A big round of applause and Han-Baly O (Congratulations!!) to Marwo Mohamed Salat on being awarded the Victorian Multicultural Award for Excellence in Community Response and Recovery.
The award recognises Marwo’s outstanding volunteer work addressing the multiple needs of the local African-Australian community profoundly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic crisis.
Marwo lives in Kensington, in a property managed by Unison; and it was our team who nominated her for the award, to highlight her amazing contribution to the community.
When the first COVID cases were reported in our Kensington community, amongst the Somali community, Marwo immediately began liaising with the Unison team to communicate needs and isolation requirements to help support families stay in their properties to prevent the hard lockdown experienced by the residents of the high-rise public housing buildings in Flemington and North Melbourne.
Fair minded and tireless in her efforts, Marwo ensured that anyone who contacted her had both practical and emotional support during hard lockdowns and quarantine periods. Culturally appropriate supplies of food, medicine and household goods were supplied. She also attended various community meetings and posted in social media groups providing Government COVID-19 safety information in community languages to explain messages clearly and to help keep people safe.
Marwo also connected community members to holistic support including student, mental health and wellbeing services. The Kensington Neighbourhood House (KNH) assisted with student remote learning resources. Marwo encouraged local parents to participate in self- care and parenting sessions at the KNH after the lockdown, and facilitated mental health and wellbeing support. Marwo completed her Mental Health First Aid training to better respond to the community’s heightened anxiety and fear.
“With nothing more than a mobile phone, Marwo became a one-woman help centre,” explained Rebecca Smith, Manager of the Kensington Neighbourhood House.
“Throughout the pandemic, Marwo’s activity has had a major positive impact. She is well-known and respected in the community.
“She is so deserving of this award for her selfless activity and volunteering countless hours for the community. Her positivity, optimism and energy shines through. She has uplifted people, created calm, eased people’s anxiety and fear whilst responding to needs,” said Deb Wilson Unison’s Place Manager, Community Engagement.
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