Human Appeal Australia Community Care (HAACC) have taken the initiative in combating social isolation for seniors during the COVID-19 restrictions by embarking on a new project named HOPE.

The project HOPE (Helping Older People Engage) was launched on Thursday 23 July 2020 as part of ‘Combating Social Isolation for Seniors during COVID-19 Grants Program’ introduced by the NSW Government.

Mr Tony Burke MP. Photo by Zia Ahmad.

The launch event for HOPE was attended by HAA volunteers, community leaders and politicians including Mr Tony Burke MP, Federal Member for Watson, Mr Jihad Dib MP, the State Member for Lakemba, the Mayor of Canterbury Bankstown Clr Khal Asfour, Deputy Mayor, Clr Bilal El-Hayek and representatives of many community organisations.

HOPE aims to reduce social isolation for seniors during COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions and will help older people to connect with each other, through online engagement and/or other methods that maintain social distancing.

Mr Jihad Dib MP. Photo by Fadle El-Harris, Filmotion productions www.filmotion.com.au

The project will foster social inclusion for seniors through social support phone calls including face to face interactions and will offer a “Walk While We Talk” alternative for those who are not able to use their smart devices, phones or computers.

Through HOPE the seniors in NSW will be provided with quality social connection opportunities primarily aimed at Muslim Seniors aged 65 years and above but also extended to help seniors from all faith communities and walks of life.

Ms Souhair Afiouny, HOPE Project Manager with Mr Amin El-Bureeny, HAACC Head. Photo by Zia Ahmad.

HOPE project will operate beyond the average 9am-to-5pm hours and will offer access for social support calls/mobile face-to-face/dial-in service from 7am to 9 pm, 7 days a week to ensure convenience for its target group.

Around 10 Multilingual volunteers will be available on mobile phones specifically nominated for the HOPE clients.  Languages offered to date include Arabic, English, Bengali, Urdu, Turkish, Bosnian and Russian.

Audience at the HOPE launch on Thursday 23 July 2020. Photo by Fadle El-Harris, Filmotion productions www.filmotion.com.au

The HOPE volunteers have undergone training to cater for increased understanding of seniors needs, to build awareness of local services offered for the aged and to practice social call scenarios.

The Hope launch event was MC’d by Mr Omar Al-Jamal and the guests were welcomed by Mr Bashar Al-Jamal, Director, Human Appeal Australia and were addressed by Mr Amin El-Bureeny, Head of HAA Community Care, Ms Souhair Afiouny, Project Manager of HOPE, Mr Tony Burke MP, Mr Jihad Dib MP,  Mayor Khal Asfour and Hajj Zaki Kanawati, A long time HAA volunteer for almost three decades.

 

Mr Bashar Al-Jamal, HAA Director. Photo by Zia Ahmad.

During his welcome address Mr Bashar Al-Jamal articulated the concern for seniors saying, “HOPE aims to help our seniors feel connected to the wider community and let them know that there are people that sincerely care for them and in this way, we can give them that extra boost and plant the seed of hope, the hope to keep going.”

The event took place at the newly established section of Human Appeal’s headquarters in Lakemba, in a very warm atmosphere complying with the latest COVID-19 restrictions in NSW.

Hajj Zaki Kanawati, long time HAA volunteer for almost three decades. Photo by Zia Ahmad.

HOPE will be available throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, well towards the end of year 2020

HOPE Application Process includes:

  • Self-referred
  • Family referral
  • Friend Referral
  • Apply online
  • Drop in HAA offices
  • Community Organisation referrals

If you are or you know of a senior 65 years and over requiring help from HOPE, please Contact: