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Diversity advocate wins Multicultural Award

A strong advocate for her Muslim community, South Australian ACH Group worker Mahjabeen Ahmad has received a Multicultural Award for her work in helping to develop the first Muslim aged care resources in Australia.

Leading advocate and researcher Mahjabeen Ahmad
Leading advocate and researcher Mahjabeen Ahmad

The award recognises Ms Ahmad’s dedication to create awareness and better understanding about Muslim aged care issues in the broader community and initiate projects within the aged care industry and state-level peak bodies to promote inclusiveness.

Ms Ahmad is Project Manager of the Muslim Communities Partnership, a two-year program which aims to develop culturally appropriate aged care services for South Australia’s 20,000-strong Muslim community.

One of her achievements, developing the first Muslim aged care resources in Australia, earned her the Governor’s Multicultural Award for Most Outstanding Individual Achievement in Aged Care this week.

Her project ‘Muslim Communities - a CALD Partnership Model’ aims to ensure Muslims receive services that meet their religious and cultural needs.

Living in Australia since 2010, Ms Ahmad is a leading advocate and researcher who has been involved in a number of ground breaking projects, including the first empirical research on aged care needs of Muslims in South Australia, a suggested model of spirituality for ageing Muslims, and pioneering research ‘Muslims in Australian and their Aged Care Needs: An Exploratory Study with Reference to South Australia’.

She joined ACH Group in 2015 and has provided cultural diversity training to hundreds of the not-for-profit organisation’s 1700-strong staff at induction and refresher training sessions to better equip them to provide services and improve customer experience.

Ms Ahmad also engages with the Aged Care Assessment Team meetings to build better understanding of Muslims needs.

According to ACH Group’s Ivy Diegmann, Ms Ahmad is a strong advocate for her Muslim community, championing their health and aged care needs so that providers can be more aware of and better understand these needs and provide culturally appropriate services.

“She works tirelessly to help educate the Muslim community about the Australian aged care system, build the community’s trust and confidence, and reduce cultural reluctance and misperceptions about accepting support from aged care providers,” Ms Diegmann says.

As the first Muslim Board and Executive Committee member of the Multicultural Communities Council of SA (MCCSA), Ms Ahmad has led the way to connect the MCCSA with the Muslim community through various community engagements.

She played a critical role in promoting Islamic calligraphy through introducing classes to older ethnic women at MCCSA under the government’s Healthy Ageing grant.

“Mahjabeen is a role model in resilience, courage, and grit for migrant women who come to Australia much later in life and find the motivation to make a difference,” Ms Diegmann says.

Ms Ahmad was presented the award for Most Outstanding Individual Achievement in Aged Care by Governor of South Australia Hieu Van Le as part of Harmony Day.

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