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We are living in historic times and the struggle is real as we try to adapt. Through this calamity, two Sydney-based organisations are raising enormous funds to help affected communities in Australia and in India.
Helping the pandemic-affected in India: OzindCare
In its 25 years of dedicated service, OzindCare has raised about $360,000 for 700 different projects based in Australia and overseas.
In their most recent project, the organisation has helped remote learning during the pandemic by supplying smart phones to school children in India.
Their “Donate for a smart phone” campaign in June helped raise more than ₹2,50,000 for the cause in less than a month. Underprivileged children in four schools in Kerala and Karnataka were given smartphones, most of whom had missed a year of school due to the absence of remote learning facilities.
However, the pandemic has majorly impacted Ozindcare’s functions.
Sindhu Unnirajan, President of Ozindcare, told Indian Link, “One of the biggest challenges we faced since the COVID-19 outbreak was not being able to do our regular fund-raising activities like food festivals or cultural shows or events. We continued to respond to support requests last year with the pre-raised funds, along with proceeds coming in through intermittent food sales hosted by individuals.”
She added, “As personal interactions with people and social gatherings became non-existent, it was critical to move away from the pre-existent ways. We revamped our website and increased our social media presence to provide glimpses of the human stories and touch points, as to how the kindness from local supporters was translating into full-fledged actions and prompt disbursements. This helped retain faith in the organisation.”
In collaboration with social service workers in Bangalore, Ozindcare was also able to distribute dry ration kits to the most affected migrant families in surrounding suburbs, which supported them for a month.
In Kerala, the non-profit catered to hundreds of causal cleaning employees, porters and autorickshaw drivers who lost their livelihood following the cancellation of train trips in 2020.
Closer home, Ozindcare is partnered up with Foodbank Australia, the largest hunger relief charity in Australia. Recently, in response to a request from the organisation, a call out was made to supporters to assess their pantries and donate excess groceries. They received enthusiastic response, with items like rice, pasta, lentils, canned food, veggies, fish and even baby food, baby wipes and nappies were donated.
Local Heroes: Sydney Community Group (SCG)
This 60-strong non-profit community group, launched in the middle of the pandemic last year, is about to celebrate its first anniversary. With a vision to inspire and integrate with the mainstream Australian community, this women’s organisation comprised of volunteers of Indian heritage have been engaged in various charity initiatives.
When SCG first started out, it was with a modest 25 food hampers. Today, only months later, they’re involved in supporting the most affected areas of Western Sydney, and their reach only continues to grow.
With ample support from mainstream businesses like Westpoint growers, Woolworths, Westpoint Shopping Centre and Softlabs Pty Ltd and Dominos, they have so far delivered above 400 food hampers to disadvantaged families. The local community has pitched in too, with one Bungaribbe women’s group donating 100 kilos of rice.
Apart from their own volunteers, SCG are teaming up with Free Food Pantry in Blacktown, Fusion Australia and Hands and Feet to get these hampers distributed to the deserving.
Indu Harikrishna, the President of SCG revealed to Indian Link, “We are seeing true crisis first-handed. Families which can’t put food on the table, people who have lost jobs and can’t even travel to Centrelink to avail entitlements because it is beyond their 5 kms radius of permitted travel. Families that have channeled all their income to make sure their kids can attend online classes, now left empty-handed for everything else. It is to identify the most deserving that we started working with various charity groups.”
To help women facing period poverty, SCG also donate sanitary products to community centres in Blacktown LGA, while also including one sanitary napkin packs in every hamper they distribute.
With support from McGrath Parramatta, SCG has donated 100 art kits to Sydney Children’s Hospital Foundation to cheer up young patients who have had fewer visitors during the lockdown.
Recently, they have been involved with Western Sydney Health distributing masks and PPE in the community and are currently in the process of supporting an initiative to supply stationary packs to home school children.
You could reach SCG at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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