Coffee with…Monique Hameed: Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health

Describe your role in facilitating the workshops on intersectionality that MCWH, WHE and MIC are coordinating for the prevention workforce in the EMR.

My role at MCWH is as the National Training Officer and I have been working with the Together for Equality and Respect team to deliver workshops on Intersectionality and using intersectional frameworks to engage immigrant and refugee communities.

The TFER Partnership and Strategy have been working since 2012 to strengthen the Region’s ability to prevent violence against women.

What sort of work were you doing prior to starting at MCWH?

Before I started at MCWH I was working in two roles. One was tutoring a subject called Aboriginal Land, Law and Philosophy in the Australian Indigenous Studies Department at the University of Melbourne. It is an amazing subject run by Philip Morrissey that explores issues such as land tenure, crime and punishment, political representation, social policy, cultural production and governance from both non-Indigenous and Indigenous perspectives.

My other role was helping coordinate Undercurrent Victoria, a volunteer based organisation run in high schools throughout the western suburbs of Melbourne. Undercurrent runs workshops on healthy relationships, family violence and sexual assault, gender and sexuality, support, accountability and consent.

What excites and motivates you in your role?

Getting to work with an amazing team of women from migrant and refugee backgrounds. The conversations we have around the office always stimulate my mind and push me to think about things in different ways. It’s also MCWH’s 40th birthday this year and I feel excited to be part of an organisation that has been supporting migrant and refugee women for so long!

What is most challenging about your work?

Increasingly, we are finding that people are asking for shorter workshops on topics that require deep work and thoughtful attention, issues related to intersectionality like race, class, gender, power and privilege.

Sometimes doing a short workshop can help make space for the longer workshop to happen down the track but mostly it’s people wanting to achieve the outcomes of a two-day training in two hours! Understandably, organisations that have limited funding and resources find it hard to find the time to do this sort of work so when there is only two hours I try to be honest about the limitations of what we can achieve.

What strengths do you see in the community you work with?

I work with many different communities in my role but a lot of our external training is done with people working in health services: social workers, nurses, carers, admin staff, project officers…

I see a lot of effort and hard work being done by these participants to self-reflect and think about the power that they hold as workers in the space. They are thinking about power not just on the individual level but on the organisational and structural level and are finding ways to challenge those institutional barriers that impact marginalised communities. That strength and determination is really exciting to see.

What kind of a cuppa do you brew when you sit down at your desk in the morning?

I’m very serious about my tea and I love drinking the loose leaf black tea from The Brew Story. Both the Chai brew and the Masala brew are amazing. The Brew Story is run by one of our Bilingual Health Educators Manasi – she came in one day with some samples and we were all hooked! https://www.thebrewstory.com.au/shop/

If you could change one thing about the world right now, what would it be?

I would change something about people’s ability to really listen to each other…or maybe I would get rid of capitalism. It’s such a huge question!

If you weren’t working at MCWH right now, what would you be doing?

I have some dreams of writing stories for TV so maybe I’d be jumping head first into that!

We acknowledge the Wurundjeri people and other peoples of the Kulin nation as the traditional owners of the land on which our work in the community takes place. We pay our respects to their Elders past and present.

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