South Asian Muslim Association of Australia (SAMAA) celebrated its Annual Event ‘Jashn-e-Buzurg’ at Bowman Hall, Blacktown on 15 April 2018.

A large number of SAMAA elders, their families,  several dignitaries, health experts, representatives from Aged Care Agencies and Providers, SAMAA volunteers and friends, packed the hall and participated in the activities with much enthusiasm.

The Programme commenced with a recitation from the Holy Quran by Maulana Nazir ul Hassan Thanvi. He described the significance of serving one’s parents in particular and elders in general. He emphasized that any financial donations to support organisations such as SAMAA, who were committed to serving elders, would please Allah and He would reward such pious acts.

Popular Sydney singer, Riyaz Shah recited a Naat in honour of Holy Prophet. Mrs Shaheen Firdose, in her role as MC, introduced the speakers and continued to inspire audience for supporting SAMAA.

NSW MP Mr Jihad Dib applauded selfless SAMAA team members and it’s office bearers as they did not event want their names to be mentioned.

He said that this spirit shows that they are doing the great work for their reward by Allah in true Islamic spirit. He thanked elders for their life long contributions towards the society.

The Hon Phillip Ruddock, the senior and highly respectable Federal politician, was pleased to return to SAMAA platform, as he had attended several SAMAA events over past few years.

He applauded great contributions from leaders in migrant communities, including Jihad Dib and ex-Governor General of NSW.

Mr Ruddock emphasized that South Asian Muslim community needs to build old home facilities to provide a culturally appropriate environment for their elders.

Ms Julia Finn, NSW MP from Granville spoke about her own experiences with aged people and how SAMAA’s work was valuable in supporting South Asian Muslim Elders.

Moulana Dr Shabbir Ahmad, in his dua, sought Allah’s blessings in the great endeavour of SAMAA and emphasized the importance of its work in meeting the challenges Muslim elders face in Australian environment.

Two SAMAA seniors Mr Adib Qureshi and Mrs Tanveer Rizvi launched SAMAA souvenir which was published to mark the occasion.

It contained messages from NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian, Shadow Minister for Multicultural Australia Tony Burke, Parramatta MP Julie Owens, articles from Age Care industry and from health experts as well as an Urdu section, which included articles from local writers including Mrs Kaneez Fatima Ali and Mr Rehan Alavi.

Also gracing the occasion were the Consul General of Pakistan Mr Abdul Majid Yousafani, Mrs Marta Terracciano, Chairperson of the ECCNSW, Sr Galila Abdel Salam, Head of IWAA and Shaikh Yousuf Hasan from Islamic Relief.

A short video filmed by SAMAA volunteer Mr Abbas Zaheer featured selected SAMAA elders and their carers expressing their experiences of old age and how SAMAA helped them through volunteering services and other programmes.

The major service provider Uniting, who has been serving SAMAA elders as part MoU it had signed with SAMAA, had a stall with plenty of brochures, information booklets and resource material.

Mr Zahid Jamil on behalf of SAMAA said that Other than SAMAA’s volunteering programmes which need funds to run, SAMAA aims to build capital projects.

As a first step, SAMAA aims to build a Respite Centre. This will help full-time carers to seek respite at times (say 1-2 days a week or fortnight) from their caring duties. This will also help elderly to have a time out from their monotonous life at home. They will live in the Respite Centre for short periods in the company of their contemporaries and enjoy the change.

He further stated that whilst Australian Government does offer Grants to build Aged Care Facilities for various Ethnic Communities, those Grants were only available if the Ethnic Community had its own land.

Once land is owned by the Ethnic Community, the government would generally give 50% of the construction costs. Mr Jamil emphasized the need for more generous & more realistic donations from our community if this dream is ever to materialise.

The fundraising was conducted by Dr Sikander Khan, Mrs Shaheen Firdose, Mr Hassan Qureshi, Mr Syed Afzal Hussain, Mr Zahid Jamil accompanied by many volunteers on the floor including Mr Shahid Alvi, Mr Farooq Jan, Mrs Champa Alvi, Mr Faiz Ahmad, Mrs Mona Zahid and others.

Auction items were donated by a few SAMAA friends including Mrs Shahnaz Hyder, Mrs Huma Khan, Mr Javed Nazar, Mr Shahid Alvi, Dr Ahad Khan.Mr Farooq Jan, Mr Fazal Fariwala, Mrs Sadaf Rose and others and they were acknowledged at the event.

It needs to be remembered that  South Asian Muslim Association of Australia is listed as a Public Benevolent Institution and donations to SAMAA are Tax Deductible.

The audience enjoyed the South Asian cuisine & the Socialising. The Event ended on a promising note & SAMAA  is heartened by the support it has from South Asian Muslim Community.