When Dinah Thomasset reached out a few weeks ago it was immediately apparent that we share a passion for making Australia the best place in the world to be a parent.
Villagehood Australia, the not-for-profit Dinah founded, is committed to transforming the experience of motherhood by seeking to change society’s mindset around motherhood and create a better reality for all mothers, their families and their communities.
We asked Dinah a few questions about Villagehood Australia, motherhood and her upbringing in Morocco.
How did you dream up Villagehood Australia?
I was born in Morocco, where I was surrounded by an extended village who delivered love and care. Moving to Australia and becoming a mother here, 18,000km away from my village, was the toughest challenge of my life. The strong, confident woman I had been, disappeared from the moment my first child was born. Even with the support of my husband and friends, like many mothers, I felt isolated and invisible, adrift in a sea of nappies and sleepless nights.
After the birth of my second child I visited Morocco again and reconnected with my village. That's when I realised that I needed to open a centre for mothers here in Adelaide. A place where all mums could feel safe and supported, creating a village of likeminded women who will transform motherhood so that we, and all future mothers, feel visible, valued and loved.
So community building is at the heart of what you do?
We believe that creating a safe space for mothers to meaningfully connect and make friendships is paramount to protecting their mental health as it provides them with a support network and helps them build the capacity to better cope with the everyday challenges of motherhood - beating loneliness and isolation.At the Fulham Community Centre in Adelaide mothers can enjoy time for themselves, while their children are cared for by professionals at our on-site creche and gated playground. We facilitate a variety of fitness and hobby classes: meditation, cooking, art, groove dance, pilates or yoga; mums can work or study in our co-working space or find a quiet corner to read, enjoy a cuppa or just BE for a little while in our Me Time Zone. We also hold a series of expert masterclasses, featuring family health specialists, like postnatal doulas and consultants on baby sleep and lactation, parenting experts, financial adviser.
You also do some advocacy work too?
Yes! Connected and organised mums have the power to change things and positively impact the world we live in and create a better reality for themselves, their families and their communities. Through our movement SA Women Who Mum we aim to increase our reach and impact.
As an advocate for mothers myself, I believe that as women and leaders to our children, the change starts with us. We have the power to transform ourselves into the women we wish to become. And together, united and organised, we have the power to make a positive change.
And it’s through your advocacy work that you came across The Parenthood?
That’s right! I did some research about the enormous cost of early education because a lot of our members suffer because of it. Through that research is how I found a link to your campaign ‘Making Australia the best place in the world’ which is think is amazing. This country needs a National Parenting Strategy: a coordinated framework of policies that will deliver optimal outcomes - for children, parents and our society.
Thank you for connecting with us, Dinah and for doing such amazing work. We look forward to working together to progress our shared vision!
My pleasure. I am looking forward to our collaboration!