REPORT OF THE PRESIDENT
It is my tenth year serving as President of the Vietnamese Australian Welfare Association (VAWA) and I am proud to be presenting this ninth Annual Report.
Since the day I was bound to this Association in 2006, I have seen it move forward, step by step to become a major welfare identity and service provider in the Vietnamese community. It has overcome many challenges and achieved many outstanding successes which have brought the benefit to the Community in the last financial year.
It is my pleasure to report that the financial year of 2015-2016 is the most successful year for VAWA due to the strong and valuable financial support from:
- Federal Department of Social Services
- NSW Department of Family and Community Services
- NSW Department of Aging, Disability Services, Multiculturalism
- Bankstown Communities for Children Facilitating Partner/The Smith Family
- Fairfield City Council
- Canterbury/Bankstown City Council
- Mekong Club/Mounties Groups
- Bankstown Sport Club
- Cabra-Vale Diggers Club
I would like to thank and acknowledge these most needed supporters. They have given us the resources and opportunity to provide long term services and support to vulnerable Vietnamese children/youth and their families.
I would like also thank our partners who are prepared to give us full support and encouragement in providing services to reduce the suffering for people and to lower criminal offending in the community:
- Fairfield Community Corrections
- Cabramatta Police LAC
- Vietnamese Drug and Alcohol Professionals
- Vietnamese Community in Australia, NSW Chapter
Most of all, I would like to thank the support of our Members and specially Members of the Management Committee, the staff and our precious volunteers. Without their dedication and commitment, we would not been able to achieve our highly successful outcomes over the past 12 months.
This financial year, we have successfully achieved all six key objectives in our Strategic Plan. In addition, through the input of our supporting partners, major government stakeholders and most importantly, the input of our clients, we have realised the need to develop a new strategic plan to address issues of criminality in the community. This is considered as crucial element in the drive to prevent the risk for our children/youth and their families and forms a key element of our community’s successful settlement in Australia. In the last twelve months, VAWA has set ground for this new “crime prevention project” and considered it as a major objective for 2016-2017 financial year.
EARLY INTERVENTION AND PREVENTION PROJECT
Once again, the Early Intervention and Prevention Program (EIPP) is considered our most successful project. It has achieved an outstanding outcome with an improved 17.63% better performance than last year to reach 173.33% of the Department of Family and Community Services’ target. The number of clients who sought VAWA assistance increased to 312/180 cases (= 1999 services provided) compared to 274/178 cases last financial year. To support this case management, eight workshops were conducted to provide practical and relevant information to parents and families, thereby assisting them in solving their problems and issues.
As planned this financial year, VAWA has focussed on local need and outcome measurement to address impacts and connections with Department’s ”Keep them Safe” strategy and other strategies of Child Protection (Safe Home for Life), Homelessness (Going Home, Stay Home) and Domestic Violence.
Furthermore, sporting activities (Soccer, Basketball and Tennis) were organised for children and youth to keep them away from the risk of getting involved in undesirable activities. This outstanding performance achieved through the dedication and hard work of our EIPP Case Worker, Mr Van Duyet PHAM and a number of volunteers.
This is an unfunded project however, VAWA Management Committee considered it necessary to continue to provide this service to Local and Regional Vietnamese Australians due to the fact that a significant proportion of recent arrivals (from 1 – 5 years) are marginalised for reason of ethnicity, culture and/or low economic status. The demand for this service is very high and continuing to rise. This financial year, despite limited resources, VAWA dealt with 321 cases seeking help (= 1682 services provided). With only 3 part time volunteers, VAWA was unable to adequately meet demand for this important service. I highly praise all those volunteers for their warm hearted dedication and significant efforts. They have sacrificed their precious time without any financial support to help the needy. I am unable to thank them enough for their kind contributions.
IN SEARCH FOR RESOURCES
VAWA needs sufficient resources to continue to provide the wide range of support and services to the growing demand of the needy in the Vietnamese Australian Community. We have been fighting hard for the scarce funding allocation. The Research & Planning Sub-Committee has submitted twelve submissions for funding in this financial year in the hope we can hire extra staff for these much needed services. We successfully obtained six support funding grants in the range from $1,000 to $25,000 however those funds can be used only for project activities and not for hiring staff. This has created even further pressure on our 1.5 paid staff members and three volunteers. It poses a very serious problem to the operation of our services and represents an urgent priority that requires more intensive lobbying to get better funding allocation to support our vital services to the vulnerable members of our community.
COLLABORATION AND CO-OPERATION
VAWA is proud to have a largest and most effective network and will continue to keep this good relationship with the government and non-government agencies. Working in partnership is our strength and we maintain that precious network with the Vietnamese Community in Australia, NSW Chapter (VCA), Sydney Vietnamese Workers Interagency (SVWI), Vietnamese Drug and Alcohol Professionals (VDAP), Federation of Vietnamese Language Schools Inc., Vietnamese Australian Tennis Association (VATA), Vietnamese Women Association, NSW (VWA), Matilda News Inc. (SBTN Television, Radio, Liberty Time Newspaper), SBS Radio, Vietnamese Australian Medical Association, Community for Children Facilitating Partner/The Smith Family, Fairfield Community Corrections, Creating Links, Bankstown Community Corrections, Cabramatta Police Community Consultative Committee, Legal Aids, Bankstown Multicultural Youth Services (BYMS), Drug and Alcohol Multicultural Education Centre (DAMEC), Fairfield Community Drug Action Team (CDAT), SWSLHD Drug Health Services (Fairfield Hospital), Fairfield Mayor’s Crime Prevention Reference Committee (MCPRC), Community &Cultural Connections Inc., CommunityMinds, Bankstown Multicultural Health Services, Multicultural Health Communication Service, Local Public & High Schools, TAFE Colleges, Western Sydney University, NAVITAS, Salvation Army, St Vincent De Paul, Hume Community Housing and many others. VAWA also has good working relationships with Federal Department of Social Services, Federal Department of Immigration and Border Protection, State Department of family and Community Services, State Department of Aging, Disability Services and Multiculturalism and other Government and Non-Government Agencies.
We also acknowledge that our goals could not be achieved without strong partnership and support from other service providers and their staff. We will strengthen the relationship with other agencies for the benefit of the people in our community, children/youth at risk and their families.
DEVELOPMENT OF NEW PROJECTS
While VAWA would continue with funded project
Early Intervention & Prevention Placement (EIPP) funded by Department of Family and Community Services
We will commence the following funded projects in the next financial year:
- Safe Homes, Happy Families (SHHF) funded by Department of Social Services/ CfC Facilitating Partner (The Smith Family)
- Entertainment for The Aged People funded by Fairfield City Council Club Grants -Mekong Club/Mounties Groups
- Promote The Participation of Young People funded by Multicultural NSW
- Volunteer funded by Department of Social Services
- Make them Happy funded by Canterbury Bankstown City Council
Furthermore, VAWA has set the groundwork for the newly planned Crime Prevention and Successful Settlement Projects. These projects pinpoint three remaining serious issues in the Vietnamese Australian Community: Domestic Violence, Problem Gambling and Drug and Alcohol Abuse which cause ongoing problems for successful settlement. To assist the achievement of the above objectives, a number of other crucial issues need to be resolved such as Employment, Homelessness, Keep Children Stay On at School etc.
The “Transitional Counselling Services” program (commenced in May 2015) was developed to address these issues. This program was developed in partnership with the Vietnamese Drug and Alcohol Professionals (VDAP) and with the cooperation of other specialists including a Registered Psychologist (PhD), a Clinical & Forensic Psychologist, a Qualified AOD Counsellor, and a Qualified Family Relationship Counsellor. This Service became the referral facility for the Vietnamese offenders in the Community Corrections and importantly, has been welcomed and supported by Cabramatta Police LAC, Fairfield and Bankstown Community Corrections with thirteen referrals in 2014-2015 financial year and 11 referrals in 2015-2016 financial year.
Building on this initiative, VAWA plans to go further to address the issue of Domestic Violence by developing an Eight Session “Vietnamese Domestic Abuse Group Program” in partnership with Fairfield Community Corrections and Vietnamese Drug & Alcohol Professionals. In combination with this program, we could also provide services to help the victims through settlement and counselling programs to make it a complete package. The project still waits for the Government financial support prior to going ahead full steam.
VAWA also continues to develop further projects such as Sport Activities in partnership with Vietnamese Australian Tennis Association and other Sporting Groups which encourage and train the children/youth to live healthily, be responsible and get away from criminal activities through focussing on sporting activities such as Tennis, Soccer and Basketball. The project carries the theme of “A Strong Physical Presence Creates a Strong Community”.
PROMOTION OF ORGANISATION AND ITS SERVICES
I can proudly say that VAWA has come to life and has been praised for its services to the community at both the NSW State and Federal Parliaments. This contribution to the community has been recorded in both Parliaments’ Hansards. VAWA is now recognised as a major Welfare Services identity in the Vietnamese Community due to all Members of this Association being prepared to sacrifice their time and effort to serve with an attitude of “not asking for anything in return”. It is now widely known by government and non-government agencies alike. This achievement is a result of ten years tireless work of all Members, the Management Committee, Staff and Volunteers.
The promotion of VAWA Services has been strongly supported by Matilda News Inc. (it operates Saigon Broadcasting Television Network(SBTN), Radio Network and The Liberty Time Newspaper) and SBS Radio which proved to be very effective. I would like to thank these media facilities for their valuable support.
VAWA’s own Website www.vawa.org.au launched three years ago has proved to be the most effective way for promoting the organisation and its services. It is now surprisingly popular not just with our people in Australia but also in USA, Vietnam and European countries. It became the most read welfare website within the Vietnamese Community around the world. This achievement is a result of tireless effort of the Website Team including Mr Hoang Chuong CHU, IT Engineer and Webmaster, Ms Doan Trang DOAN. They have spent countless hours, day and night, to update fresh information daily and make the website interesting. I could not thank them enough for their efforts.
Last but not least, I would like to acknowledge and thank the valuable co-operation, contribution from all members of the VAWA Management Committee:
- Mr Dang Khoa NGUYEN, Vice President of External Affairs
- Mr Minh TRAN, Vice President of Internal Affairs
- Ms Doan Trang DOAN, Secretary, Projects & Volunteers Co-ordinator
- Mr Thanh Hoang DIEP, Treasurer
I sincerely thank you for your utmost support, dedication and sacrifice to our Association. It has been an absolute pleasure to work with you all.
The success of our services was relied on our dedicated, skilful and excellent staff:
Mr Van Duyet PHAM, EIPP Case Worker
Ms Hanna Thu Ha PHAN, volunteer & Bookkeeper (Part Time)
The comments from our clients about their professionalism, dedication, helpfulness, friendliness and positive attitude are excellent. Congratulations to you both for a very successful year.
I cannot thank all our volunteers enough for their dedication, sacrifice and warm hearted contributions to VAWA in providing the services to disadvantaged young people, refugees and new migrants from Vietnam and thereby assisting this Association in accomplishing the just cause with your skills, precious time and efforts. I am very appreciative for the contribution of:
- Mr Dang Loi NGUYEN, Settlement Assistant
- Mr Hoang Chuong CHU, Website Assistant
- Ms Ngoc Thuy DUONG, General Assistant
- Ms My Linh NGUYEN, General Assistant
- Mr Duy Tue PHAN, Sporting Activity Assistant
I sincerely thank all our Members for supporting our decisions throughout this financial year in extending our operation for the long term viability of this Association. We will continue to provide the most needed services to the most vulnerable people in our community. I ask you all to continue supporting our organisation by encouraging others to join our Association.
This Association is now placed on the hands of our next generation and I call upon them, the young members to step forward and join force with the organisation’s “Rejuvenate Drive”. The future of VAWA is on your hands.
Ambrose Q.H. DINH, JP
Vietnamese Australian Welfare Association (VAWA)