Abla Tohamy Kadous has been recognised as the NSW 2019 Senior Volunteer of the Year for Mid Western Sydney Region at the NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards Ceremony held on Monday 9 September in Burwood, Sydney.
Abla began volunteering in 1984 where she helped to establish the Muslim Women’s Association. She then went on to establish the Islamic Women’s Welfare Association (IWWA) a not for profit organisation in 2000 of which she is still the current president.
IWWA as an organisation also received an award for being nominated in the category of NSW Volunteer Team of the Year. This nomination is a significant achievement as there were over 5,000 applicants.
Abla currently manages over 50 staff members and volunteers. As well as running classes at IWWA four days a week, she also manages the administration. IWWA has over 1500 members from 56 different nationalities.
With her background in accounting, Abla has been able to fundraise the purchase and development of a state of the art function centre in Sydney’s West to accommodate IWWA’s many activities, held every day of the week.
Abla óversees the running of weekly women’s lessons in various languages, school readiness programs, preschool, playgroup and three community language schools for children.
She has been vital in organising many local events such as White Ribbon day, anti-discrimination rallies, interfaith forums, voting information sessions and health campaigns. Abla has also volunteered as a hospital chaplain for many years.
Abla has also organised many other events over the years. Some of these include: bus trips for the elderly such as fruit picking, Eid celebration dinners, Eid Fairs, school holiday activities, youth camps and cooking and sewing classes
She also networks with many local organisations to help IWWA’s members. These include liaising with organisations such as ‘PCYC’ and ‘Second Bite’ to offer members additional recreational activities and to help supply food to those in need. Abla has also been involved in finding homes for foster care children in culturally appropriate homes.
Abla has been essential in the organisation and planning of all the above activities and events; all of which are truly special as they benefit the Muslim community, specifically Muslim women. Abla’s aim has always been to empower women through knowledge, giving them various ways to socialise and helping them financially, mentally and emotionally. By educating women they can then benefit their families and communities.
Her work helps to empower women and in turn, these women build better families and better communities bringing up a generation of well-rounded citizens who are assets to the Australian community.