As NSW government announced lifting of COVID-19 restrictions, South Asian Muslim Association of Australia Inc (SAMAA) held the last session of the popular lockdown Zoom series for seniors on Sunday 10 Oct 2021.
The programs commenced with the recitation of Hamd or Naat by local Naat Khwans including Shagufta Zia, Kashifa Khan, Faiza Khan, Zimam Thanvi and Abdur Rahman.
Maulana Nazeer ul Hassan Thanvi recited from Quran, gave a religious sermon and answered questions from the audience on important religious matters and made supplications to conclude the programs.
Apart from many other services, SAMAA organises regular get togethers including picnics, cruises, information sessions and social entertainment to alleviate social isolation of seniors.
As COVID-19 pandemic spread like wild fire in March 2020, seniors faced fear and isolation. They were unable to meet their children as family gatherings were disallowed. Other social interactions, including SAMAA events, could not be held and most of the seniors had to confine themselves to their homes in isolation.
SAMAA therefore decided to hold regular zoom events which continued for one and half year with a short break early in the year when cases reduced to minimal in Australia and lockdown was lifted. However as delta variant surged, SAMAA resumed the online sessions.
A total of 20 zoom events were held which were well attended and recordings of the programs were circulated among hundreds of seniors, volunteers and community groups.
The programs included important information sessions by the community doctors, health professionals and aged care providers who spoke about COVID-19 disease, the ways to stay fit to minimise the risks and important health guidelines for seniors during the pandemic.
Sheikh Yaqub Dahelvi
Over the past few months important sessions were held about vaccination and related concerns were addressed. Other health matters of seniors were also included. Psychiatrists and psychologists gave presentations on how to overcome related stress to uplift the spirits and ways to stay relaxed.
Fasting by seniors during the month of Ramadan is a challenge and therefore related medical aspects were also addressed.
The eminent speakers at SAMAA Zoom series included Dr Faizia Ahmad, Dr Soofia Khan, Dr Aejaz Sheriff of Melbourne, Dr Jalal Khan, Dr Nisa Sheriff, SAMAA senior Dr Noorjahan, a retired Psychiatrist, Anju Mathur, the dementia consultant, Dr Asif Saber, the geriatrician, Dr Raiz Ismail, the psychiatrist, Ms Shehzi Yusuf, Sydney Psychologist, Sr Galila Abdel Salam, Director IWAA.
Seniors actively participated during question and answer sessions, seeking clarifications on many health issues.
All zoom events included entertainment sessions. In 2020, local poets and singers entertained the seniors while in 2021, overseas guests were invited including famous Urdu poets Dr Nadim Shad, Popular Merruthi, AM Turaz of India and Dr Mohammad Izhar ul Haq and Syed Salman Gilani of Pakistan.
A renowned Islamic scholar Sheikh Yaqub Dahelvi gave spiritual sermons during the month of Ramadan. Famous qawwali group Niyazi Brothers of Rampur gave a special performance to mark Eid ul Fitr in May 2021.
SAMAA seniors also presented items including poetry, their own stories and jokes. A number of political leaders also attended special events including Federal Minister for Seniors and Aged Care Richard Colbeck, Geoff Lee MP and Julia Finn MP.
Mr Zahid Jamil, on behalf of SAMAA, welcomed the seniors and other attendees during all sessions. He spoke about various SAMAA services and initiatives and urged the community seniors and their families to contact SAMAA coordinator Mrs Kaukab Saulat for all their needs.
You can watch the recording of zoom events here
SAMAA, a Public Benevolent Institution, has been providing various services to the South Asian Muslim seniors of metropolitan Sydney and regional NSW for past twelve years.
SAMAA’s Services include developing innovative and effective Service Modules to facilitate the provision of culturally specific needs of South Asian Muslim seniors.
For more details, please visit SAMAA website: