High teas, workshops and role-plays are used to help Muslim women identify and deal with legal issues.
The Home Gatherings are unique legal advice and networking events, delivered by 20 women leaders who completed the Sir Zelman Cowen Centre’s Muslim Women’s Legal Training Program in 2016. The leaders are now using their newly acquired skills to act as peer-to-peer supporters of other women in their communities.
Home Gatherings so far have been small community meetings, public lectures and workshops. The successful High Tea for young women, arranged by Kauthar Abdulalim through her organisation ‘HerProject’, received positive ABC news coverage.
“We want to address relationships as a broad topic and highlight issues such as bullying, including warning signs, and how and where to seek help.
We also talked to mothers to prepare them to discuss family violence and how knowing the signs can help prevent greater harm in future.
It was also an opportunity for women to learn about the services available to them and create a network of supportive sisters” Kauthar Abdulalim said.
Yasmin Moussa arranged an event as part of the Zakat Foundation’s ‘Eyes Wide Shut’ series, which brought together community members in Melbourne’s West for a half-day workshop. Participants heard from an imam, a psychologist and a lawyer then worked in small groups to discuss case studies of family violence.
One participant said: “It was a great topic that needs to be discussed more often”, while another noted that the event provided, “wonderful insights from the speakers”.
The Al-Emaan women's group in the south eastern suburbs of Melbourne designed an interactive session with the help of Meriem Abida, Selma Cook and facilitator Zione Walker. The women participated in court based family violence role plays, adopting the roles of applicant, respondent, lawyer, magistrate, police officer, social worker, interpreter and child.
The Home Gatherings program is part of the wider Muslim Leaders Education Program (MLEP) being delivered by the Sir Zelman Cowen Centre in partnership with the Islamic Council of Victoria, funded by the Scanlon Foundation.
- Muslim Women’s Legal Training Program
- Imams Legal Training Program
- Aspire: Young Muslim Women's Governance and Leadership Program.
MLEP aims to create a 'ripple effect', where participants with strong networks share their knowledge and use their influence to shape the attitudes and practices of their communities. It has already had wide impact, with one Imam enrolling in a PhD at Victoria University, while several women from the legal training program have decided to study various higher education courses.