Our Story


Arabic Welfare was founded by Dr Richard Abicair, Dr Trevor Batrouney and Mr Mahmoud Chamra. Originally established in 1984 as Australian Lebanese Welfare, the organisation was formed to meet the urgent welfare needs of Melbourne immigrants during the Lebanon civil war.

By the 1990’s, the capacity of the organisation increased and programs were extended. The 1990s also saw a shift in client composition. Where previously the largest numbers of newly arrived were from Lebanon, by the mid-1990s the Iraqis from the Middle East were the largest group of arrivals.

In 2008 the organisation was renamed Arabic Welfare to better reflect the community it serves. Whilst our largest client group continues to be Arabic speakers from Iraq, we support community members from Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan, Palestine, Kuwait, Somalia, Algeria, Yemen and Iran.

Arabic Welfare Today

Vision | For all Arabic Speaking Victorians to be actively engaged and represented in Australian society.

Mission | To empower and foster the wellbeing of our community through education, capacity building, support services, advocacy and partnerships.

Arabic Welfare provides services for newly arrived refugees and well-established migrants from diverse Arabic speaking countries. We provide support through casework, counselling, education and group work.

Our support areas include:

  • Settlement advice and support
  • Family support and violence awareness
  • Gambling prevention and support
  • Youth support and education
  • Parenting – intergenerational, intercultural
  • Culture and language training and support.

Arabic Welfare has strong community networks and works closely with mainstream providers, community and religious leaders to implement programs and services and strengthen capacity for the wellbeing of our communities.