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Domestic violence charity appoints new leaders

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Zahra Foundation Australia has appointed a new General Manager and Board Chair to lead its work supporting women and children affected by domestic violence. 

Experienced not-for-profit leader Gemma Burdon takes on the role of General Manager and will work closely with new Board Chair and business owner Natasha Malani. 

Burdon comes to the Zahra Foundation from the Don Dunstan Foundation where she was previously Deputy Director and brings a strong background in social justice, communications, marketing and fundraising. 

Meanwhile, Malani is the Director of South Australian Leaders and formerly served as Adelaide City Council Deputy Lord Mayor. 

The appointments come as Zahra Foundation celebrates five years of helping South Australian women and children to find economic independence and stability after escaping domestic violence. 

This year’s COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the heightened risk that domestic violence poses as families have been isolated behind closed doors. 

One woman is still killed in Australia each week by her current or former partner and a survey of 15,000 women found that, for many, the COVID-19 pandemic coincided with the onset or escalation of abuse in their home. 

Supporting women has never been more important. The need for the Zahra Foundation’s vital services is growing and there is a waiting list for our financial counselling services. Our programs will be increasingly in demand as the economic impacts of COVID are realised as JobKeeper is removed. Women are also disproportionately affected by COVID job losses,” Burdon said. 

I’m thrilled to be joining the Foundation to build on the great work it does supporting women through such difficult periods in their lives, helping them to gain independence so they don’t return to dangerous situations, she said.  

For her part, Malani said her appointment at Zahra Foundation could not have been made in a more opportune time.  

I am pleased to be leading the Zahra Foundation at a critical time, not only as there is increasing demand for our services, but when strong leadership is needed to engage key stakeholders and ensure the Foundation is both sustainable and growthfocused.  I am passionate about using my commercial experience and extensive network to connect the right partners to this important cause, Malani said.  

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