informative and useful as the ladies will soon be eligible to apply for citizenship.

Commemorating 125 years since Suffrage with The Hon Irene Pnevmatikos MLC

Muslim Women’s Association of SA was invited by the Hon Irene Pnevmatikos MLC (Member of the Legislative Council) to tour Parliament House last week, to commemorate the 125th anniversary of women’s suffrage in South Australia.

It was truly a wonderful experience for the women coming from diverse cultural backgrounds. For some it was their first time visiting Parliament House, which is a whole experience from arriving at the front steps through to leaving enriched with historical and political knowledge.

The afternoon was full of learning and discovery.

Thank you, Irene, for hosting us!

Multicultural Community Event hosted by the Hon Jing Lee MLC

Jing Lee’s Multicultural Community Event was a very well attended and successful celebration at the Norwood Town Hall, accompanied by delightful cultural performances.

Amid the big crowd of multicultural community representatives, the Hon Jing Lee was – as always – a warm and welcoming host!

When Premier Marshall took to the stage, he highly commended Jing Lee on her outstanding achievement as the Assistant Minister to the Premier and this was greeted with loud applause.

There were 10 Liberal MPs (Members of Parliament) present at this year’s annual occasion. 

AMRC 2019 AGM

It was truly a privilege to be part of the AMRC (Australian Migrant Resource Centre) AGM (Annual General Meeting) last week.

AMRC have done a great job with the youth. They are all groomed to be future leaders in South Australia as well as in their respective communities.

Well done AMRC!

Students ACE Salad Making

Wow!

Last week the ACE Students engaged themselves in promoting a healthy lifestyle by making a variety of sumptuous mouth watering salads using different combinations of freshly cut vegetables dressed with sauces and spices.

The overall lesson learned during the class was to add a portion of fresh salad vegetables into the daily diet.

The salads were then arranged into a colourful and enticing salad bar. Who doesn’t love a salad bar?!

The students showed a lot of enthusiasm in participating and exhibiting their creativity and skills. In fact, each participant seemed to be a connoisseur of salad owing to her own tastes and blending. 

In short, it was a wonderful get together and a fun activity which shows that our students are not only good in gaining knowledge and learning skills but have the ability of put them into practice with a vibrant performance and presentation.
 

Migration Museum a Must at any Age!

A visit to the Migration Museum was scheduled on 26 September 2019 as part of the CHSP (Commonwealth Home Support Program).

The excursion coincided with the celebration of the 22nd year of the SALA (South Australian Living Artists) Festival, where 8,000 artists participated in 700 exhibitions across Adelaide and regional SA.

Ten members participated in this event.

The group started with a leisurely walk to the Migration Museum. The weather was excellent and the 30 minute walk was good exercise for the seniors.

The Migration Museum offers a range of permanent and temporary exhibitions and activities. The exhibitions that were showcased on the day include:

  • Portraits of Elizabeth explores the migration experience and the resilience of community through the stories of Elizabethans, both past and present.
  • Island Welcome Exhibition explores contemporary jewellery as a gesture of greeting in response to current Australian immigration and refugee policy.
  • Leaving Britain & Establishing South Australia explores what it was like for British settlers making the journey to South Australia and taking the first steps towards building a new colony.

Next, the seniors visited the Art Museum which showcased the exhibition “Love From Damascus: The art of devotion in Islam”. The exhibition explores the divine and worldly aspects of Islamic devotion expressed artistically over one thousand years. 

A Cross Cultural Exploration of Women’s Rights Through Time

One Saturday towards the end of September, MWASA (Muslim Women’s Association of SA) held “A cross-cultural exploration of women’s rights through time to commemorate 125 years of women’s suffrage in SA”. 

The event was held in the Bradley Forum of the Hawke Centre, on the UniSA City West campus. UniSA allows the centre to be used for educational free community events and we acknowledge and thank them for that. 

The event was opened with a lovely Quran recitation from Sister Ulfat. She recited paragraph 35 of the chapter Al Ahzab (known in English as The Confederates) in the original Arabic and then the English translation was shared so that everybody could fully appreciate the meaning. For your convenience we have included the paragraph here. 

Following the Quran recitation, Chairperson Dora Abbas welcomed the gathering with a few dignified words. 

Each speaker of the day was introduced by a supremely elegant MC: Sister Peta Abdalla

The Guest of Honour for this event was Katrine Hildyard MP. Katrine works tirelessly towards bettering the lives of all South Australians. In Katrine’s fight for a fair and inclusive society she has actively encouraged and made space for CaLD women to have their voice heard in parliament. She shared with us a few words about her own personal journey and experiences as a female Member of Parliament. Everyone present was touched by Katrine’s words, she is truly a brave and highly motivated woman. 

Presenting directly on the SA women’s suffrage movement was Mandy Paul. Mandy is Director at the SA Migration Museum and she herself contains an immense wealth of state history. Her speech was accompanied by a slideshow, it was very interesting to put faces to the names of the leading suffragists and their key supporters. Whilst celebrating the achievements of the suffragists, we must acknowledge and respect that the same freedoms were not extended to Aboriginal men and women until much later. We are grateful for and enriched by Mandy’s unbiased talk. 

Presenting a Muslim woman’s perspective on the SA women’s suffrage movement was Melati Lum. Melati Lum is a practising lawyer specialising in public law and criminal prosection, an Australian/Malay/Chinese Muslim mum, and author of the Ayesha Dean mystery series for children. In her spare time, she is working on her next novel for a young adult audience. Melati brought several historical Muslim women to life for the audience by recounting some monumental achievements. There is a misconception that Islam oppresses women, when in reality it is humans who oppress each other and rather Islamic guidelines provide structure where a woman can be heard and be successful with her education and/or business empire. 

Proceedings were concluded with an opportunity for all attendees to network over refreshments. 

Catering

Event Feedback

Everybody had the opportunity to provide feedback after the event. A template was provided asking specifically how satisfied people were with everything from promotions before the event, to the venue and seating, to each of the speeches. We can proudly say that we received 5 out of 5 across the board! 

Event Photos

For more information about the Suffragists

Office for Women Anniversary of Suffrage page

Office for Women Suffrage Fact Sheet

Centre of Democracy Fact Sheet

October Beach Walk

Muslim Women’s Association of SA had scheduled a Sunday afternoon beach walk* as an opportunity for those who are unable to come into the office during the week to come together and chat and get some exercise in the sea breeze. 

MWASA Team member Amanda is a qualified and experienced Personal Trainer. Before the walk Amanda led the group through a short dynamic warm up, while explaining the importance of the movements. Many people stretch before working out and although there are many schools of thought in the fitness world, there is science to suggest that a dynamic warm up consisting of repetitive movements is the safer option, and that the long and slow stretches are best left until the end of the workout. The simple analogy used is that there is a sensor light in the muscle: when the muscle feels motion it is switched on and can protect itself, when there isn’t much motion like in the long and slow stretches, the sensor will switch off to allow the stretch. Like a stretched out piece of elastic that no longer holds things in place, going into a workout with a stretched out muscle can potentially increase the risk of injury. 

During the walk, we talked about daily steps and the devices used to track them. The idea that someone needs to take 10,000 steps every day in order to maintain optimum health has been around for a long time. This walk from Henley Beach Jetty to Grange Jetty and back was around 9,000 steps. This was a good experiment for the ladies to know how the daily steps feel and how long they actually take. 

Upon arriving back at Henley Beach, everyone made straight for the coffee! Although Henley Square was crowded, a large bench became available and the ladies were able to sip on coffee, eat some snacks and chat in the lovely combination of warm sun and fresh, cool breeze. 

One of the mums brought her children and they also had a great time playing, looking for shells on the beach and eating fruit. 

The ladies look forward to more walking and talking in the future! 

*This was a free event for members and their children

 

Recipes of a Youthful Life (SETS)

Immediately following the first Recipes of Life session for Mums earlier this month, the first Recipes of Life session was held with the youth. The program concept remains the same, to support inter-generational relations, however these initial individual sessions can address specific issues that the youth may be facing with settling. 

At the start of the session, as an icebreaker, the girls were asked to prepare a tabouli salad. Everyone in the group shared in the different tasks contributing to the salad, so at the end the dish was named Multicultural Tabouli. 

Through discussion some issues were highlighted in navigating life in a new country. A family that arrived 3 months ago confirmed that they had faced some issues, although most people are very helpful. Another issue mentioned by the girls was finding halal food and clothing. 

This session was well attended with 15 youths attending. The participants said that they enjoyed the session. 

Next session the youth will have more clarity on the purpose of the program and will work on developing the Recipes of Life along with some agreed-upon Tips. 

Suggestions have been made for future programs, such as a gym session or sporting activity. 

Recipes of a Mum’s Life (SETS)

Earlier this month, on the 9th, the first Recipes of Life session was held for Mums. 

The idea behind the Recipes of Life program is to support inter-generational relations and assist with any issues that parents might be experiencing. After individual Mum and youth focus group sessions, the groups will then be combined for the final sessions. Eight sessions in total will be run over the next year. 

The Recipes of Life sessions provide an informal and comfortable environment for Mums to talk.

Natale Rudland Wood from the Dulwich Centre presented in this first session using recipes as a way to spark interest and initiate discussion. 

The session began with everyone smelling different spices that Natale had brought. Natale asked each participant to share their memories that came with the smell. Some of the ladies shared their experiences since leaving Syria and the hardships they faced until reaching Australia. The also spoke about the challenges they face in a new country. 

It was interesting to see how these women have coped with the challenges of life and how they want to be strong for their children. The children have noticed and admired the determination and resilience of their mothers and hopefully in the future would be in a better position to deal with their own challenges. The ladies have shown their determination especially with learning English in order to be independent.

It is absolutely inspiring to learn how circumstances have forced them beyond their previous capabilities, in learning new things in a new country without support. They have learnt survival skills and fought the odds. 

A handful of ladies attended and the intimate size of the group seemed to encourage the ladies to open up a bit more and share more of themselves with the others present. 

The discussions and recipes from the next few sessions will be compiled into a recipe book, that will hopefully assist other new arrivals with tips, advice and stories of bravery. 

What the ladies had to say about this session:

  • It is interesting way of sharing our stories.

  • Not many people know about the things I mentioned today.

Spiritual Support for Seniors

The CHSP (Commonwealth Home Support Program) celebrated last Eid al Adha at the Al Salam Centre, Marion Mosque. This program was the first joint effort between MWASA (Muslim Women’s Association of SA) and ISSA (Islamic Society of South Australia). Twenty seniors attended the event. The venue was big and conducive for the event; the seniors found the venue good and accessible. 

Sister Nurhayatie presented a talk on the Wisdom of Hajj (the pilgrimage to Mecca).

Firstly, she talked about the significance of fasting in the first 10 days of Zulhijjah (the twelfth and final month of the Islamic calendar).

She also quoted the hadith (scriptures detailing the words and actions of Prophet Muhammad SAW*) reported by Abu Qatadah where Prophet Muhammad SAW was asked about fasting on the day of Arafat and Ashura.

Then, she talked about the history of Prophet Muhammad SAW and his trip to Mecca and the beautiful ayah that he would like to convey to his people.

Hajj: As we know it, hajj is the peak of the ibadah (worship) that we can do. It takes a few days to complete it and by taking care of our 5 daily prayers, fasting and charity, hajj will be much more meaningful and special.

Sister Nurhayatie also talked about the last khutba (religious sermon) and the last message from Prophet Muhammad SAW. The participants were very attentive and engaged during the talk. Some shared their experiences from during their Hajj.

The seniors socialized with each other on that day and enjoyed a provided lunch. Flyers for upcoming events were distributed to the seniors on the same day.

Reception by participants:

  • The clients enjoyed the session by Sister Nurhayatie. Some have requested for more talks from her. One of the ladies approached her afterwards and had a private chat with her. One lady had tears in her eyes when Sister Nurhayatie gave her speech.
  • A couple of the ladies were very happy with the talk, stating that although they had read the ayah many times before they only now have full understanding, making it more meaningful.
  • A gentleman was also pleased with the talk, his feedback was that he had enjoyed the talk very much.

*SAW = SalAllahu alayhi wasalam, meaning peace be upon him and usually following the name of Prophet Muhammad 

Australian Reading Hour at MWASA

Australian Reading Hour was held nationally last Thursday 19th of September. Australian Reading Hour is an initiative where on the day everyone is encouraged to read anything anywhere at any time for one hour.

In recognition of the day and of the overall importance of reading to a Muslim, the Muslim Women’s Association of SA put on a loosely book club styled event. Different to conventional book clubs, those attending were able to bring their own choice of book. The ladies spoke about why they chose that book, when they first read it and what it means to them. Most ladies followed up with reading a meaningful passage from the book out aloud to the whole group. As with any other book club, there was a lot of passion. Book readers know: conversation with another book reader is always plentiful, interesting and strongly opinionated.

One of the mums brought The Brave Little Puppy, a book she read when she was younger and was now sharing with her children. The book was reminiscent for everyone present; the group included women and children of different ages and from different cultural and linguistic backgrounds however the author Enid Blyton had bridged all of those divides.

The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart was written by female Australian author Holly Ringland. The story follows Alice Hart who grew up with an abusive father and following a tragic house fire goes to live with her grandmother who is a flower farmer. In years gone past flowers were used as a subtle form of communication, there was a specific meaning behind each type of plant that the giver could convey to the receiver. Each chapter of the book starts with the botanical and common name of a native Australian plant, what conditions it grows in, the meaning behind it and a sketch of how it looks. 

Slaughterhouse-Five was a very thought-provoking science fiction book. The author Kurt Vonnegut was an American soldier who had been deployed in Europe during World War 2 and had been captured by the Germans. He used that experience to write this book about a soldier who experiences trauma and the story is told in a back and forth way, via flashbacks and time travel. 

The type of books brought reflected the diversity of the ladies attending. Whilst each lady was speaking there was a wonderful air of appreciation and empathy from the rest of the group who were listening intently. 

Some books were put on display by the office, for general interest and in case someone forgot their book. 

After the book presentations conversation continued over tea, coffee, donuts, curry puffs, dried fruit and nuts.

It was the common opinion that the ladies look forward to another similar event in the future. 

More information on the pictured books:

The Brave Little Puppy – Enid Blyton

The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart – Holly Ringland

The Girl and the Ghost-Grey Mare – Rachael Treasure

Slaughterhouse-Five, or The Children’s Crusade: A Duty-Dance with Death – Kurt Vonnegut

Appointment with Death – Agatha Christie

Bowled Over in the First Spring Sunshine

Clearview Bowling Club offers both social and competition bowling and is very welcoming throughout the year to individuals and groups that wish to learn the game of bowls. There were 12 CHSP (Commonwealth Home Support Program) members that participated in this lawn bowling activity. 

The weather was sunny and pleasant on the day. Three club members welcomed our group and provided coaching, sharing information about the rules and regulations before starting.

Everyone equally participated in the game and played with great enthusiasm. They enjoyed the bowling session so much that they requested for extended time. 

After bowling, it was time to replenish. Refreshments were provided and the group also brought food to share with each other. 

Overall the feedback was very positive, one Brother can be quoted as saying that “the bowling was a good workout session and that the coaches were very helpful and patient”. 

Getting Older is a Walk in the Garden

A walk to the Botanic Gardens was organised to engage CHSP (Commonwealth Home Support Program) members in healthy activity while also enjoying the beautiful landscapes of the Botanic Gardens. The Adelaide Botanic Garden is a 51 hectare public garden at the north-east corner of the Adelaide city centre, in the Adelaide Park Lands. It encompasses a fenced garden on North Terrace and behind it the Botanic Park. Work was begun on the site in 1855, with its official opening to the public on 4 October 1857.

The weather was sunny and pleasant on the day. Some of the group took a taxi from the office to the Botanic Gardens whilst others made their own way directly to the Garden. Twenty members participated in the session and were accompanied by Sister Sitiurika and Kamaljit. 

Sister Rabia led the walk. The group visited the Lotus Garden, Herb Garden and also the tropical trees garden. The seniors enjoyed the leisure walk as they chatted and caught up with one another and talked about the plants and trees that were found in the tropical garden.

The walk ended near the main gate where everyone sat and rested by the lake and enjoyed sharing their food.

After a short rest, the seniors participated in some knee exercises demonstrated by Sister Rabia. All of the seniors participated in the knee exercises and some have requested for the exercise session to take place before the start of each program.

The visit ended with a group picture to be kept as a reminder of this wonderful outing.