SAWNAA is founded by Rida Aleem Khan who felt there was a lack of opportunities given to women from South Asian Australian backgrounds. The gap became more prominent during the COVID-19 crisis as countless women were left unemployed, underemployed while rates of family violence increased in the community leaving multicultural women, especially South Asian Australian women powerless and vulnerable. SAWNAA is here to create and share opportunities for South Asian Australian women across different states & territories.
SAWNAA is NOT a service-provider but we can refer women to the right services in their local area for support.
SAWNAA is a digital-network of South Asian women focusing on the following three:
1: Promoting South Asian Trade & Tourism in Australia, with a strong focus on facilitating South Asian Australian women businesses and promoting South Asian products in the Australian market, as well as encouraging South Asian tourism to develop a better narrative of Australian South Asian Multiculturalism.
2: Community Leadership such as connecting with women-empowering INGOs, local not-for-profits and women groups especially those involved in sports for South Asian women in Australia.We encourage South Asian women to actively participate on boards of community organisations.
3: Professional Training and Employment Opportunities where SAWNAA offers opportunities for interested participants to hear from fellow South Asian-women experts prospering in their respective industry or leading enterprises. We also advocate for fairer employment opportunities for South Asian women in Australia.
SAWNAA operates as a digital-network in Australia and will be as diverse and intersectional as possible, and regularly consult their advisors. These advisory board positions will be based on leadership competency, community service experience and a healthy relationship with their communities within or outside Australia.
South Asian organisations in Australia are often founded by and led by men and under represent women and youth. They generally lack the diversity of South Asia and operate in isolation.
Afghanistan- Women from various ethnic tribes including Aimaq, Baloch, Hazara, Pakhtun, Tajik, Turkmen and Uzbek backgrounds. As well as women from smaller ethnic groups (Brahvi, Farsiwan, Kho, Krygyz, Pamiri, Pashai, Nuristani and Wakhi people).
Pakistan– Tribal Pakistani women from tribes such as Baloch, Kashmiri, Pakhtun, Punjabi, Saraiki and Sindhi etc. Interfaith minority women such as Pakistani-Baha’i, Pakistani-Christian, Pakistani-Hindu and Sikh women. As well as Afghan women seeking refuge in South Asian or Western countries.
India–There are over 2000 ethnic tribes in India and over 19,500 languages are spoken. We welcome diverse women from various states of India. Women from various religious and spiritual backgrounds are welcome, including those living on the less known islands of India such as the Andaman and Nicobar islands, albeit there are a total of 1,382 islands in Bengal and India.
We welcome women from Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka.
South Asian women migrant and refugees from African regions, Fiji, Guyana, Malaysia, Mauritius, Singapore and, as well as including the voice of all or any Aboriginal Australian with intermarriages with South Asians such as the “Ghan Cameleer” descendants.
We also welcome any and all South Asian women from LGBTQIAP+ community. And are keen to amplify the voices of Indigenous South Asian women (Bodo, Giraavaru, Jarawa, Kalash, Lhop, Naga, Veddas) plus the 59 Indigenous tribes of Nepal and highly value the voices of Sheedi or Siddi women of South Asia with African roots.
"We acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land and waters, our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander friends. We also acknowledge the 160 years of contribution of Baloch, Saraiki, Sindhi, Pakhtun & Punjabi cameleers & farmers in the making of Australia. We acknowledge & celebrate the spirit of ANZAC & 10th Baluch Regiment. Pakistan Zindabad."