It’s no small feat for a not-for-profit to be celebrating its 40th anniversary. But that’s exactly what Toora Women Inc will do this August.
For 40 years, Toora Women Inc has been supporting vulnerable Canberra women, providing a safe haven for women and children fleeing family violence, and supporting women through drug and alcohol rehabilitation, the transition from corrections and homelessness.
In 2021, Toora provided services to more than 500 women and children. It’s a legacy that Kellie Friend, recently appointed CEO of Toora, is proud to be celebrating.
It’s a full-circle moment for Kellie who spent most of her career carving her mark in local and federal government but started out in the alcohol and drug sector. She explains that one of her key goals for Toora’s next 40 years is for people to understand just how insidious these issues are, even in Canberra.
“In my first week I went out and spoke to the women—our clients—and it reminded me that these are women of all walks of life…our family members, our colleagues and our friends.. The trauma and experiences women bring to Toora are a complex blend of issues.” Often requiring women to access our full continuum of service delivery from women and children escaping domestic and family violence, have drug and alcohol therapeutic services and residential facilities, coming home from corrections support and homelessness services.”
Toora delivers services to women and children from varied backgrounds, with 22% Identifying as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and 35% from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds
To achieve all this, Kellie works alongside a team of 47 dedicated Toora staff members who rely heavily on government funding and donations from the public to deliver these services.
While Toora will be celebrating its 40th anniversary across the year, the organization has also joined together with Canberra Labor Club to be the charity partner for its annual International Women’s Day Charity Dinner on Thursday 10 March at Canberra Labor Club Belconnen.
A night of empowering conversation as well as food, drinks, entertainment and a charity raffle, Kellie says she’s honored to be speaking at the event alongside a diverse panel of Canberra women, and that she looks forward to sharing stories of Toora’s important work.
“We’re really grateful for the opportunity to host this event with Canberra Labor Club—it’s all about awareness,” says Kellie.
“Sometimes when we are so fortunate, we can forget that people around us are struggling and need to be supported at a systemic and community level to address these issues.”
Kellie hopes she does Toora’s clients justice when speaking at the event, as so many cannot speak for themselves.
“Some of the women can’t come and speak because their safety is still in jeopardy—even 10 to 15 years later. They’re still not in a position to live freely because of the potential risk to them and their family. It’s insidious. This is a life-long challenge for them and prevention is the only way we erase these issues.”
Tickets to the Canberra Labor Club International Women’s Day Charity dinner are just $98 per person for a three-course dinner, drinks package, entertainment, charity raffle and panel discussion—and, of course, the chance to support the vital work of Toora Women Inc .
You can find out more about Toora at www.toora.org.au.
What: Canberra Labor Club International Women’s Day Charity Dinner
When: Thursday 10 March from 6 pm
Where: Canberra Labor Club Belconnen
Tickets: $98 per person
Dress: Smart business/cocktail
HerCanberra is a proud media partner of this event