As needed now as 40 years ago

Excerpted from MCWH Board Chair Dr. Tamara Kwarteng’s Gala speech

“MCWH started in 1978 as a solution to a serious problem. Migrant women at the time did not have access to information and education about their contraceptive and other reproductive health options. In response, MCWH developed an innovative program that trained up peer educators to go into women’s workplaces, mostly factories, and to provide women with information in their languages about their health. Fuelled in the first instance by much good will, passion, and a $2,000 TAFE grant, the program made such a difference to migrant women’s lives.”

“Today, MCWH visits migrant women all over Victoria in their workplaces, community settings and schools. Last year alone we met with over 6,000 women to talk about their health and wellbeing. We work with multicultural communities and women’s services to promote gender equality and to prevent violence against women. We work toward changing systems, policies and cultures and we strive for equality, justice, and wellbeing.”

“We are so proud of reaching this milestone of forty years. But in celebrating the past tonight we also have our thoughts to the future. What will migrant women who arrive in Australia over the next ten or 20 years find and experience? What will the lives of the daughters and granddaughters of today’s migrants be like? What kind of a world do we want to create by 2058, by the next 40-year anniversary?”

“MCWH wants to ensure we are sustainable into the future. We want to be around for the next 40 years to work alongside migrant and refugee women to answer these questions, and to continue to create the world we know migrant women need: of equality, justice, freedom from violence, good health and wellbeing. We invite you along for the journey with us.”