Rida Zehra Abidi

Originally from Pakistan, mother of three, Rida Zehra Abidi arrived here in 2013 and has since made Glenroy her home.

“When I close my eyes, I can move around any street. Different languages, cultures, differences and unity are all here. It’s a good place to live. My wish is to buy my house here.”

Rida’s dedication to fostering inclusivity is evidenced by her multilingual communication efforts and engagement with various projects within the Merri-bek City Council.

“People from my community said, ‘You have good communication, and are good at connecting things!’ Now, I work as a bridge connecting my community and the Council.”

Rida’s program ‘Fitness Fusion’ promotes women’s health and wellbeing, while recognising religious and cultural backgrounds, and family restrictions. Through ‘Fitness Fusion’ she was able to create a program where women can come and try the many different types of sports and activities, free of charge, and with women instructors.

“As you can see, I wear a scarf [because of my religion]. Sometimes women are a bit reluctant to be seen to exercise.” Rida then continues, “But it’s not about being skinny, but the benefits. We can come together and bring our children, which is very important for us.”

Rida recognises that it’s a big community and there’s a big responsibility in doing what she does. But with all the work she does for the council, also come the rewards. She is happy and grateful that the people from her community recognise how she has helped them. When asked about being nominated for this award, Rida responded with a dazzling smile.

“I feel like I’m on a stage with all the lights on me. It seems like someone is saying, “You are doing an amazing job!”