New RAIN home inaugurated through festivities
An update from RAIN Seniors group, by SUDHA NATARAJAN
Another Diwali has gone by and the Resourceful Australian Indian Network Inc (RAIN) has had a busy year, with our seniors in the group never really stopping work. They have participated in several projects of various nature which have involved learning, inviting, hosting, participating, assimilating and also gardening.
Once we had the renovations to the house complete, we started with the Navrathiri celebration. A beautiful kolu was set by the South Indian seniors of the group, and a different Indian language speaking senior hosted the celebration every night for the nine nights, while all gathered to celebrate Vijayadasami on the tenth day. Each day saw a different style of celebration and a different variety of festive food specific to a particular state was served. We introduced the RAIN Home to all seniors in the region through this celebration.
Then came Diwali. Coordinated by Veda Srinivasan, our RAIN Gitanjali Choir groups of St George (trained by Usha Chawla) and Sutherland (trained by Kumud Powar) had several sessions of practice to sing together. They then with the multicultural choir group put together by Anne-Marie Wiles, multicultural officer of the Hurstville City Council.
Diwali celebration for RAIN seniors was part of the Discovery festival organised by the Hurstville City Council and the celebration was held at Woodville Park in Hudson Street on October 22. Our resourceful seniors got on stage in their beautiful sarees along with the lovely Chinese choir group and the wider Australian community choir singers. They sang in Hindi, English, Chinese and we experienced a true sense of multiculturalism in its best expression through music during the evening.
We enjoyed ourselves during the festivities. Currently, we are absorbed in Sanskrit sloka learning sessions under the expert tutoring of Dr Meenakshi Karthikeyan. It is truly a divine experience to listen to Meena’s explanation of the Bhajagovindam (by Adi Sankaracharya) and our seniors enjoy sitting down to this knowledge-filled satsang on alternate Tuesdays.
Along with satsangs, RAIN seniors have created a permaculture garden at the newly purchased RAIN Seniors’ home that will soon house day and respite care for the seniors.
‘Linking Communities through Permaculture in St George and the Sutherland Shire’ is a project to increase sustainable practices amongst people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities and social housing backgrounds. Led by St George Migrant Resource Centre in partnership with St George Community Housing and Inner South-West Community Development Organisation, this project aims at assisting communities encountering social isolation, overcome barriers to mainstream work and study opportunities; increase food security, and increase social support networks and social harmony.
The RAIN coordinators were trained in permaculture concepts, gardening skills, leadership and knowledge management. With support from the project managers, we designed and built a communal permaculture garden where we have planted edible, herbal and ornamental plants. We also enjoyed the company of other community members, attended sustainability workshops and had study tours. Our garden today stands proud and beautiful, and our seniors in RAIN are a happy lot, dropping in now and then to check the progress.
As a finale to this fantastic project, our food fair on November 20, 2011 at the Olds Park in Penshurst (next to the Penshurst Library) will see all community groups presenting an array of delicious food specific to their community. RAIN plans to put together dishes from their recipe book and all families are invited, as there will be entertainment and special features for the children to make it a great family day at the park.