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The inaugural Canterbury Pitch

Canterbury community gathers to hear brilliant ideas that drive positive change.

Two men and a woman holding a giant cheque
SydneyConnect Image: Canterbury Pitch winners

A culturally and religiously inclusive school program teaching young women health and hygiene skills will be expanded after winning $30,000 in funding at the first Canterbury Pitch.

“This grant is a great opportunity to grow our Taharah program to infiltrate as many schools as possible,” Muslim Women Australia Project Officer Yasmeen Ghamraoui said. 

The Canterbury Pitch is a Sydney Local Health District initiative that allows local organisations to pitch their brilliant ideas for District funding to drive positive changes in health and wellbeing for communities in the area.

Following a successful pilot run as a school holiday activity, the Taharah (Purification) program addresses issues adolescent Muslim women face around health, puberty, and self-care.

It supports education, health and hygiene in a culturally and religiously inclusive framework, revising current programs, and provides appropriate information to schools and community groups.

Three finalists will share $50,000 in funding after successfully pitching their initiatives to District executives, culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) community leaders, and peers. 

“It wouldn’t be a Pitch if we didn’t spread the love across all the participants and presentations because they were all so great,” Canterbury Hospital General Manager Michael Morris said. 

Breaking the cycle of stigma is a key driver for many ideas to support CALD communities in our District, including the Arab Council Australia’s Qahwah ‘w’ Dardasha, or Coffee and Chat program.

A pop-up mental health support service for the Arabic-speaking community, it seeks to break down barriers people face when seeking help.

Hala Al Duleimi, Arab Council Australia’s Health and Disability Unit Manager was awarded $10,000 for her pitch and recreated a coffee and chat session during her presentation.

“This money matters because it’s going to be the seed to start bigger projects, to help my Arabic community raise awareness about mental health,” Hala said. 

The Lebanese Muslim Association also won $10,000 for the Rahma Early Childhood School Transitioning Program.

Led by Chief Programs Officer Bronwyn Hadife and Psychologist Khaled Kamalmaz, the program works with parents of children aged 3 to 5 years to support healthy transitioning to school by addressing cultural and language differences, social and emotional support needs and settlement issues.

Judges at the event included Chief Executive Dr Teresa Anderson, Lakemba General Practitioner and active community member Dr Fariha Dib, Executive Director of District Clinical Services Integration and Population Health Lou-Anne Blunden, Acting Director of District Mental Health Service Andrew McDonald, and Canterbury General Manager Michael Morris. 

It is based on The Pitch – Sydney Local Health District’s funding initiative to help to bring innovative ideas from around the District to life. With over 250 pitches and over $1.6 million in investments, The Pitch helps staff in the District care for patients, families and the community.