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Soul House 

A safe and welcoming space for South Asian Women in need

The Soul House is on the stolen lands of the Wurundjeri people now called Belgrave amongst the foothills of the Dandenong Ranges and walking distance to the train station. The cottages are nestled amongst gardens by Australia’s most influential landscape designers – Edna Walling and is the former “fairytale cottage” of Paul Jennings author of Around The Twist.

Built over 200 years ago by the Beaurepairs family the property was once also a women’s refuge and now is Australia’s first dedicated wellness and creative space for Indian, Pakistani and South Asian women and includes an active artist’s community. The space was open for visiting or overnight stays. All profits went towards empowering women and Soul House is 100% led by volunteers. 

Impact

Since launching in 26 September 2020 we have had 25+ women stay at the Soul House and over 250+ visit us over chai sessions and at gatherings. We have raised $20 000 in pledges from our community. We are not funded by any government or support entity at this point in time.

What’s Next?

Although we’ll be letting go of the physical space, our community is stronger than ever. We’ll continue our work through the Australian South Asian Centre (ASAC)- our impactful events, workshops, conversations and membership-based community. We focus on amplifying the voices and work of South Asian women and building a strong community grounded in values of generosity, love and a get-things-done attitude. This experience has ignited a fire within us to do something similar in the long-term future, so in the meantime, we’ll keep an eye out for funding opportunities/properties for Soul House 2.0.

I can’t count the exact number but around 1000+ people across the world reached out via Facebook/Instagram about Soul House. Many were women who echoed the sentiment I had when we started “I wish this existed when I went through what I went through.” The donors and volunteers who have come together to help support this have shown us how generosity and seva can make anything possible.  If you have a story to share from your experience at Soul House use the #SoulHouseMelbourne – there were 100’s of heartwarming stories – whether it was your first artistic performance at one of our gatherings, or you met your new best friend or a moment of peace and tranquility – we’d love to relive the memories.

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