MECA was “established to actively and directly relieve the situation of immigrants and refugees whose social condition renders them disadvantaged.” Those words were written 33 years ago by our founding management committee, and they still ring true in guiding our purpose.
Purpose, responsibilities, and hope, those three words capture my reflection over the previous year.
Thanks to the
We exist to serve our vulnerable community members in times of need while also building their resilience and capacity to strive. We are privileged to have the opportunity to work in partnership with our migrant and refugee communities, who are the new Australians.
We honour the Aboriginal people who shared their land with us, even when it resulted in unjust suffering for their people. As the new Australians, we stand in solidarity and work in partnership to make the Uluru statement from the heart a reality in our generation.
Most of the new Australians left their homelands because of persecution and abuse. Now they have decided to make Australia their new home. Their roots extend beyond Australia’s shores. They see Australia as a place where they can live in peace and security while celebrating their cultural identity in freedom. They work hard to contribute to Australian society and make a living for their families. Many, including me, came to the shores of Australia because we found hope for a better future that protects human dignity. We, as Australians, stand for values such as freedom, respect, equality, and a fair go. Of course, we do fall short of those ideals. Our diversity enriches our experience and expands it creatively. Still, we ought to continually strive for them.
MECA has two wings, social service and social enterprise. Our social enterprise is called “Entrepreneurship for Human Dignity.” It is a platform that facilitates connection and provides training to enable our new Australians with entrepreneurial skills to strive in Australia. MECA launched its first social enterprise product called ‘Culture Graze”—a grazing box packed with delicious food from different cultural backgrounds. It also includes podcast stories about local, new Australians.
Our revenue increased by 72% compared to the previous financial year. This means MECA is a growing organisation that works hard to respond to the needs of our community through the provision of diverse programs and services.
MECA has an incredible team that takes responsibility joyfully and diligently. I am humbled to be appointed as MECA’s acting manager after two years in an acting role. Our previous excellent manager, Amie Hope, is on maternity leave and has decided to focus on her young family, which has been blessed with two children. We celebrate with her and admire her courage. Her leadership legacy continues here at MECA.
I am grateful for TEAM MECA, which includes the MECA Management Committee, staff, volunteers, and students. Each and every one of them takes their role seriously and with a strong sense of responsibility, as our vulnerable community members’ lives and well-being depend on it. Some of our volunteers were clients of MECA at one point. The spirit of volunteerism in our clients indicates successful settlement and a strong sense of belonging.
I congratulate our fantastic staff for continuing to provide programs and services that were urgently needed during a very trying period. Yousef, Raeanne, Fadi, Neha, Farhana Emma, Adjoa, Mene, and Kamia deserve our sincere gratitude. Lynelle, a recent hire, has taken over our bookkeeping duties.
I also want to recognise the leadership, dedication and enthusiasm of our Management Committee, which consists of Jo, Garry, Farabi, Abbas, Ammar, Carly, Nene, and Bob. We appreciate all you do to help MECA as volunteers who have the best interest of our community at heart.
Regardless of the challenges at hand, MECA has a ‘we can make it’ attitude that inspires hope in the hearts and minds of our community members. The COVID lockdown did not keep us down. TEAM MECA came together, listened to the community’s needs, and tried to address them creatively and efficiently. MECA launched its ‘Kilos of Hope’ program, which delivered food hampers directly to the homes of those in isolation due to COVID-19. Digital connection, food, and hygiene were the community’s top priorities, as they were urgent and critical
MECA also partnered with Kallico Catering, an Aboriginal-owned local business, in an initiative called ‘Yura Bada’ (people need to eat – in Darug). The initiative provided more than 11,000 hot-cooked meals to the local Aboriginal and CALD communities per month. We were overwhelmed and grateful that 526 community members and organisations donated online to support this initiative. I also want to acknowledge the financial and logistical support we received from Deborah Hatzi, MECA’s former staff and donor, ‘In My Blood, It Runs’ film production team, Foodbank, the Hon. Ed Husic MP, Blacktown City Council and Mount Druitt Police, Transurban and LEAD Professional.
MECA achieved much because of its strong focus on collaboration and partnership. Our community challenges are many and complicated. Therefore, our hope of finding a lasting solution depends on our ability to work together with others who are also passionate, willing, and committed. I want to thank all our funding partners in our annual report who trust us to be on the frontlines to support our community. Every dollar invested is worth it; much more is needed to address our community needs.