The Pilot Marriage Mentor cohorts comprise of qualified practitioners from across Victoria’s diverse Muslim community including Imams, General Practitioners, Marriage Celebrants, Counsellors and Psychologists. They are now all qualified to work with Muslim pre-marriage couples and equip them with the tools to create long lasting, happy and healthy marriages.
If you are a couple about to embark on the journey of marriage, finding the right Good Beginnings Marriage Mentor for you is the perfect place to commence your journey.
Meet the Marriage Mentors below and contact them directly to book.
GOOD BEGINNINGS MARRIAGE MENTORS
Dr Esma Kurt
Dr Esma is a clinical psychologist and the founder of Mind Care Consulting. Her diverse experience includes working in school settings, both as a teacher and a psychologist, paediatric psychology, providing early intervention and assessment, and working at Headspace providing support to young people. She has completed internships at the Austin Hospital Clinical and Health Psychology Department, the Royal Children’s Hospital CASEA program, and at ReGen, an addiction treatment centre. Esma is the current President of the Muslim Mental Health Professionals Association and actively presents workshops and seminars within the local community.
In her practice, Esma utilises Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Interpersonal Therapy, Psychodynamic Therapy and Eye Movement Desensitisation and Processing (EMDR). She has completed her level one training in Gottman Couples therapy and currently works with couples to support them in enhancing their relationships. She recently founded the Equine Approach, providing equine assisted psychotherapy in addition to a range of other therapeutic modalities, combing her passion for wellbeing and her love of horses. She regularly works with trauma, mood and anxiety disorders, as well developmental disorders and is passionate about working towards solutions that meet each individual where they are.
Esma is extremely excited about Good Beginnings and believes that this mentorship program is pivotal in creating healthy, respectful and committed relationships which can lead to strong, nurturing and value driven families.
Dr Rebecca Wade
M: 0410 854 694
Rebecca is a long-standing convert to Islam and member of Benevolence. She is both a qualified counsellor and general practitioner and offers a non-judgmental, caring space to help couples explore their relationship. She practised as a GP for seven years and has worked as a GP advisor to the Department of Education for ten years. Passionate about mental health, Rebecca undertook a Graduate Diploma in Counselling and now works at a low-cost counselling service caring for the community in Doncaster and surrounding areas.
Rebecca’s work is inspired by the Prophetic model of marriage and aims to help couples and families in developing caring relationships that ultimately benefit the family unit. She has a deep appreciation for the excitement and enthusiasm that goes into preparing for marriage and is committed to supporting couples to better understand their strengths and facilitate communication skills. Rebecca has four children, two rabbits and enjoys mountain holidays.
Malakeh Mourad is a holistic Counsellor, member of The Psychological Counselling Association of Australia (PACFA) with over 15 years’ experience. She brings to her practice a powerful synergy of experience, passion for healing, personal and spiritual growth and development. She has worked in mental health and employment services, community, youth empowerment, and business development sectors. Malakeh is currently working toward an accreditation in Traditional Islamically Integrated Psychotherapy (TIIP) and a Diploma in Islamic Psychology.
Malakeh is the founder of Fitrah Counselling, working at the intersection of Islamic spirituality and mental health practice. Fitrah refers to a person’s natural state of being; an innate natural predisposition inclined towards good and to know and to submit to Allah – a spiritual wholeness. The return to Fitrah is an invitation Malakeh takes great pride in extending to clients and is based on her own homecoming journey reclaiming her Fitrah, back to Allah, back to Love. Malakeh proactively supports individuals to journey inwardly, to understand themselves, align their purpose and actualize their fullest potential, from the inside out. In this way they attain psycho-spiritual integration and inner peace, An-nafs al-mutma’innah (‘the self-made tranquil’).
With sensitivity and compassion, Malakeh supports individuals, couples, vulnerable youth, men and women from culturally and linguistically diverse and faith backgrounds as well as people with disabilities across a range of interpersonal experiences. Using a strength-based approach she works with the individual to meet them where they are in their personal journey, taking into consideration their brand of spirituality and respective cultural and world views. Malakeh provides practical solutions to help individuals resolve problems and long-standing patterns with a person centered, faith and evidence-based approach. Blending conventional and alternative methodologies, she draws on a variety of styles and techniques tailored to each client for optimal results.
Malakeh brings her lived experience as a wife and mother, coupled with her holistic approach to the Good Beginning program.
Hiba Abdul Kader
M: 0434 198 569
Hiba has a background in Psychology and is furthering her education in Holistic counselling to incorporate Islamic principles into mental health management. She has completed several courses that she intends to combine into practice, these include, gentle parenting according to the Prophetic model and professional organising. Hiba’s passion is to work with women, couples, and families, and provide them with the tools to manage stress, nurture their personal relationships and offer strategies to organise their space to help turn their home life into the entire family’s sanctuary. Hiba has been married to Abdul-Kareem for ten years, with whom she shares two young children. She can deliver her service individually, or alongside her husband.
M: 0425 617 975
Abdul is passionate about serving the community and has done so for over a decade through various organisations. He also runs a small business and is a men’s wellbeing coach. Abdul is currently furthering his studies in men’s counselling, as he is passionate about providing tools and support in men’s mental health, as area he believes is often overlooked. He is incredibly active within his community, taking part in many team sports, community events and youth camps. Abdul intends to support men and couples with their journey in fostering and building healthy, happy families. He has been married to Hiba for ten years and is a father to two young boys. He can offer support individually or as a team, alongside his wife.
Manal is a warm and compassionate psychotherapist, with extensive counselling experience. A registered member of Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation Australia (PACFA), Manal’s experience extends to working with youth, adults, and families with a wide range of mental health concerns and diverse cultural backgrounds. She has also worked closely with individuals and families impacted by substance use within the Muslim community.
Manal’s key specialist area is relationship and couple’s therapy. With an extensive background and special interest in childhood trauma, she recognises the important link between the quality of early life attachments and patterns of interpersonal relationships in later life. She is committed to addressing gaps within the mainstream service sector and providing holistic support that is grounded in both evidence-based psychological theory and faith-based perspectives.
Her therapeutic approach is calming and gentle, yet empowering. Through a client-centred approach, Manal draws upon a range of therapies that best reflect the needs and values of her clients. These include Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Positive Psychology, Family Therapy and Psychodynamic Therapy. Manal’s values and experience are embodied in her unique approach in assisting couples to overcome relationship challenges, strengthen intimacy, and establish long-lasting, meaningful and satisfying relationships.
M: 0408 059 286
Nurcihan Ozturk is an experienced community development worker who immigrated from Turkey in 1969 as a young child with her family. In her practice as an Authorised Marriage Celebrant, she enjoys working with young couples and providing them with the necessary support to ensure that they have a successful marriage. Nurcihan also works as a Cross-cultural trainer with the Brotherhood of St Laurence.
As one of the founding members of the Victorian Immigrant & Refugee Women’s Coalition (VIRWC) in 1997, she has spent many years passionately advocating for women’s and Muslim human rights. Her work in human rights also includes a longstanding role with the Textile, Clothing and Footwear Union of Australia (TCFUA) where she devoted her time to representing workers’ rights.
Nurcihan was selected for the first Women’s Honour Roll by the Victorian Government in celebration of Australia’s Centenary of Federation in 2001. She is the current President of the Turkish Women’s Recreational Group (TWRG) and holds a certificate in Community Services and Advanced Diploma of Interpreting.
Nurcihan works tirelessly and with passion on issues affecting the Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) backgrounds in particular women.
FB: Nurcihan Ozturk
Sh. Muhammad Nawas Saleem
M: 0433 924 197
Sheikh Muhammad Nawas SALEEM is the secretary of the Board of Imams Victoria (BOIV) and the Coordinator of the Council of Family Arbitration and Mediation Council of the BOI. He also one of the directors of the Council of Arbitration and Resolution of Disputes (CARD)
He holds a Bachelor of Laws (Civil & Shariah) Masters in Comparative Laws (specialising in Islamic Jurisprudence and Comparative family Laws from International Islamic University, Malaysia. He also studied at Jamiah Naleemiya Islamiya – Sri Lanka (Arabic & Islamic Studies from 1977-1983). Recently he has completed a short course on ‘Identify and Provide Initial Response to Family Violence Risk’ at Bexhill Institute.
Sheikh Muhammad Nawas SALEEM is an Authorised Marriage Celebrant and comes with a wealth of knowledge and experience in Islamic Family Law and Family dispute resolution and a dedicated Imam supporting couples in building lasting and respectful relationships within his community and uses his work to exemplify the Prophetic model of marriage.
His passion for and commitment to community is demonstrated through his work and support of community organisations and projects, having coordinated family violence prevention projects for BOIV and consulting on a religious advisory group for the Victorian Multicultural Commission. He has also been an active member of the Premier’s multi-faith advisory group and participated in the Parliament of World Religions conference held in Melbourne in 2009.
Currently he also works as an honorary Imam at Melbourne Grand Masjid in Tarneit.
Sh. Moustapha Sarakibi
M: 0402 337 304
Sh. Moustapha Sarakibi is the executive director for the Board of Imams Victoria (BOIV), an executive member of the Australian National Imams Council (ANIC) and has been serving the Muslim community of Victoria and Australia for over a decade. Sh. Moustapha holds a Bachelor and Master’s degree in Islamic law (Shariah), a certificate in Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE1) and several other qualifications relevant to his role in community engagement and capacity building. As a previous educator with the Islamic Council of Victoria (ICV), and through his current role at the BOIV, Sh. Moustapha has supported community programs such as the Council of Islamic Family Arbitration and Mediation (CIFAM), the Community Integration Support Program (CISP), Prison Chaplaincy, University Chaplaincy, Post-Release and Youth Engagement programs.
At the Board of Imams, Sh. Moustapha counsels couples from the community. His love of community and deep knowledge of Islam centres his approach to couples at every stage of their relationship.
M: 0430 970 62
Samia Baho OAM is a founder and CEO of the Center of Advancing Women. She has been involved in advocating for disadvantage women since arriving in Australia. highly regarded as a tireless and unstinting advocate for human rights, social justice and gender equality for refugee communities across Victoria. She has led community advocacy initiatives contributing to law reform and systems changes for humanitarian background communities. Her gender equality work in particular has addressed and shifted harmful gendered practice and promoted the roles of young humanitarian entrant women. Samia has an extensive history in undertaking research with grassroots communities and building community engagement pathways with legal, health and research sectors. She developed and strategically implemented an innovative large scale justice reform program on behalf of the Victorian Government and led the development of the Family and Reproductive Rights Education Program.
Her advocacy work has led to extensive community collaboration, research initiatives with refugee and migrant community health services consultations, and the establishment of education and training programs that address gaps and help young women to complete their schooling.
Samia is responsible for the establishment and development of numerous community-based programs that have set out to enhance refugee community capacity, whilst simultaneously working alongside government, policy makers and service providers to help bridge the gap between newly arrived culturally and linguistically diverse women and mainstream sectors.
Samia’s ability to work constructively across stakeholders to build coalitions for change is strongly evidenced throughout her work history and has been an unfailing focus of her career. She has an extensive history of contribution to government, public, academic and community sectors through her participation in a wide range of boards and community engagement and consultation processes. She is often invited to present on refugee community issues in a range of statewide and national forums including conferences and peak advisory bodies.
As a cultural consultant, Samia has co-designed and developed programs across cross-cultural training and, cross-cultural communications and cultural awareness, establishment of cultural frameworks and building the capacity of agencies to be more culturally responsive to the communities they serve. Her dedication to bridging the gap between men and women through positive relationship building is focused on the dismantling of harmful gender stereotypes that disproportionately affect women
Samia holds a bachelor’s degree in Social Work, post graduate diploma and a Masters of Women’s Health
Samia’s drive and commitment in achieving positive outcomes for effective refugee community settlement can be evidenced in recognition of achievements including:
- Medal of the Order of Australia 2021 (OAM)
- Victorian Honour Roll for Women in for contributions to the Victorian community
- Family Court of Australia and Magistrates Court of Victoria for community capacity building work between the courts and African communities.
M: 0402 524 323
Pudak has deep experience working with Muslim communities on family/domestic violence issues, as well as in advocating and empowering Muslim women and young adults in Victoria.
She currently serves as a Project Officer for Muslim Women Australia Victoria (MWA Victoria) in facilitating empowerment programs and assistance for victims of family/domestic violence. She is also an Accredited Islamic Chaplain and an Accredited Mental Health First Aider for “iMERCY” Indonesian Muslim Community of Victoria (IMCV) Family Centre – a pastoral care and referral body – to assist and mediate Muslim couples in dealing with their marriage/family issues as well as other preventive programs in family issues.
Her past history also reflects her enthusiasm for advocacy for Muslim communities in marital/family issues. Throughout 2018, she supported Islamic Council of Victoria (ICV) as the holder of the Women’s Portfolio and Family Violence. She has also cofounded “iMERCY” IMCV Family Centre in 2015 and becomes the Director since.
Pudak has been married to Istiari Widodo for 26 years and a mother of two young adult daughters. Indeed, it is these personal and professional experiences that have influenced her desire to be part of the solution as a “Good Beginnings” marriage mentor. She hopes to assist Muslim couples establish strong and healthy relationships in marriage, in a compassionate, non-judgmental environment and based on the
Prophetic guidance. She can deliver her service as a marriage mentor individually or as a team with her husband.
M: 0450 319 767
I transformed my life. Now I’m ready to help you do the same.
My name is Selma Cook. I am a holistic therapist. I do counselling, trauma therapy, Neuro-Linguistic Programming and mindfulness.
I am to empower individuals and couples. My goal is to work with you on your journey to achieve your goals.
My approach is down to earth and compassionate, and I practice within a safe environment; judgement free. Some of my best work is getting to the heart of the matter and exploring and affirming the strengths, resources and attributes you have, and discovering how these can facilitate real solutions.
Experience and Professionalism
I listen to you. I value you and respect your commitment to the process. I communicate and connect with people in a way that smooths the way to healing and empowerment.
I have travelled extensively and worked in community engagement, as a prison chaplain, a counsellor, a mentor and a trainer. I am dedicated to helping people heal, grow and thrive.
While by profession a Technology Consultant, Istiari is passionate and has been active for more than 15 years in providing services to the wider community through various roles – from active roles in Mosque Committees, religious affairs facilitators, and a family counsellor. Along with his wife, Pudak Nayati, he has founded the “iMERCY” Indonesian Muslim Community of Victoria (IMCV) Family Centre to support the community for family-related issue with a religious grounding.
Some areas of passion for Istiari include mental health, human psychology, self-development, and TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) in Qi Energy Healing. His marriage and partnership with Pudak has lasted 26 years, with now two young adult daughters. Istiari believes men must play a role in supporting women’s empowerment, and is now utilising his diverse experiences to better support and assist couples wishing to foster their life journey and better build a healthy and happy relationship. He can offer support as marriage mentor individually or as a team alongside his wife, Pudak.
Gulhan is a Social Worker and member of The Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW). She
has experience in community health, local, state, and federal governments and strives to meet her
clients’ needs through a strengths-based approach. She has practiced in areas such as child
protection, federal Parliament and is a specialist in family violence working with children, women,
and men. In her practice she has undertaken tasks including but not limited to Intake and
assessment, risk assessment and management, safety planning, investigating, and responding to
reports of concern, case management, single-session counselling, advocacy, and psychoeducation.
Her background includes teaching English overseas in school settings and Registered Training
Gulhan is an overseas qualified Philologist/Interpreter/English teacher and is fluent in Turkish. She
has completed Mental Health First Aid, Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) and Multi-
Agency Risk Assessment & Management (MARAM) Comprehensive courses. Gulhan holds a
Certificate IV in Training & Assessment (TAE40116), Diploma in Community Development and a
Bachelor of Social Work. She is currently undertaking postgraduate studies in Educational Design.
Gulhan feels blessed in getting the opportunity to work with couples at the beginning of their
journey. She is gentle and holistic in her approach; passionate in empowering her clients to be the
best version of themselves. Gulhan holds special interest in the areas of family violence prevention,
wellbeing, learning & capability development.
Gulhan loves weekend getaways, swimming, playing with her cat and doing calligraphy.
Working directly with the Muslim community over a number of years, Yasmin has experience as a case manager and is trained in areas of intake, assessment, safety planning and case planning.
Currently, Yasmin works in the Higher Education sector, engaging with young adults on a day-to-day basis to assess and investigate inappropriate, concerning and/or threatening behaviours. Yasmin is also responsible for developing prevention and promotion initiatives to help raise awareness on topics including consent and bystander intervention.
Yasmin holds a Certificate IV in Training & Assessment, Bachelor Arts / Bachelor Laws and is currently undertaking her Master of Social Work. Yasmin is an accredited Mental Health First Aider.
Through applying a strengths-based and person-centred approach to her practice, Yasmin hopes to support and collaborate with couples as they navigate through the Good Beginnings program.
M: 0423 714 390
Azra Pedic is a registered nurse who immigrated from Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1998 with her family. She enjoys working in emergency nursing and has extensive experience in working with multicultural community. She not only encounters people with physical health issues but also all sorts of mental health and social problems including relationships breakdowns. She is very passionate about her work and always strives for holistic approach in helping vulnerable and disadvantaged women and man from diverse backgrounds in solving their issues by providing them with tools and skills to manage their life challenges.
She believes in Prophetic model of marriage and is very keen to assist couples and families develop strong, healthy and respectful relationship skills in order to enjoy a long and happy life.
M: 0481 485 461
Rania is a Counsellor and poet who has a passion for understanding human behaviour. Graduated from the Australian College of Applied Psychology in Melbourne, she has opened up her own private practice by the name of Soul Insight Counselling. Rania uses an integrated and person centred approach entailing many modalities affirmed by the principles of Islam and our prophetic guidance. Rania is a wife and mother who has a special passion for marriage and family therapy. She hopes to help Islam via helping the family unit stay on firm ground.
Sheikh Abdinur Weli
M: 0434 512 225
Sheikh 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.
He holds a Bachelor of Sharia and Law, from the Al-Azhar University in Egypt (A five-year double degree study in Sharia and Law) and a Postgraduate Diploma in International Community Development from RMIT University.
Sh Abdinur Weli is an Authorised Marriage Celebrant and has an abundance of knowledge and expertise in preparing couples for marriage and delivering premarital educational programs, counselling married couples and helping them maintain quality relationships and facilitating and conducting marriages.
He also assists marginalised communities to reach their full potential in participating and celebrating their role in contributing to the development of Australia. He has fluent written and oral skills in Somali, Arabic and English.
His passion for the community is evident in all of his dealings.
Please reach out to Sh.Abdinur.