There was an air of sisterhood, solidarity and celebration in Campbelltown today.
Dozens of people gathered at WILMA Women’s Health to mark 30 successful years of the service in Campbelltown, coinciding with International Women’s Day.
Staff put on a spread of cakes and sandwiches while guests listen to speeches, tasted teas, got temporary tattoos and listen to the DJ.
The centre, which was opened in 1987, was established to allow women a “safe space” to look after their health and wellbeing.
WILMA offers various services and classes, including acupuncture, meditation, counselling, health services, social work and more.
Specialist case worker – and 15-year WILMA veteran – Jennifer Pareezer said many people had worked determinedly to ensure the centre thrived.
“In 1986, a group of like-minded, passionate and committed women campaigned tirelessly and their hard work and dedication saw a great need for change in how we look at gender informative health services in Macarthur,” she said.
“We are still the first and only all-female safe place in Macarthur.”
Ms Pareezer said the dedication of current staff, management and board members was “beyond words”.
She said Macarthur was growing at a rate higher than the CPI, and the centre’s funding was struggling to keep up.
“WILMA is working harder than ever to stretch the funding we currently have,” she said.
“We don’t want people to miss out because of the lack of increase to our funding.”
A WILMA client also addressed the crowd this morning.
She spoke of moving to Australia from Malaysia in 2006 and soon after suffering a serious and debilitating fall.
Services at WILMA aided in her recovery – but her help was more than just physical.
“WILMA made me feel at home,” she said.
“International Women’s Day is about all of us as much as it is about WILMA.
“All these women come together to help each other, which I think is wonderful.”
Find out more at wilma.org.au.