Women Empowerment

Online Parenting Workshop

UMSLV conducted a workshop that provided valuable information on how we as parents can gain help and knowledge on everyday issues. It was on the topic “Qualities of A Good Mother”, conducted by Sister Sumaiya Afzal, the Relationship and Parenting Coach at Mumkin. It was an interactive Zoom session that answered many questions and addressed some important situations we as parents/ mothers encounter in our day to day lives. The session touched on the topic of the beauty of motherhood and the strong family structure we have in Islam.

The session started off with the questions from the participants. Everyone was comfortable and open to put down their concerns and worries and Sister Sumaiya was very welcoming of it. It took off with a few pointers on how to foster children’s emotional and psychological wellbeing.

One helpful tip that Sister shared was “Tell Not Yell”, which speaks for many of us when we are caught up in unpleasant situations.

Children learn what they see. For them to be good human beings they need good role models. Our physical and emotional health reflects in them, they get the positivity and energy from us, therefore first and foremost thing is to look after our own selves.

During the session, a “Happiness Test” was shared. Depending upon the answers it indicates how emotionally happy we are. It is a good measure to improve our mental health.

Sister Sumaiya came up with some practical and helpful suggestions to raise a happy and healthy child. For more information on the strategies shared, have a look at our newsletter. (link)

-The video of this session has been uploaded and is available on the UMSLV Facebook page. It was scheduled for Saturday, 22nd August 2020. https://www.facebook.com/umaleeya/videos/10158343045925256

- Sister Sumaiya is a Life Coach working from the platform of Mumkin – a private coaching company in Pakistan.https://www.facebook.com/mumkincoaching/

Women's Quran Class

UMSLV started offering Quran classes online during Ramadan that were taught by Tehmina. Due to popular demand, these classes have continued on a weekly basis.

“On the 23 September I once again Zoomed in to Apa Tehmina’s Quraan Tafseer Lessons in Urdu and English. She hosts the lessons with heart and soul. I’m back home in South Africa but cannot wait to join in to these very informative and well explained lessons. Thank you Tehmina for sharing your extensive knowledge and valuable time with all of us! I cannot wait to zoom in all the way from South Africa! I was deeply touched when you made such an earnest and compassionate Duas/ prayers for the young student in your group who is unwell.  

I love the ambiance of respect, love and compassion during your group sessions. You are not only a knowledgeable teacher but also a very skilled pastoral worker reaching out with all this kindness, understanding and compassion! May Almighty Allah Reward You Tehmina and all the UMSLV ladies for your unity, determination, kindness and excellent community spirit!”, Kooresha Majid.

Women Empowerment Sessions

United Muslim Sisters of Latrobe Valley with the support of Latrobe Health Assembly and Latrobe City Council organised a series of free workshops entitled 'Opening Doors for Possibility'.

The aim of these workshops was to empower women from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds seeking a career in business or social enterprise. The program took place at Moe library during July and August. .Altogether 23 ladies from CALD and the broader community attended these workshops.
The workshop was a great opportunity for women to access support, knowledge sharing, upskilling and network.

The initial two workshops, ‘The pillars of possibilities’ and ‘creating your own possibilities’ were presented by famous speaker and author Maree McPherson. These sessions were on personal development and adopting a growth mindset.
Maree said the real benefits of these workshops are bringing people together. This is a group of women who would otherwise have never met each other. The sessions involved cross cultural conversations. There is understanding while coming from different backgrounds and countries we share similar issues such as international women dealing with mindset issues. These sessions will create a network to discuss and start the conversations of moving ahead with future goals.

The third session was on starting your business right and business planning essentials. The session on the fourth day offered learning around effective record keeping and keeping the cash flowing.
The final session was on understanding marketing and taking your own business online. All these workshops were delivered by experts in their respective fields.

The workshops provided a childminding facility that made it easier for mothers to attend the sessions with peace of mind. One of the participants Katherine said ,
"It's been great because in these types of settings you can't have children, but it opens up lots of options for women with children to come along and not feel excluded and getting to know everyone here." 
Nurun Nehar and Wahida Moon, certified child minders, provided their services.

Beautiful cultural food was also a highlight of the workshops. Participants enjoyed the food provided by Syeda Hussani,”-Janet Auman said, ”Thank you for the safe space.It is important to think about growth mindset for ourselves but also how a few words from us can impact on others. Lunch was very yummy! It was great to meet new people and learn from each other”.

Hina Faisal ,UMSLV ‘s communication expert was out there helping at every step of the workshops. She was constantly updating our FB with live recording, taking pictures and feedback from participants.

Arfa  Khan, president of UMSLV facilitated the sessions  and helped with providing doing translations to the participants. She said , "I felt really pleased with the sessions. It was good to see ladies coming out and sharing the room with like- minded people where they could share and learn with confidence.
I personally feel women coming from any background have quite similar struggles. We need to empower each other and be a ladder for positive change and strength”.

The muslim sisters hope to offer more courses to people in future. We would like to thank all the supporters, organisers, participants and facilitators for making these sessions memorable.

On the last day of the program Mayor Darren White, Maree McPherson and Ian Needham, the executive officer of Latrobe Health Assembly, attended the session to express the importance and success of these workshops and gave away completion certificates to all the participants. 
Some of beautiful women of UMSLV shared their candid feedback about the workshops as:

"It's given me the push to change myself, because I always put myself at the lowest, but now I need to put myself first so I can give to others and my kids."(Zeinab Badreddine)

"It's been great because in these types of settings you can't have children, but it opens up lots of options for women with children to come along and not feel excluded and getting to know everyone here."(Katherine)

"I have enjoyed today and learned many things. Meeting other ladies that are like me, that I'm not alone, it's been encouraging for me and learning to encourage other people."(Jane Divine)

“Thoroughly enjoyed this very stimulating and informative session. Thank you”(Katherine Tang).

Women's Pampering and Information Session

On Thursday, the 12th of September 2019 , Victoria Police in partnership with United Muslim Sisters of Latrobe Valley (UMSLV) delivered a women’s wellbeing and Family Violence Information program. The objectives of the program were:

 1) To empower women on how to report and prevent family violence within their community.

 2) To educate women about bystander behaviour and how they can influence a positive change.

3) To develop and strengthen relationships between the CALD community and Victoria Police and other services

 4)Leverage community ownership to generate sustainable crime reduction initiatives.

This one day program engaged and educated 25 multicultural women from across various CALD communities within the Latrobe Valley. Five women representing Victoria police delivered powerful sessions focusing on violence and discrimination against women, empowering women to make changes within their lifestyles and communities, who to approach and what police can do to assist the communities on family violence reporting and how to support communities and stop family violence. Two local women from the Indian and Rohingya community also shared their individual family violence stories and how they survived family violence. The ladies were provided with a cosy and relaxed environment conducive to the discussions on a very sensitive topic. There was child minding lady looking after children, which allowed mothers to attend the session free from worry. Certified Counsellor Ambreen Wahid was also present to chat with the ladies if debriefing was required. Sara al Bostani, a lawyer from legal aid, provided some very interesting information from the legal perspective. Translation services were provided as needed. The participants really enjoyed the pampering session as there were four pampering ladies giving ladies special treatments. Gifts and gratitude packs were given to everyone who participated in and/or attended in the session. The tasty tea and lunch played a vital role in bringing ladies together to chat during meal times.

The program enabled positive ongoing relationships between Victoria Police, CFA, Legal Aid and other stakeholders and has in turn strengthened community confidence. Women within these communities are now armed with information to help themselves and others. Mel Blair, the Senior Sergeant said, “ I am confident that these women are now capable of attending police stations to report crime, have the confidence that police will assist them, educate other women and assist with further family violence incidents within their communities. I personally was delighted with the feedback and the positive reflections of the day from all that attended.” UMSLV is proud to hold the women information session . Arfa Khan said , “I was really worried about how ladies, from diverse cultural backgrounds, would react to this sensitive topic. Thankfully as the session unfolded, people felt at ease and everything flowed wonderfully.” The best feedback was when people asked for, and demanded, more sessions and more information. 

International Women's Day Celebration

UMSLV organised a women’s day celebration on 9 March 2019 at Warragul Civic Park where we wanted to take the opportunity to celebrate the stories and voices of extraordinary women. All the women got a chance to share their stories. We believe that when we share a story as part gift, part message, we learn and affirm who we are and what we believe, and we come away knowing ourselves in a deeper way. Arfa said that we need to pick positive things around us and support each other as a women and influence each other positively! Yumna said that we need to acknowledge how blessed we are with so many things and all that we have earned in life. We deserve what we have and we should acknowledge our achievements in life.

Special thanks to the women who came and shared their stories on the day and celebrated such an important day. And last -but certainly not least- thanks to all the women in our own lives who continue to move and change the world with their own stories.

African Women Diaspora

Sometimes our women empowerment initiatives extend beyond Gippsland. On 7 and 8 September 2018 for example, Khatija attended the African Diaspora Women Summit (ADWS) at Melbourne Polytechnic. ADWS is a platform that fosters collaboration, uplifts women and inspires all who attend. During Khatija’s presentation on Working with Migrant Women, she spoke about how UMSLV builds the resilience of community members through effective networking; providing training; identifying opportunities where women can earn money based on their skill sets; and through celebrations. She made reference to Maree McPherson’s book ‘Cutting through the Grass Ceiling’ during her discussion on identifying Unconscious Bias and what keeps us from achieving our dreams. As Khatija was on a health panel, she drew parallels between Allied Health and working in community. It was a great 2 days and she met some amazing people. 

Leadershp Victoria’s New and Emerging Communities Leadership program (NECLP)

From April to June, Leadership Victoria ran a leadership training program for new and emerging communities in Gippsland. This training has been successfully run in other parts of Victoria, but was the first time to be delivered in Gippsland. The course was attended by 11 participants of which, Yumna was one. The participants were taught about different kinds of leadership, and also got to meet leaders from within the Gippsland community to learn from them about their leadership journey. The participants also got to understand how government works in Australia and also about the election process.

The participants were paired with a mentor from the community to guide and support them in their leadership journeys. Leadership Victoria also organised evening where the participants got to network with people from various communities. The facilitators organised by Leadership Victoria were amazing and really provided each participants a great level of support. I hope this training is offered again as it will be a great opportunity for others in the Culturally And Linguistically Diverse communities to benefit from the advantages of this training.

Arfa Khan, president of UMSLV, participated in Leadership Victoria’s NECLP in Casey in 2017, where she learnt further skills that she could use as a community leader. Khatija Halabi, UMSLV Vice President, was a mentor to a mentee participating in the same program.

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