Winner of Tackling Ageism Award announced

05 December 2022

A South Australian organisation supporting refugees and migrants to actively participate in the wider community has been awarded the Office for Ageing Well Tackling Ageism Award

The Australian Refugee Association (ARA), operating in Salisbury, Torrensville and Mitchell Park, has been recognised for its commitment to tackling ageism through its Zimala Project, which means ‘fellowship’ in Arabic.

The project has supported more than 100 men aged 50 and over with Syrian, Afghani, Hazara, Pashtun, and African refugee and migrant backgrounds to stay active and engaged in the community through cultural and social experiences and support.

It promotes inclusion by connecting the men with health and government services information and offering social opportunities such as trips to parks, community gardens, and excursions to the beach and fishing.

This helps to overcome loneliness and tackle ageism head-on by linking the men to the wider community and empowering them to share their wisdom, knowledge, and experiences despite varying cultural, social and economic backgrounds.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the ARA even adapted the project to include digital communications such as WhatsApp and worked to turn around attitudes to vaccines by presenting facts to replace hearsay and opinions spread through social media.

The Zimala Project has been such a success with Arabic-speaking men that the ARA has now opened it up to the broader community.

The Office for Ageing Well Tackling Ageism Award was presented at the South Australian Community Achievement Awards held on Friday night.

Quotes attributable to Office for Ageing Well Executive Director, Cassie Mason:

Office for Ageing Well is greatly encouraged that such diverse organisations and individuals are taking action to challenge ageism and better promote the value of older people and ageing well.

I congratulate all 22 Award nominees, including our other finalists, Embraced Incorporated, The Art Bus, Mindset for Life and the Kapunda Senior Citizens’ Club.

We continue to work through South Australia’s Plan for Ageing Well 2020-2025 to overcome ageism so South Australians, no matter their age, can live well.