(See an important update at the end of this post)
The Indian Australian community in Australia comprises of about 400,000 people, out of which about 150,000 reside in New South Wales. Ours is a growing community and about half of our people have migrated to Australia during the last ten years.
Every community is unique and has its special characteristics and requirements. In this sense, we are no different from the other multicultural communities in Australia. Many of these requirements can be fulfilled by a Community Centre, which acts not only as the centre for all community/social interactions and mentoring/guiding services, but also for entertainment activities. Private family occasions like weddings and other events can also take place there. Any such centre should have sufficient space and facilities to cater to a range of activities. This Centre should be able to self-sustain financially, and should be run professionally.
Despite being a major community, we do not have this community Centre, which is in total contrast with other communities like Chinese, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Serbian, Croatian and others, many of which are smaller than ours, but do have such community premises.
India House has been talked about for more than 20 years but nothing obviously has happened. Talks and visions should have moved to something realistic and something fruitful by now, but it is yet to happen. We believe that it did not happen only because serious and sincere efforts were never made.
Projects of this nature require huge capital to make it happen. We strongly believe that finances can be raised if there is a group of dedicated & committed people in our community who have integrity, vision, determination, perseverance, willingness and capacity to work on the plan for 3-5 years. The fund raising components must have multiple components, and it should include fairs, charity drives, direct contributions from the community, and also sponsorships from governments and businesses.
Our initial spadework informs us that there is sufficient goodwill for this huge venture in our community. We recognise that the biggest hurdle in this huge task is the distrust community members have towards community groups/leaders because they have not been transparent, accountable and result oriented, and in fact, some have used their groups for financial benefits. To make it worse, some have become branches of political parties. It is a common knowledge that finances generated from events, small and large, have often been mismanaged and possibly misused. The fund sourcing process therefore must remain ethical, transparent and must be supervised by at least two reputed finance professionals. This fund-raising must have the charity status and tax concessions.
We wish to take this project earnestly and start the process by donating the entire amount saved after expenses from the INDAUS FAIR on Sunday, 11 August 2013, which will take place at Rosehill Gardens, Rosehill Race Course, Rosehill, NSW. We will outline our detailed plan and the process of fund raising soon.
Our plan is to have a nodal group of 10 people who will do the initial work, using the expertise in law, planning, project work, finance, Real Estate, accounting and marketing among others.
This will be followed by a meeting with community representatives/leaders and members of media with the purpose of brain storming, exchanging ideas, revising and fine tuning the project. Media is so essential for this project and this project will be an “inclusive” work as far as practicable.
The Project will be super headed by a management committee, Board of Trustees and Advisory Council, and will have membership with defined benefits of such membership. The guiding principle will and must always be transparency, accountability and proper governance with an added motto of “service with integrity”.
More info from firstname.lastname@example.org, www.yadusingh.wordpress.com and www.indaus.org.au
Dr Yadu Singh/Sydney/2nd May 2013
President, Indian Australian Association of NSW Inc
————————————- UPDATE: 31st Aug, 2014 https://yadusingh.wordpress.com/2014/08/31/india-house-in-sydney-update/ ————————————-
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This is very good idia we need more community houses I am from Andhra Pradesh I do some community work recently I bought 5 acars land one granny and big house in Schofields we are planing some charity work on the name of grate actor and leader late Dr N T Ramarao in this land( N T R S gardens ) we support these kind of good things goodluck y Singh
Rama rao Bogolu. 0433807695
Excellent idea, looking forward to support and wish you all the success
I am sorry to here that resources are going towards another building, mortar and bricks. Don’t we have enough causes which we as ordinary tax paying members of the public already support? We are now a part of Australia and are Australian citizens. The government provides enough infrastructure support by way of School Halls and Community Centres which we can avail of to hold our community events. Why do we need a separate India House ? The very name of the House is creating a demarcation and causing an Us and a Them. This is dangerous. We must integrate and assimilate with the local communities and having a separate building serves no purpose when we already have temples that have been built which are also social hubs for people to meet and hold their marraiges and births.
Our community has some special needs and requirements, just like other multicultural communities. NSW Govt itself promotes “Community Hubs” but wants participation/contribution from communities too.
Dear DR Singh, I think that it would be wonderful for the Indian community if an India House were established.
I wish you all success in your endeavour and I express my confidence in your being able to do this.
Why not invite sponsorship and donations for this good cause event?
Good idea. It has been on the discussion table since about 1988 under the India League, an umbrella organisation in those days. Then the UIA came about through some difficult ‘birth’. However the “INDIA HOUSE” concept, if it were to be a not-for-profit and truly ‘independent and transparent’, needs the support of all sections of our local society, all those Indian-Australian organisations and beyond. This is a challenging task. On the contrary, 30 medical doctors and businesses run by many Aussies of Indian ethnicity (irrespect of whether they are from South Africa, Fiji, Malaysia, Singapore, Sri Lanka) each with a $1M contribution could buy 10 acres of land. The group then can put up decent buildings to start with, such as marriage/function hall with large dining hall, canteen, and then add a retirement village, a reception centre, a library for research students and others (with large volume of books donated by the ICCR and other Indian State-based agencies), and seek support from local bodies such as AIBC, Australia-India Institute and Australia-India Council. These 30 ‘donors’ Or ‘investeors’ (as the case may be) could form a company structure and have a board. Anyone wanting to be part of the governance of this “INDIA HOUSE” can contribute $1M or a lesser amount and be an associate. There are many options and possibilities.
Simply raising some small funds will not work in the short term and I am not sure in the long term either, considering the fractiousness that is very much a reality today in and among our community. However, I wish Dr Yadu Singh good luck.
Susai Benjamin, Toongabbie
Excellent thought. I had been harbouring similar wish for the last 20 years. I’m glad that someone younger than me, has taken up the challenge. In my semi retired age, now I’m looking forward to help this project with my time and money.
A worthy venture with a welcome approach in achieving the outcome. Hope to see it in action as soon as practicable. Good luck.
Wish you all the best !!!