Local Somali leader educates community about COVID

Local Somali leader educates community about COVID
Spencer Fowler Steen

A local Somali leader is helping the community to understand the risks of COVID-19 through her work at the Somali Women’s Development Association Incorporated (SWDAI) in Kensington.

Sainab Sheikh, who founded the SWDAI, worked every day throughout the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic to educate the community about COVID, translating materials and holding Zoom sessions with the latest information.

Sadly, she said some of the community members were infected with COVID-19 and didn’t reach out to health services because they didn’t know what to do or did not understand the risk of the virus.

“Some people, rather than sharing that [burden] and seeking help, they just keep to themselves and that caused to them death,” she said.

“It is hard, because when you know those people, and their families or you know the person who passed away, it’s really sad.”

Ms Sheikh said some Somali Australian community members ended up dying at home last  year, without attending hospital or seeking help.

Since last year’s COVID-19 deaths, Sainab Sheikh and her colleagues from the SWDAI have continued to dedicate themselves to informing and educating the community about COVID-19 and preventing it from spreading.

The SWDAI delivered COVID-19 health advice and information sessions, mental health information sessions, domestic and family violence information sessions, and support, including one-on-one counselling sessions.

Ms Sheikh said that she has set up three different WhatsApp groups that she regularly posts information to the community about COVID-19.

The SWDAI is also working with partner organisations and employment brokers to support African Australian JobSeekers who have been long-term unemployed, also sending emergency food relief packages to those affected by COVID-19 or are in isolation.

Ms Sheikh also said that she appreciated the State Government funding awarded to the SWDAI •

For more information or to volunteer: 

Call 03 85967651 or email [email protected]

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