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Celebrating India and Oz

Reading Time: 3 minutes

An essay competition encourages primary students to explore the connections between our two nations

Last year’s competition winner

This year, Celebrate India Inc. is again holding its Indian Essay Competition, inviting entries from primary schools across Victoria and from children in Years 5 and 6 to explore and share their experience of the Indian and Australian cultures. The competition starts on 13 July and entries close at 5pm on 28 August, 2015.
As the name suggests, Celebrate India is about sharing and commending all things Indian as well as building cultural bridges between India and Australia.
The main aim of this not-for-profit organisation is to celebrate multiculturalism, promote social harmony and facilitate better understanding of Indian culture among the wider Australian community
“We sincerely believe that learning about other cultures at an early stage of life helps in building familiarity, a better understanding, and may help in reducing discrimination,” says Arun Sharma, Chairman of Celebrate India Inc.
This year’s essay topic is ‘26 January’. This is a significant day for both countries as it marks Australia Day as well as Indian Republic Day. Participants in the contest will have to describe the significance, similarities and differences in the ways these events are celebrated in each country.
Designed to be a classroom activity, the Indian Essay Competition is free and open to all Victorian primary school students to enter. Judging will be based on the structure, point of arguments, spelling and expression.
The top three entries will receive some great prizes and the overall winner will receive two return air tickets to India. The school with the most entries in the competition will win a six week AFL Leadership Program (including a visit by and AFL player).
This is the second year that Celebrate India Inc. is inviting entries from primary schools. The winners of last year’s competition were Steven Kostopoulos from Oakleigh Grammar, Amber Ly from Keysborough Primary School and Vibha Tripathi from PLC-Home School.

The local schools with maximum entries last year were Haileybury Primary School, Rangebank Primary School and Sandringham East Primary School
“Cross cultural learning opportunities and education are very rewarding given the right encouragement,” says Jaya Sharma, founder and Management Committee member of Celebrate India Inc. “We received some wonderful responses from schools last year at our inaugural essay competition. It was a treat for our assessors to read the beautifully written essays. This year we are hoping to get even more participation.”
“Our only request is that people who are interested in participating should not approach us directly, entries need to come through their school as is the correct process,” Jaya Sharma says.
As the slogan goes, India is incredible, unforgettable. Beyond the clichés associated with this vast and populous nation there is vibrancy, diversity and multiculturalism that threads itself inexorably through the complex fabric of the country.
Similarly, Australia is a cohesive society where diversity is embraced and over 45 per cent of the population is either born overseas or has a parent born overseas. In Victoria, the Government is committed to securing a vibrant, multicultural future by encouraging organisations and individuals in propagating multiculturalism.
The Indian Essay Competition initiative is supported by the Victorian Education Department and more information can be found in their newsletter as well as on the Celebrate India Inc. website, celebrateindia.org.au.

Preeti Jabbal
Preeti Jabbal
Preeti is the Melbourne Coordinator of Indian Link.

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