Empowering Highlights - December News

December marked the launch of the Love and Hope Lakemba hub, a one-stop center for women's support and services. Our Settlement Team Leader spoke at the "Orange The World" event, initiating the 16 Days of Activism. Natasha Maclaren-Jones visited, donating clothing to Dress for Work. The 5-week Espresso Coffee course ended, and the Metro Assist team celebrated their year's achievements at an end-of-year lunch.


The Love and Hope Lakemba Hub Launch



Sadly, there are many stories of women suffering from family and domestic violence, but this month saw Metro Assist launch the Love and Hope Lakemba Hub - a one-stop shop, and walk-in centre where women can get the support they need as well as get access to services, all under one roof.

Passionate advocates spoke including Metro Assist’s Settlement Team Leader Jasmine Mquizra, and CEO Nina Shahi; Electorate Officer to Tony Burke MP, Ms Debbie Agapitos; and Women’s Safety Commissioner, Dr Hannah Tonkin who spoke via a recorded message. They each expressed a similar sentiment of migrant women who are facing domestic violence represent a vulnerable and often underserved population, who encounter unique challenges including issues related to immigration status, cultural barriers, and social isolation.

A discussion panel, facilitated by MCLO Burwood Police, Nelly Sinha; and included panelists DFV unit Campsie Police Command, Sergeant Brook Notley; Associate Director of the DFV unit at Legal Aid, Anna Baltins; and Director of Jannawi Family Centre, Biljana Milosevic, discussed how their services aid survivors. DFV survivor Asfiya spoke from first-hand experience, sharing how accessing these services has contributed to her progress in overcoming the challenges of domestic and family violence.

Thank you to our partners, Justice Support Centre, CABL, Legal Aid, Services Australia and Service NSW who contributed to a spectacular ribbon cutting. And finally, thank you to founder of Zen Tea Lounge, Amy Nguyen, for her mindfulness session and donation of tea to our attendees.

The launch, held specifically during the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, truly encapsulated the theme 'Unite! Invest to prevent violence against women and girls”. Well done to all involved!!!



"Orange The World" event marking start of 16 Days of Activism



We are proud to share that our Settlement Team Leader was invited to participate in the impactful "Orange The World" event held on December 2nd at the Women’s Club in Sydney CBD. Organised by Pink Elite, this event marked the beginning of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence.

Our Settlement Team Leader presented critical issues of domestic and family violence within multicultural communities. The discussion centered on the barriers faced by Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) women when reporting or leaving violent situations, and the targeted response Metro Assist provides support in this space.

Distinguished guests and speakers enriched the event with their insights and expertise on the gendered violence in our society, including Barbara Ward Deputy Mayor of Ku-ring-gai Council and Honourary Member of Pinke Elite, and Lyndal Gowland Principal Solicitor of Gowland Family Lawyers and Member of the Women Lawyers’ Association of NSW Executive Committee, and Justine Anderson, President of Women Lawyers.

The event served as a platform to showcase the collective efforts and advocacy led by key figures in society to eradicate gender violence. Beyond just raising awareness, it provided an opportunity to brainstorm new initiatives and collaborations to be implemented in the ongoing fight against gender-based violence.


Hon. Natasha Maclaren-Jones: A Dedicated Advocate



In December, Hon. Natasha Maclaren-Jones, the Shadow Minister for Families and Communities, the Shadow Minister for Disability Inclusion, the Shadow Minister for Homelessness, and the Shadow Minister for Youth, visited our Bankstown office. She was accompanied by former MP Wendy Lindsay East Hills to donate clothing to Dress for Work as part of the Parliamentary Clothing Drive that will undoubtedly make a positive impact on individuals.

This visit provided an opportunity for meaningful engagement, allowing Hon. Natasha to connect with our CEO, Nina Shahi, our dedicated and passionate Settlement team, and the Dress for Work team. The Minister was keen to learn about the services delivered by Metro Assist to our communities and expressed her interest in being involved in our future activities.


Coffee course completion success 



A congratulations was in order, to all those who successfully completed the 5-week Statement of Attainment in Espresso Coffee. Held at Bankstown Public School and in partnership with TAFE NSW, the course not only imparted essential skills in the art of crafting espresso and food handling but also served as a platform for the formation of meaningful friendships and gaining a sense of community among the participants.

With their newfound expertise, participants are now well-equipped to enter the workforce and just in time for casual Christmas employment opportunities marking the end of the program on a positive and empowering note.


Metro Assist team celebrates the year's achievements



As the year drew to a close, the Metro Assist team, recently took time out to celebrate and reflect on the year's achievements, during our end-of-year lunch. The day commenced with a funny Kris Kringle with a “snatch the present” twist. The festivities continued at Skyfeast, situated atop Sydney's iconic Centrepoint Tower, with breathtaking views of the city skyline. We celebrated not only the successes of the past year but also the enduring bonds we’ve made together as an organisation.