Grant winner update: Zahra Foundation

Impact100 SA 2016 winners

In 2016, the newly formed Zahra Foundation won a $100,000 Impact100 SA grant to assist women and their children who are experiencing domestic violence.

The foundation was established by the children of Zahra Abrahimzadeh—a long-suffering victim of domestic violence, brutally murdered by her estranged husband.

Below is an update from the Zahra Foundation outlining how our grant is helping women to escape violence and rebuild their lives.

In 2016 Zahra Foundation Australia presented to a room full of Impact 100 members and was awarded the finalist. At that time this tiny charity had one-part time staff member and a Board of three. The service operated from a small desk within it’s auspicing body Women’s Safety Services SA (formerly known as Central Domestic Violence Service)

Zahra Foundation now employees a team of five dedicated staff, a number of volunteers and delivers programs and services across the Adelaide metropolitan area.

The $100,000 grant meant that we were able to purchase a vehicle, and with a little extra help from CMI Toyota we purchased a RAV4. We also purchased laptops and other IT equipment so that we can deliver training from off-site locations. It truly was the seed funding for an organisation that is now financially sustainable and achieving amazing outcomes for women and their children.

Having our own facilities was a pipe dream several years ago, but in March 2018 we were able to secure our own office and training facilities with the help of Hilton Central. Hilton Central have provided us with an attractive lease agreement with generous rebates, including our first year rent free. We would not have been able to do this without the commitment of our 2016 Impact 100 co-contenders, MOSH Australia. MOSH sub-lease a share of our tenancy which is used as their sorting and distribution point for their op-shop donations. Collaborating with MOSH has meant we can share space and resources, reducing our costs and adding benefit to our client groups.

In 2016 Zahra Foundation secured funding through the Dept of Industry and Skills to develop and deliver an Adult Community Education program tailored to women who have experienced domestic and family violence. The 9 week Pathways to Empowerment program was born and since then we have delivered this program 13 times to over 120 women with 80% of women successfully completing, moving on to a pathway of further education or employment. This program model is unique as it is psycho-educational, trauma informed and meets the needs of each participant by providing individual support.

In 2017 we successfully secured further funding through Wyatt Trust to deliver a specialist financial counselling program which supports women to navigate domestic violence related debt and address financial abuse and financial hardship. To date we have supported over 100 women to address their financial barriers, and provided financial education in a range of different settings and audiences.

Our Pathways Program and our financial counselling program complement each other as they address women’s immediate financial needs, develop women’s financial literacy and capability as well as support women to identify a meaningful pathway into education or employment. Supporting women to become financially independent builds their capacity to break the cycle of violence in their lives and this is evident in the women we support.

In 2018 Zahra Foundation’s Pathways to Empowerment program was a finalist on the Dept of Industry and Skills Training Awards, our Program Manager won Trainer of the Year and we also won the award for Most Outstanding Domestic Violence Service in South Australia.

We have received financial and in kind support from a range of corporates such as IAG, Bunnings, Beyond Bank, Officeworks, Credit Union SA and other small businesses. We also share resources with other NFP’s such as Backpacks 4 Kids and Essentials for Women.

Zahra Foundation raises awareness in the broader community through our co-founders and advocates such as Arman Abrahimzadeh. We also organize community fundraising activities such as our annual Women on the Run event which engages community in addressing the issue of violence against women in our community.

We thank Impact 100 and all of its members, and welcome you all to come and visit our space later in 2019. We look forward to the opportunity to pitch again to you in the coming year as we have some great ideas to create more opportunities for our clients and expand our service delivery.