News from the Women’s Branch

By Janene Sadhu – NWB President

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Since the last issue of Blind Citizens News, our branch has held two teleconferences. We thank guest speakers Jennifer Parry and Karen Passmore for talking about their experiences when we looked at the impact that blindness and sight loss has on women’s lives.

We also tackled the topic of how to motivate ourselves to stay connected with our community in the cold winter months. Thank you to all who participated. We will be hosting two further Womentalks before the end of the year.

Aspirations Magazine

Unfortunately, we have not been able to produce this magazine for the past year, however I am pleased to report that Aspirations will be back again with a new editor, Carmel Jolley. The next issue, with a travel theme and more, will be out before the end of the year and Carmel is now accepting contributions. For more information or to make a contribution, please contact Carmel using the details provided at the end of this issue.

Peer Support

This is one of our goals which we take very seriously as it can make such a difference to our members’ lives. In recent months, some of our members have been going through difficult times.

Our branch is here to support women through good times and bad. Our thoughts go out to those who have reached out in tough times to make their situations known to women in our branch.

If you are experiencing grief, illness of loved ones, further vision loss, ill health or any other setback, we are here for you. I hope that in some small way, support from fellow NWB members can provide comfort, and in some cases a friendly voice on the other end of the phone.

New NWB Committee Members

At present, we have room for interested women to sit in on our monthly committee meetings on a casual basis. We meet on the first Thursday of the month at 8 PM Melbourne time for about an hour. If you would be interested in attending one of our meetings to see how our committee operates, I would very much like to hear from you.

Annual General Meeting

The date for our AGM has been set for Saturday, November 16 at 1 PM Melbourne time. This meeting will take place via teleconference and RSVPs are being accepted from now on. As well as the usual AGM business, our branch will be holding elections for our branch President and seven committee members to serve for a two-year term.

If you’d like to be more involved in our NWB, this is the perfect opportunity to do so. If you aspire to taking on a leadership role which is not too arduous, you can think about putting your name forward to be our next branch president.

Elections will only be held at the AGM if we do not have enough candidates to fill the eight positions. I would really like women interested in standing for election, or to find out more about what is involved, to make contact with me. We propose to hold voting if required via email or telephone prior to the AGM, with details to be announced in October.

We’d love to have more women involved in our committee, so please consider this as a new activity if you are looking for a worthwhile, not too time consuming, role with which to become involved.

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Important Announcements from our National Women’s Branch

By Janene Sadhu, NWB President


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The Annual General Meeting of the National Women’s Branch will take place on Saturday, 3rd November, 2018 at 11am EST. The meeting will be conducted via teleconference, at the cost of a call to Melbourne on your current phone plan. If you would like to attend the meeting, please let me (Janene) know by contacting me on the details at the end of these announcements.


Our Womentalks teleconference in July looked at how we communicate with, and take care of the children in our lives. Thank you to the mums, grandmothers, aunts and those who listened in to learn, who participated in this informative discussion.

In September, we looked at dealing with an emergency. I’m sure those who joined in this discussion learnt some valuable tips to employ should the occasion ever arise.

Final Womentalks for 2018

November: Thursday 29th 8pm Melbourne time – Living by Ourselves
Julie Sutherland will be hosting this Womentalks, so please let her know on, or leave a message for Julie via the BCA office for a call back if you’d like to join in.


Rowena and Vicki did a fine job editing their first edition of our Aspirations magazine. The next issue, with a travel theme, will be out in a few months, so get ready for some more great reading.

This magazine is sent to all National Women’s Branch members and is one of the benefits of being a member of BCA’s largest, and only national branch. If you are not a member but would like to be, it will only cost you $10 to join, which can be paid by contacting BCA.

Diana Braun Aspirations Award

This prestigious award, honouring an Australian woman considered to be an outstanding role model within our community, will be presented at the BCA National Convention in Hobart in March 2019. Information about how to nominate someone for this award will be distributed in the near future.


We always welcome your feedback. Please contact me:

Janene Sadhu, NWB President
Phone: (03) 9853 1051, or leave a message via the BCA office for me to call you.

I may talk to you at our AGM on the 3rd of November.


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Domestic Violence: Notes from the Womentalks Teleconference

Vicki Alipasinopoulos


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On March 22nd, 11 members of the National Women’s Branch took part in a teleconference to talk about a disturbing topic for women today, domestic violence.

During the link-up, participants heard from Psychotherapist and author Marina Bakker, who spoke about her book Dangerous Liaisons: Red Flags of Dating and Relating, which is available in audio through the Vision Australia Library.

Two recommendations came out of the session:

  1. That regular phone-based Womentalks continue to discuss specific topics, such as Safety Planning;
  2. That refugees are educated on the needs of, and issues faced by, women who are blind or vision impaired.

Participants were provided with the website for the service, 1800Respect, listed below, which offers information about:

  • Domestic violence/ abuse;
  • safety planning;
  • Services available to people who are experiencing domestic violence/ abuse.

1800Respect also provides a 24-hour phone counselling service on 1800 737 732 as well as online counselling.

If you would like to talk further about any matters related to violence and abuse against women, please do not hesitate to get in touch with me by phone or email, using the details in our contact directory.


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Report from the National Women’s Branch

Janene Sadhu, President


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2018 is proving to be a busy year for our branch.

We are continuing to focus on the important subject of domestic violence and abuse against women, and are planning to develop a practical resource for women, and a mechanism to offer ongoing support to women who have experienced violence and abuse. These projects are being coordinated by Vicki Alipasinopoulos.

We conduct regular Womentalks teleconferences, where women can get together to talk about specific topics of concern or interest. These have included domestic violence and abuse (more details in this BC News), wellbeing with guest speakers NWB members Meredith Prain and Pearl Sumner, and the pros and cons of working with a dog to enhance mobility, an informative discussion led by NWB committee member Lisa Hayes.

Further Womentalks will take place in July, September and November this year. If you have not taken part yet, are a female member of the Women’s Branch and would like to get involved in this excellent way to share information and meet other branch members via the phone, please contact me using the details provided in the directory at the end of this issue. Participating in a Womentalks teleconference will cost you the charge to a Melbourne phone number on your current phone plan.

Our branch is again hoping to present workshops at BCA State Forums later in the year. News about these will be distributed through New Horizons, SoundAbout, radio programs presented by Peter Greco, and on our Womentalks and VIP Grandparents email lists.

We are also concerned about keeping in touch with those branch members who maybe feeling isolated or a bit lonely. To this end, we would like to invite anybody who would welcome an occasional phone call from a fellow NWB member to get in touch. A chat over the phone is a great way to talk about what’s happening in the world, share your news with someone, and make a new friend. It’s the next best thing to having a visit with someone and distance is no barrier.

So please don’t be shy in putting your name forward if you’d like to receive a call.

As NWB members know, the summer issue of our Aspirations magazine was Jenny Dawson’s final edition as Editor; we now have two co-Editors for the magazine, Rowena Dowling and Vicki Alipasinopoulos. We look forward to reading their first magazine later in the year.

Our Scales Away cook book is still available on MP3 disc or thumb drive for $30, or via email for $20. We’ve made it even easier to purchase, as the BCA office is now accepting payments for this publication. The office is also processing our $10 joining fee for our Women’s Branch, so if you are a current BCA member who would like to join us, please contact BCA.

As always, we welcome suggestions, comments and feedback, so please get in touch if you would like to.

Finally, in April members of our branch were saddened to learn of the death of one of our long-time members, Dolly Lee. Dolly was a trail blazer, an inaugural member of BCA in SA, and her generous spirit and ability to advocate for issues that matter will live on in our National Women’s Branch – Rest in Peace Dolly Lee.

For information about contacting the National Women’s Branch, please see the directory of contact details.


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