The Islamic Women’s Association of Australia (IWAA) has opened its doors in Sydney, signalling a period of growth for the not for profit organisation. 

Delivering its aged care services and a host of supporting programs for people from Islamic and culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, IWAA now operates in Queensland and New South Wales, and currently employs more than 100 staff.

IWAA Director, Galila Abdelsalam, said her dream is for IWAA to be accessible when, and where, people need it most.

“After identifying a number of unmet needs for Muslim Women, I founded the Islamic Women’s Association of Queensland (IWAQ) in 1991,” she said

“When IWAQ first started it aimed at helping migrants and refugees to settle in Australia. Since then it has extended its services to include aged care and disability services, leadership development, support for women experiencing g domestic Violence including Respectful relationship classes in schools and support for young vulnerable men who might be at risk of radicalisation,” she further added.

Galila Abdelsalam

IWAA provides both home based and respite care and acts to reduce feelings of isolation, depression and loneliness which can result from language and intergenerational barriers, whilst optimising freedom and independence, as well as establishing an enhanced quality of life.

“By encouraging people from all different religions and cultures to access our aged care services and attend our programs, we hope to dispel the myths rampant in society,” Ms Abdelsalam said.

“Expanding into New South Wales means we can touch more people’s lives,” she said.

“Studies have shown that older people who have English as a second language, often tend to revert to their native tongue, meaning it is imperative we have ample trained Home Care Employees available for support,” Ms Abdelsalam said.

IWAA currently employs 120 Home Care Employees from diverse backgrounds, speaking 25 different languages, and its Sydney expansion means more staff are needed.

Talking about her work in a linguistically and culturally diverse community Ms Abdelsalam said, “The top languages from carers that are in demand are Arabic, Bosnian, Hindi, Urdu and Farsi, and over the past year, we’ve also needed to recruit and match carers to new and emerging communities from countries such as Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq and Pakistan.”

IWAQ provides a range of services and programs which are tailored specifically to meet individual needs. Expressions of interest for both care packages and employment are now open. Email admin@iwaq.org.au for more information.