SAMAA celebrates Jashne Buzurg


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Enjoyable evening of entertainment dedicated to seniors
The South Asian Muslim Association of Australia (SAMAA) celebrated its annual event of Jashne Buzurg at Bowman Hall, Blacktown on April 12. Over 300 people including several dignitaries, health experts, representative from aged care agencies and providers, community leaders and a large number of SAMAA elders enjoyed an interesting program including a short play, South Asian cuisine and the opportunity to network.

Among the special invitees were longest serving parliamentarian Hon Philip Ruddockwith Hon John Robertson, former NSW Labor leader; Senator Hon Concetta Fierravanti- Wells representing Hon Scott Morrison, Minister for Social Services; and Mehreen Faruqi, the first South Asian Muslim MLC in NSW Parliament. Other guests included Mr Robert Oxford, CEO Hardi Aged Care; and Mr Talal Yassine, CEO Crescent Wealth.

The short play titled ‘Ammi Tum Kahan Ho’ was specially organised, directed and produced by veteran television and theatre personality Saba Zaidi Abdi, artistic director of the Adakar Theatre Group. The script was by journalist, poet and writer Ashsraf Shad, and depicted the issues and challenges South Asian families face in caring for their elders, and the loneliness and isolation experienced by the elderly. The play brought tears to many eyes and received a tremendous response from the audience. Italso highlighted how charitable bodies such as SAMAA are helpful in providing relief to elders and their families. The cast included Sydney stage and Adakar Theatre Group artists. The role of elderly mother was convincingly played by Rekha Rajvanshi (a well-known writer and Hindi poet) and Nisar Sirguroh (a veteran stage artist). Aparna Vats (a reputable broadcasterpresenter) portrayed their daughter Asma, with great sensitivity and confidence. Farjad Mahmood (a familiar face in local theatre) played the role of Asma’s suitor, to considerable acclaim. Ultimately, the play’s interpretation reflected issues relevant to the audience and touched a chord with them; it is fair to say that the performance was admired and appreciated
by all.

Mr Zahid Jamil, representing SAMAA, spoke of various programs which needed funding. The organisation has been serving the elders of the South Asian Muslim community for the past seven years with services that include developing innovative and effective service modules to provide culturally specific needs of these seniors. SAMAA has many dedicated volunteers who provide yeoman services such as transport to doctors, mosques, grocery shopping, social events among others while also assisting in home cleaning, cooking or delivery of home-cooked meals. SAMAA also arranges regular picnics and social entertainments, and its long term goal is to build its own aged care facilities.

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