Together For Humanity recognised

From left: Fatima Ali, Alex Shaw and Rabbi Zalman Kastel. Photo: Noel Kessel.

TOGETHER for Humanity (TFH) has won the Community Peace Award from the Rotary Club of Australia, in recognition of the organisation’s work in challenging prejudice and promoting diversity.

“Together for Humanity is a wonderful organisation,” said Rotary Club of Sydney president Alex Shaw. “They set aside their religious beliefs for humanitarian beliefs and it just goes to show that people can work together for the common good.”

On behalf of TFH, Rabbi Zalman Kastel, Madenia Abdurahman and Ahmed Abdo accepted the award from the deputy chair of the Rotary Club peace committee Fatima Ali, who praised the organisation for its work towards “inclusivity, tolerance, acceptance and respect”.

Accepting the award, Rabbi Kastel said, “It is a great honour to be recognised by the Rotary Club, which has been working towards peace for almost a century. Together for Humanity does not just talk about peace and respect, we model it.”

Abdurahman recalled the “Goodness and Kindness” initiative that TFH ran in 2003, where a rabbi visited Kingsgrove’s Arkana College, which has predominantly Muslim students.

“It took less than 10 minutes for the children to realise that we are all human, and we are all the same,” she said. “We saw changes in their body language, and we saw barriers come down.”

TFH has worked with more than 100,000 children since 2002, helping them find their place in a multicultural society and building bridges between religious communities in Australia.

“The beautiful aspect of Together for Humanity is that we don’t preach,” said Abdo. “We empower the children to question their assumptions. We want them to be able to make rational judgements when they hear speeches reeking of racism and bigotry, whether in Parliament or not.”

Member for Lakemba Jihad Dib congratulated the Rotary Club for “being advocates for a better society”, and thanked TFH for “putting themselves on the frontline to make a difference”.

YAEL BRENDER