Sada-e-Watan Sydney ™

Crest1.tifShaoquett Moselmane MLC

Member of the Legislative Council

Parliament of New South Wales

Shaoquett Moselmane Speech on Wheelchairs for Kids and Humanitarian Work with Pakistani and other Ethnic Communities

 The Hon. SHAOQUETT MOSELMANE [6.31 p.m.]: Humanitarian work and volunteering has become the hallmark of being an Australian. Hundreds, if not thousands, of Australians do whatever it takes to help not only their fellow citizens but also their brothers and sisters across the globe. I am proud to be part of this global humanitarianism crossing all boundaries of race and religion. Serving those in need is the ultimate test of humanity, and having met so many selfless people over the years has inspired me to become even more involved. I am proud to have initiated a number of fundraisers in recent years and to have raised money for the Victorian bushfire appeal, Queensland flood appeal, China earthquake appeal, Japan tsunami appeal, East African famine appeal, Wheelchair for Kids appeal, and I recently commenced work on the China initiative of Youth Off The Streets. Of all the fundraising work I have been involved in, none has touched me more or given me greater joy than being involved in the inspirational organisations of Youth Off The Streets and Wheelchairs for Kids, convened by Father Chris Riley and Gerry Georgatos.

Wheelchairs for Kids is a Rotary supported not-for-profit volunteer group of retirees who manufacture wheelchairs and then donate them throughout the world to poor and disabled children, particularly those in developing countries. Some 25,000 wheelchairs have been manufactured and donated to 61 countries during the 14 years of Wheelchairs for Kids. Last December I held my first fundraiser for Wheelchairs for Kids, in conjunction with the Lebanese Community Council of New South Wales. At that function 40 guests raised $30,000. I thank the following people for their generosity: Bill Elcheikh, Michael Jarjoura, OAM, WalidAwada, Hassan Harb, Adnan Murad, Mahmoud Mouhana, my brother, Mohamed Mouslimani, and Zack Rifai.

A container of 330 wheelchairs has been sent to Iraq and another is on its way to Lebanon. These will be followed by another container of 340 wheelchairs to Gaza and another to Pakistan. By the end of the year I hope to send two more containers to Iraq and Lebanon. Overall, I hope to raise enough money to send eight wheelchair containers.

This Sunday at Guildford Moustapha Hamid's Bhanin El-Minieh Association and I will hold a family fundraising Harmony Day festival.
Another is being planned for Pakistan with his Excellency Azam Mohamed, Consul General of Pakistan, with the support of the Australian Pakistani community. My newest project is establishing a relationship of cooperation between Father Riley's Youth Off The Streets and a community correction centre in Xuhui District, Shanghai, China. Over the past five months I have made a couple of visits to China seeking to establish the Australian Guangxi Chamber of Commerce and the Australian Chengdu Chamber of Commerce. I will report on the great progress that has been made on those two initiatives on another occasion.

On my first visit I raised the issue of the potential for Youth Off The Streets to help the youth of China with Mr Lin Guan Liang, Deputy Director of the Inspection Division, Communist Party, Shanghai Branch. Director Lin had shown extensive interest in the welfare of young people. Proudly, thanks to Director Lin, on my second visit I represented Father Riley's Youth Off The Streets.

 Father Riley's organisation works with young homeless people who are drug dependent and recovering from abuse. Following my visit, our Chinese counterpart organisation has written to me expressing interest in sending a delegation of youth workers to learn from Father Riley's organisation. I am thankful to Father Riley and Youth Off The Streets Ambassador, Mr Tony Stewart, a former member of this Parliament, for the confidence they have bestowed upon me in giving me the opportunity to represent Youth Off The Streets and establish what may become a significant opportunity in serving the interests of young people in Australia and China. In my inaugural speech in March 2010 I said:

 “One of my motivations for entering public life is to help those in need. Today our youth need our help and deserve a fair go. Some of our young are disillusioned and feel neglected and have low self-esteem. It is incumbent upon us to do more for our youth and to devote more government resources to meet their needs. We must help keep our young engaged in body and in mind. It is in this vein that I make a special mention of one of Australia's cherished youth leaders, Father Chris Riley. His Youth Off the Streets foundation is nothing short of exceptional. He has my deepest respect because of his hands-on approach to helping our young people to achieve their best. Let us invest in our youth by extending a helping hand to them to get ahead.”


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