UIA  Celebrates International Women’s Day with a beyondblue bash! 


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By : Rekha Rajvanshi

Women and men dressed in various shades of blue came together to celebrate International Women’s Day organized by UIA on March 5th. International Women’s Day is celebrated each year on 8th March emphasizes on economic, political and social achievements of women. The theme for this year is Pledge for Parity.

UIA has been celebrating International Women’s Day event every year for the past 9 years with the particular objective of providing Australian Indian women a platform to network, exchange ideas, provide and receive peer support. This year’s function focused on Mental Health and Wellbeing. Research shows one in five Australians experience a mental illness at some time in their life. Incidences of mental illness are now third highest after cancer and hear disease. Depression, anxiety and suicide can affect people from all cultures. Many services are available free under Medicare but are not being accessed by the community.

Sumati Advani, Chair of the Women’s Steering Committee started the forum and said “A woman is the glue that keeps the whole family together and helps it prosper – Her mental health and wellbeing lays the strongest foundation for the family to grow. We all need to look for the signs of withdrawal, agitation, hopelessness, decline in personal care and changes in personality. All we have to do is ask: R U OK and seek help if required. Your GP can help or you can call the 24-hour service provided by Beyondblue and Lifeline.”

John Kennedy, UIA President spoke about the gender equity. He said that gender equity can be achieved sooner if we keep on fighting for this and continue to support women to take up challenging roles in government and in employment. Speakers on the day included Rekha Rajvanshi who recited a special poem she penned for the event, Monica Das who represented beyondblue and shared her life experience with the audience, Nazmin Khan from Relationships Australia, Anoop Johar, Bilingual Community Education coordinator and Didarbhai Avadia, Laughter Yoga practitioner who had the audience laughing together. A newly arrived Indian migrant spoke of the valuable English language and work place learning she has received from Navitas which provides English language tuition, employment skills training, teacher training and settlement services to new migrants – many which are free of cost to students eligible for government funding.

Many local MPs attended the event -Dr Geoff Lee, State MP for Parramatta representing the NSW Premier, Jodi McKay, State MP for Strathfield representing NSW Opposition Leader, Julie Owens, Federal MP for Parramatta, Michelle Rowland, Federal MP for Greenway, Julia Finn, State MP for Granville and Senator Lee Rhiannon. With a dress theme of blue to support beyondblue, delicious food provided by Parravilla, laughter yoga, bingo and raffle and a photo booth set up by Parul Mehta – the audience had an afternoon of fun and helped raise valuable funds for beyondblue.

If someone you know needs help – please contact beyondblue on 1300224636 or Lifeline on 131114.

The Indian Telegraph Sydney Australia

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