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Al Murtaza Centre: Community development in action

Since 2002, the Al Murtaza Centre in Glen Eden has performed a vital role in connecting the Indian and Pakistani communities out West.

Managed by the Al Murtaza Association, the centre focuses on supporting newly arrived immigrants, helping them adjust to life in New Zealand with the help of others in their community.

The registered charity operates Auckland-wide, but with a head office in Glen Eden, West Auckland is a natural focus for the association’s work.

The centre oversees a packed calendar of events and programmes. Cultural and religious festivals like Eid are celebrated with community-wide fun days and picnics. However, the centre also runs a series of skills development programmes, including digital skills for young people.

Al Murtaza has recently launched a special programme aimed at upskilling women. ‘Women are the pillar of society,’ says the association’s vice president Syed Atif Ali Naqvi. ‘We are proud to offer a career development programme for women in our community,’ he adds. The exciting programme is underway with driving lessons and Xero accounting software training sessions. Already it’s made a difference in helping new immigrants to develop the skills needed for the workforce.

Young people are another big focus of the centre’s work. Syed says that Covid restrictions significantly impacted the community’s youngest members. ‘Many of our young people were already isolated as they were new to New Zealand,’ Syed reports.

An application to the 2022 Your West Support Fund set about changing that. The $5,000 funding was used to put on four community events for children and teenagers. The centre organised a range of sports and activities to engage the youngsters and plenty of fun was had by all.

‘The events helped build relationships between our young people,’ says Syed. ‘It helped them to understand our cultural values and the importance of staying connected,’ he adds.

Coming as they did after the ending of Covid restrictions, Syed said the timing was perfect. According to Syed, the get-togethers supported young people’s recovery from the isolation experienced during the pandemic. And they have improved the resilience of the youngest community members.

Al Murtaza Centre is continuing its crucial work connecting and engaging with communities in the West. Check out the website for all the latest news and events.