Volunteer Mama Hakima’s connection with the Ubuntu Empowering Mothers Project has been life changing, with three generations in her family benefitting.

Mama Hakima was introduced to the project in 2019 through friends who, showing true community spirit, encouraged her to take part in the many activities on offer. She now meets regularly with other women involved in the project to take part in support sessions. During the COVID-19 lockdowns in 2020 they took these sessions online, to ensure no-one felt alone. The women focus on empowering and assisting each other to find jobs and to work through personal issues in their lives.

“Ubuntu is sharing – if there is a problem your family has, you have to share that problem with others so they can help to find the solution.”

“If you have any problem, come, you’ll see what we do at the Community Centre, and you will be happy.”

Times were tough for Mama Hakima when one of her daughters had a baby, and she had no source of income and lived too far to travel between houses to help look after the newborn. Through support from the Ubuntu Empowering Mothers Project team, Mama Hakima’s daughter successfully secured herself a job working in customer service for V/Line, and was assisted to find herself and her baby a home where she can work and live independently.

Now, Mama Hakima is able to help take care of her grandchild and support her daughter as she works to provide for her family.

“It’s good to work while you’re young or it’s going to be hard later”.

The project is grounded in the African philosophy of Ubuntu, which emphasises the importance of connections and strong relationships between individuals, families and communities and is often described by the statement ‘I am because we are’.  

The Ubuntu Empowering Mothers Project is helping to build the capacity of African-Australian mothers to use Ubuntu to strengthen family, community and societal relationships and to support young people to live fulfilling lives.  

The range of help available includes employment pathways, housing, culturally appropriate counselling and essential food items aimed at ensuring they are not alone and have a safe place to call home.  

The project is also being delivered in Melbourne’s west by The Australian-African Foundation for Retention and Opportunity (AAFRO).

The Ubuntu Empowering Mothers project received $516,000 in funding from the Victorian Government with the program’s impacts being evaluated by the University of Melbourne.