$2.5 million for Lebanese Muslim Association for community cohesion project

The Lebanese Muslim Association will receive $2.5 million in funding from the Rudd Government to promote community cohesion in South Western Sydney through its Engage, Challenge, Grow project.

Minister for Multicultural Affairs Kate Lundy, the Member for Watson Tony Burke and Member for Blaxland Jason Clare made the announcement August 3 which will support the Lebanese Muslim Association in running the Engage, Challenge, Grow project. The project aims to promote cross-cultural contact between different communities, foster understanding and respect, and break down barriers to cohesion.

The funding will be provided as part of the $15 million Empowering Multicultural Communities initiative which is designed to support local communities as they embrace the benefits of multiculturalism and maintain socially inclusive neighbourhoods.

The Lebanese Muslim Association is a well-respected not-for-profit community organisation in South Western Sydney with an established reputation for providing social, educational, recreational and welfare services to the Muslim community.

The Engage, Challenge, Grow project will run in three streams:

1. Engage

The engagement phase of the program will include the development of a Young Muslims Advisory Group and will also identify high-profile Australian Muslims to be positive role models for Muslim youth.

2. Challenge

The challenge phase will facilitate a number of events to engage Muslim families within the wider community to foster understanding, respect and build community resilience.

This phase will include a series of open days to break down the barriers and misconceptions by creating an open dialogue with the non-Muslim community.

A short film designed to challenge misconceptions about Muslim women will also be produced and screened as part of the Challenge phase.

3. Grow
The final component of the program will include an outreach project that will create opportunities for young Muslim men and women to become trainees and complete a Certificate IV in youth work.

Throughout delivery and upon completion, the program will be evaluated by an independent external and suitably qualified consultant.