Soon after ‘White Australia ‘ Policy was removed, a large number of South Asian Muslims, mostly Professionals, migrated to Australia during the early 1970’s.
By the turn of the century, most of these very early Migrants were either approaching retirement age or were already retired, & some had reached old age.
It was in September 2007 when a few South Asian Muslim friends with an abundance of Altruism got together and decided to form an organisation, South Asian Muslim Association of Australia dedicated to better serve the Muslim elders in the community.
Over the last four decades, as early settlers to this country, the Muslim Community went through various phases of difficulties and challenges.
Earlier on, there was the challenge of availing ‘Halal’ Meat – then arose the need to seek religious pursuits through building of Mosques.
Then, as the number of school going children grew, the need for imparting Islamic education to children, became an Issue. This quest led to the establishment of Islamic schools. With the growth in population, the need for these facilities is further growing.
The Muslim elders over the last decade, have started facing unforeseen difficulties – faced with health setbacks, they are being admitted to Aged Care Facilities. These facilities are traditionally geared to look after the needs of Anglo-Saxon elders.
These facilities do not cater to the Culturally & Religiously sensitive Needs of the Muslim elders, such as Halal food, Salat and Wudu facilities. Need for Aged Care Facilities & Nursing Homes, which are attuned to the Culturally & Religiously sensitive needs of South Asian Muslim Elders became imperative.
During the twilight years of their lives, the least these elders deserve, is an Atmosphere wherein they live can live, breathe & feel the Spirit of Islam & their Muslim Culture.
With its establishment, SAMAA recruited a Team of young volunteers who are providing yeoman services, such as – taking elders to their appointments with GPs & specialists, grocery shopping , social events, mosques, etc.
These volunteers also assist seniors, offering home cleaning, home cooking, delivery of home-cooked Meals, laundry & general home chores.
Social isolation is a real issue for our Muslim Elders. To overcome this, SAMAA not only sends its volunteers to spend some time with them in their Homes, but it also arranges for these elders to attend social gatherings at picnics and cultural events, on a frequent regularity.
SAMAA Team comprises of many full-time professionals, who are whole-heartedly and generously giving their precious time towards fulfilling the noble aspirations of SAMAA.
They have actively engaged with relevant Government Bodies and Aged Care Agencies, bringing to their knowledge, the specific Religious & Cultural needs of our Muslim elders. SAMAA made a submission to the Productivity Commission as part of the Government inquiry into Aged are. They also signed MOUs (Memorandum of Understanding) with some Aged Care Providers, ensuring that these Providers are able to offer Religiously & Culturally sensitive needs of our Muslim elders.
SAMAA has held numerous Workshops and publishes quarterly Newsletters for the benefit of bringing awareness of Ageing Issues and how to avail various Government Assistance Packages.
SAMAA’s efforts have been able to come to fruition, because of the unflinching support that we receive from the South Asian Muslim Community – they are indeed our True SAMAA Friends.
SAMAA’S efforts have impressed many a Parliamentarian to such an extent, that they have officially acknowledged SAMAA’s efforts, both in NSW Parliament and in the Federal Parliament.
Due to its proven record, SAMAA was able to obtain a Tax Deductibility Status giving an added incentive to Community Members to donate to such a noble cause.
Whilst, SAMAA is arranging Culturally & Religiously appropriate care through current Service Providers, there is a pressing need for our ageing Muslim Community to eventually have its own Aged Care Facility.
SAMAA acknowledges the unending Support we have been receiving from our SAMAA Friends. But, the funds needed to build such a Facility requires ongoing generous donations by the community.
SAMAA’s upcoming event of ‘Jashn-e-Buzurg’ is another attempt to raise Funds for this worthy Cause. Jashn-e-Buzurg will be held at Bowman Hall in Blacktown on Sunday 4 Sept at 12 Noon. Please attend the Function & contribute towards the noble Objectives of SAMAA.
For more information, please contact Zahid Jamil on 0411 114 762 or Robina Yasmin on 0468 409 786.