About the Australian Blouza Association
The Australian Blouza Association Incorporated (“the Association”) is a non-political organisation formed in 1954. Indeed the Association was the first of its kind to be formed in Australia and follows the arrival of the first group of immigrants in 1949 from the village of Blouza in the district of North Lebanon.
As proud and active members of the Maronite Catholic faith, the Association is arguably the third largest of its kind in Australia with over four thousand five hundred members in Australia. Amongst its members are active brothers and sisters of the Clergy (Msr Fr Joseph Takchi, Rev Fr Antoun Chidiac, Rev Fr Sam Wehbe, Sr Josephine Wehbe, Sr Genevieve Doumit, Sr Rosetherese Tannous), university graduates, business and trade persons from almost every discipline. We also acknowledge the late Rev Fr Elias Ayoub.
The Association is currently based in Granville (previously Westmead) with significantly, a large concentration of members residing in the Parramatta and Bankstown areas.
The Association’s Constitution contains a statement of fifteen objectives, with our mission best summed up as follows:
“Continue to foster an environment where all members of Blouza are united and respected by their peers in Australia and abroad by virtue of our deeds and actions”.
The Association is proud of its heritage but equally, also proud to be Australian. We are keen to actively take part in and help improve the quality of Australian life as exemplified through our various fund raising efforts.
Over the past nine years, the Association has raised and donated in excess of A$350,000.00 to worthwhile organisations in Australia. These organisations include:
- NSW Breast Cancer Institute (see below);
- Make a Difference Foundation (see below);
- The Australian Cancer Research Foundation;
- The Heart Foundation;
- The Royal Australasian College of Surgeons;
- The Asthma Foundation of New South Wales;
- The Right to Life Foundation;
- The NSW Leukemia Foundation;
- St Patricks Cathedral Rebuilding Fund;
- The Millenium Foundation;
- SIDS and Kids NSW;
- Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia.
In 1996, a civic reception was held by the Parramatta City Council in recognition of the Association’s service to the community, and fund raising efforts towards the Cancer Council of NSW.
In October 2002, the Association in conjunction with its Late Member Ms Mary Eltakchi held its most successful charitable fundraising event. The function, entitled “Believe in a Miracle” raised in excess of $170,000.00 for the NSW Breast Cancer Institute. It has been reported that this event alone netted the largest single donation ever afforded the Institute, a fact which the Eltakchi family and members of the Association are very justifiably proud of.
The Association is a keen participant and supporter of “Make a Difference” Foundation, which is headed by Mr Raymond and Mrs Shirley Wehbe. This foundation (based in Parramatta) holds meals for homeless people on Christmas Day. Members of the Association participate in making the Christmas lunch a successful one for the foundation.
The Association also boasts a successful and pro active Ladies Auxiliary, and a dedicated team visiting the sick and elderly, and a team assisting bereaved families with funeral arrangements.
The Association has also been active in providing financial assistance on humanitarian grounds to the needy in the village of Blouza. This is in addition to the significant financial support for the provision of water and other basic infrastructure. Over the past few years, the Association has remitted approximately A$300,000 to Blouza to fund a water project. This has encompassed the following:
- Water Drilling operations – which has resulted in the provision (for the first time in history) of an abundant supply of quality drinking water for village residents;
- The construction of a large water tank – which has the capacity to hold over 2 million litres of water;
- The distribution of water to both households in the village and irrigation pools, which are expected to continue fuelling the revival of the infant local agricultural industry which is the main source of income for the people of Blouza.