Great friendships start here

Founding members of The Saheli Club

The Saheli Club creates a platform for women from the Indian subcontinent to share experiences and form bonds

Friend, friendship, camaraderie, dost, dosti, Saheli—no matter what the word… the connotation is the same, the feeling the same. According to author and family therapist Dr Leslie Parrott, “Women are connectors. They engage each other heart to heart. When women get in a room and dream together, the outcomes are so much larger than our individual dreams and movements. The truth is, you are already making a difference, whether you know it or not.” And when seven ladies came together with one common goal the impact was no different. They wanted to do something different and make a difference where it was most required.

A family leaves the home country and migrates to another country with aspirations and dreams. But often the realities they may have not been aware of or prepared for hits them hard, for things work differently in different countries. And while there are the social and culturally differences, there are glaring differences in work ethics and work requirements too. Educated decisions are always better than educated guesses.

The Saheli Club was formed with the intention of creating a platform for women from the Indian subcontinent and women with an Indian origin. The club intends to hold seminars and begin conversations on topics that are relevant to and in the community as well as partner with government and non-government agencies to create awareness and help in the development and enhancement of the much- required skills to enter the job market.

With some guests

The seven founder members drew examples from the challenges they had faced when they came to this country. While Sonali wants “to use the wealth of experience that existed within the vibrant Indian community to support the women”, Shilpy hopes to “make women independent in all aspects of their life by nurturing and building a positive attitude and personality”. Shaman understands “the hiccups faced by a newly migrated bride especially from a small village”, while Alpana believes “we can all learn from each other and help lift each other”. Upma, who is a medical professional is concerned by, “the struggles faced by newly arrived immigrants especially women who have low English-language proficiency”, but Veenu knows what it feels like “moving to a new place leaving behind one’s family and established social network”, while Poornima wants to use her experience as a teacher to assist those seeking to become teachers in Australia.

Though all the ladies have their own obligations and knew that stepping out of one’s families and obligations was not going to be easy, they decided to take up the challenge. The Saheli Club was officially launched on 5 March with a High Tea at the International Golf Course Club at Macquarie Links.

‘Be Bold for Change’ is the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day and it seemed very appropriate for the bold step these seven ladies had taken. The community rallied around them and supported the venture whole heartedly. Pallavi Sinha spoke about domestic violence and how it affected the lives of many women in her key note speech, Rekha Rajvanshi recited a Hindi poem penned by her highlighting the different roles of a woman, and Sheila Nair entertained the audience with her graceful dance performance.

The club is holding its first seminar on 8 April on “Personality and Money Matters” to be conducted by Madhu Chaudhuri. The journey has only just begun…


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