Islamic Women’s Welfare Association (IWWA)
In 2000, a group of friends saw the need for a multi cultural Muslim women’s forum. There were few Islamic classes in languages other than English. Moreover, there was no place where non-Arab Muslim women could meet to work together in overcoming the challenges they faced.
To address these needs, they formed the Islamic Women’s Welfare Association (IWWA). They began with a single class which soon grew to 30 people; and then the number of classes grew to cover more languages and topics. They found a small rental property funded by making art and craft items, dinners and other fundraising activities.
Interest and participation grew over time, and when the rental property was put up for sale, with the support of the community, they raised funds and purchased it. Before long, the number of languages expanded to four (adding Urdu and Bahasa), a new weekend Arabic school was opened and the range of activities grew beyond just classes.
They started activities for toddlers, a Friday night club for teenage girls, picnics, and more. They expanded to address the welfare needs of Muslim women, by adding information sessions on topics like domestic violence, raising children, finding employment and talks by medical specialists on public health issues.
Due to the popularity of these activities, IWWA found itself outgrowing the space it had purchased. After months of searching, they found a small property requiring extensive renovation in 2010.
This gave IWWA the opportunity to design the property to meet their needs (e.g. classrooms and a backyard for the children to play in while their mothers are learning). The centre opened on 10 December 2012. With the community’s support, this new custom-designed community centre opens new possibilities. It will, in sha Allah, become an asset to the whole community for generations of Muslim women and children to come.
2022 NSW Senior Australian of the Year