His morning starts with picking bread from bakeries and delivering it to the needy. The rest of his day is a blur of activities including signing documents in the capacity of Justice of Peace, raising funds, brainstorming the next fundraising activity, or attending interfaith meetings and events.
If he is not helping clean the reserve next door by getting rid of the plastic and bottles, he is busy donating blood for the 148th time, or guiding youngsters to plant trees. Amidst all this, he still finds time to spend with his beloved grandchildren.
At 70 plus years of age, the energy that keeps Indian community leader Shashi Kochhar going, is inspirational.
Recipient of Sir John Monash Multicultural Champion 2018 award, Kochhar believes in the ‘PDCA’ approach adopted from his previous experience in textile industry quality control. The process of ‘Plan, Do, Check and Act’ has held him in good stead both professionally and personally.
“I came to Australia in 1971 to study, and in 1978 to settle,” Kochhar told Indian Link. “Prior to my departure my parents and elders offered me some good advice that I have always adhered to. They told me one cannot cross a river in two boats – you have to decide which one you wish to take on your journey.”
The positive message of being solution-focused, reflective, respectful of people, the law and place, and deciding on the boat on which to travel in life, has always guided Kochhar’s path.
“I am a product of cultural values from India; however, I am equally proud to be Australian. I am like a tree that had its roots in India, however, was nurtured, watered and provided nourishment to grow in Australia,” Kochhar shared.
He believes that for communities to prosper and sustain, young people should be valued, engaged and supported.
As the founder of Friends Of Children Foundation that was established in 1998, Kochhar has helped raise millions of dollars for Monash Children Hospital and the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne. The not-for-profit foundation’s primary focus remains on raising funds and working with organisations that are involved in providing better health and education for the citizens of tomorrow.
Kochhar volunteers for the bread brigade that picks up breads from donating bakeries and distributes them to aged care centres, asylum centres and shelters for the underprivileged. He also chairs the Monash Interfaith gathering, a group that seeks to build bridges between people of all faiths and beliefs within the community of Monash.
For his good stature within the community, he was appointed as a Justice of Peace. He is also a fellow of the Royal Victorian Association of Honorary Justices. “As a JP I must have signed over 30,000 documents for people till date,” said Kochhar proudly.
His tireless efforts across multiple areas have been recognised with multiple community awards over the years. Showing extraordinary commitment and passion for voluntary work, Kochhar wishes to continue building and supporting stronger, healthier and more connected communities in Melbourne.