Bene board
Working team
Bene board Working team

Benevolence is governed by a Board of seven remarkable women that bring together a diversity of skills, knowledge and lived experience.  Grounded in the Prophetic framework of leadership; the Board governs the overall execution of the organisation’s mission, manages the organisational finances, and sets long terms priorities for the organisation.  Additionally, the Board oversees the CEO and BeneKids/Youth Principal, who are responsible for the day-to-day management of Benevolence and BeneKids/Youth, respectively.  Overall, the members of the Board contribute to the educational, management, legal and financial skills needed to ensure year-to-year excellence for Benevolence. 

Our CEO, BeneKids/Youth Principal and Management Team are also comprised of highly talented women.  Our CEO leads the overall strategic management of all programs offered by Benevolence and its day-to-day operations through managing our committed and valued Management Team and its volunteers.  Similarly, our BeneKids/Youth Principal manages and oversees the implementation of our BeneKids/Youth school and associated programs, providing support and guidance to the proficient teachers and volunteers who contribute to its success.

Together they strive to provide strong, strategic and personal leadership to their respective roles to develop and fulfil Benevolence’s vision, mission and values; passionately and actively contributing to the success of this community organisation.


Shaykh Abdinur

Shaykh Abdinur Weli

Sh Abdinur Weli is an active faith leader in the Melbourne Muslim community. He is the head Imam at the Islamic Council of Victoria, a member of the Board of Imams and the religious advisor at Sanad Foundation.

Over the years, Benevolence has been blessed to have worked closely with our respected teacher and Shaykh. He has been a guiding light for us behind the scenes, and we are honoured to introduce him to the community as our Resident Imam.


Rita Vice chair

Rita Narangala

Vice Chair

Rita Narangala has been an active member of Benevolence since its inception. She brings her skills as an engineering manager to steer Benevolence’s strategic direction in the areas of risk, ethics and governance. Rita’s personal passions are environmental sustainability, social justice and developing people. The opportunity to pursue these as a Saturday teacher at Benekids is something she thrives on. As a convert, Rita deeply appreciates the importance of Benevolence as a community and family for those without ancestral roots in Islam

Maryam Bavdi

Maryam Badvi


Maryam Badvi has been enthusiastically involved in Benevolence Australia since 2008. She has developed strong relationships through Benevolence, and is keen to propogate the connectivity and Islamic knowledge to equally benefit the community. Maryam’s background is in legal and scientific studies, and she is motivated to provide her skills and knowledge as a lawyer to the Benevolence Board and broader community to support Benevolence’s vision, strategies, governance, and community work.

Mina Husidic


Mina Husidic has supported Benevolence and its purpose of providing a space to pursue spiritual excellence. She is excited to generously offer her skills as a CPA Accountant to work with Benevolence’s board, assisting with financial governance and business operational decision-making. Most of all she’s excited to become closer to the community and build friendships all while supporting an amazing organisation!



Hibah Jamal

Hibah Jamal has been involved with Benevolence Australia for several years, initially as a member and volunteer, attending community events and programs. Since participating in Benevolence’s Spirit of Leadership program in 2019, she has made strong connections within the organisation and in the wider Muslim community.

Hibah works in financial services and brings her professional knowledge and skills to her Board role.
She recognises and appreciates the importance of Benevolence as a welcoming, diverse and community-oriented environment and is motivated to support its work and widen its reach within society.

Susan Carland Profile Pic

Dr. Susan Carland

Dr Susan Carland is a Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) and Churchill fellow at Monash University. She also sits on the Victorian Government Anti-Racism taskforce and the advisory board for the Valmae Frielich Project for the Study of Bigotry at the Australian National University. She has academic books published by Oxford University Press, Melbourne University Publishing, and Brill, and is a columnist for Sunday Life magazine in The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald. Firmly believing in Benevolence’s ethos and approach to Islam in Australia, Susan has been a part of the Benevolence community since its inception.


Saara Sabbagh

Saara Sabbagh

Chief Executive Officer

Saara Sabbagh has served the Melbourne Muslim community across a broad range of services for over three decades. She has worked in the field of cross-cultural education, youth, family violence, health and wellbeing, faith based education and much more. Her passion for creating a third space where conversations on identity, faith, spirituality and inclusion within an Australian context, inspired her to create Benevolence in 2008. Saara is passionate about reviving the ancient wisdom of the Islamic tradition through teaching the virtues of the Prophetic Way, spiritual values, and promoting a life of God consciousness.

Zulfiye Tufa

Zulfiye Tufa

Community Programs Manager

Sumaya Asvat

Sumaya Asvat

Education Programs Manager and BeneKids Principal

Bridget convert care coordinator

Bridget McKenzie-McHarg

Convert Care Coordinator

Mulan Xu

Mulan Xu

Finance Manager

Tasnim Alam

Communications and Digital Marketing Coordinator