On Wednesday 25th January 2017, a representative from TASCS Australia, had the pleasant opportunity to meet again with Dr Cahit Guven. Cahit had arranged a for a meeting between the Society, himself and with Mr Ahmet Keskin, who is the Executive Director of the Australian Intercultural Society.
For those who may not be familiar, the Australian Intercultural Society is a not-for profit organisation which was established in Melbourne in 2000. The aims of the organisation, is to promote multiculturalism and foster intercultural and interfaith dialogue, together with various events. The AIS seeks to reach out to all members of society, by providing a platform for cultural and information exchange, which is inspired by the thoughts and works of Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish Islamic scholar who emphasises the importance of dialogue, respect and tolerance for all peoples.
With that in mind, the meeting began with an explanation of the nature of haemoglobinopathies, the concerns and needs of patients, along with the work that TASCS Australia engages in. The discussion proceeded to examine the various ways in which TASCS Australia and the AIS will be able to coordinate efforts in raising awareness of haemoglobinopathies, encourage people to donate blood, and raise funding for TASCS Australia’s community service. Both Ahmet and Cahit suggested a range of events throughout the year which will help raise funds and awareness for the cause of thalassaemia and sickle cell anaemia. The development of campaigns to raise awareness in various ethnic and Islamic communities, public lectures, attendance to conferences, school and mosque visits, combined blood drives and so forth.
It was agreed that there were many projects on which TASCS Australia and the AIS could work on together, and can develop a public relations strategy, so as to bring haemoglobinopathies to the fore of public attention. It was agreed that regular meetings to touch base are a necessity, so as to coordinate programs and events throughout the year.
However, there were expressions of concerns by the Society’s representative regarding the forthcoming projects, as the Society’s limited human resources, in terms of members and volunteers, may hamper the execution certain tasks. The Society’s representative highlighted that this shortfall will need to be rectified but that it will take time, as membership needs to rise and the need to secure greater numbers of volunteers. Thus the number of events and projects that are feasible will be limited for now, and that the need to start off with smaller objectives before gradually building things up. After all, there is only so much that can be done with limited human and financial resources. Of course such a situation is disheartening for the Society, because there is a fervent desire to wish to offer something better for those affected by haemoglobinopathies. Nevertheless, TASCS Australia left the meeting with Ahmet and Cahit more reassured that a significant beginning has been made, and which will grow in time. It is the belief of the Society, that those members and volunteers will be found, and that TASCS Australia will be able to do more, and offer more, for the benefit of all those affected by haemoglobinopathies. Time, persistence and patience are of course the essential ingredients for progress and success.