The local Muslim community recently held an event which was designed to be a celebration of our respected elders.
It's sometimes easy to forget about our elders. They can become almost invisible as we get on with our busy daily lives.
Social isolation and loneliness affect us all at some point in our lives but our elders are the most vulnerable.
Sometimes with reduced mobility, or none at all, and also less independence, they're often confined to their homes with little to do.
Most of us are very connected through social media and work interactions and it's easy to forget that our elders, too, need social interaction.
A core principle of Islam -- and, indeed, of all religions -- is that we should care for our elders, the weak and the vulnerable.
In light of this, the Islamic society Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaat-I-Islam (Lahore) Australia organised a special afternoon tea on Sunday, April 14, for the elders in our community.
We wanted to celebrate them, to connect with them and to show them some attention.
Our aim was to bring a greater awareness of the need to always keep them in our thoughts.
Each member was asked to bring along a guest -- any elder relative or friend.
And the response was overwhelming!
Ranging in age from 65 to 93, the special guests came, some assisted by their hosts, others walking in independently, albeit a little slowly. Each host introduced his or her guest amid laughter and emotion.
Then the hosts paid tribute to the contributions that their special elder had made to their lives.
"Driving home that day, I realised I was filled with a real and genuine love for my community who, like me, saw this as something they wanted to do again."
SHAHNAZ SAHU KHAN
Seniors included mums, dads, grandparents, aunties and sisters, all beaming with delight at being the focus of this event.
Stories were shared, connections were made, a birthday was celebrated and a spread of delicious food and tea was enjoyed by everyone.
As I was driving home that day, I realised I was filled with a real and genuine love for my community who, like me, saw this as something they wanted to be a part of again. Many suggested we make this an annual event. And so we shall.
- Shahnaz Sahu Khan is the charity co-ordinator for Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaat-I-Islam (Lahore) Australia, aaiil.org.