A first for the Muslim community in Sydney, Muslim Aid Australia (MAA) brought a VR experience to the stage at their Local Launch. MAA also provided a space for community members to share their opinions on local problems to solve.*

On 4th June, MAA took over the Bryan Brown Theatre in Bankstown for their local launch, with a series of engaging talks by leaders in their fields, an interactive workshop, and an immersive VR experience that virtually took the viewer straight to the field.
Internationally, MAA has long approached aid from the perspective of providing long-term solutions (alongside emergency relief in response to tragedies). At the local launch, MAA CEO, Sheikh Hassan Elsetohy, announced that they will now be bringing their “Smart Sustainable Solutions” to Australia.

P1030099Dr Mohamad Abdalla, Professor at the School of Humanities at Griffith University, emphasised the need to work locally and alongside youth by providing spaces for them to flourish. As one of their first local projects, MAA are taking on this challenge by working with Moustafa Sanoussi, CEO of The Garden Cemetery; a first-of-its-kind cemetery for Muslims that will be built based on permaculture principles, guided by permaculture design expert Geoff Lawton.

MAA is partnering with The Garden Cemetery to enable young men to get their hands dirty, reconnect with nature, and not only improve the lives of the youth through physically engaging activities, but to also build an essential service for the Muslim community in Sydney.

P1020905One of the highlights of the launch was an interactive workshop run by Peter Gould, a creative entrepreneur, facilitating meaningful discussion on the issues that are faced by the local community.  One team focused on how to build stronger and more meaningful connections in a hyper (digitally) connected world. A few ideas on how to resolve this issue involved building an inclusive MAA community, community gardens, and welcoming isolated members of the community.
A young male attendee in his late 20’s who also participated in the workshop shared that in all his time going to numerous Islamic events, he had never been asked to actively share his ideas to a group of people. He said he felt welcomed and refreshed by being provided the platform to contribute.

Peter stated that, “the participants in the workshop had a lot to say and share. By facilitating a positive co-creation atmosphere in the community, MAA is probably the first Australian Muslim charity that is embracing local concerns and needs directly.” 
Learn more about Muslim Aid Australia by checking out their website: muslimaid.org.au where you can help  *Break The Cycle*  of poverty this Ramadan.