3 June 2021

Canberra's Indian community calls on locals to not forget the COVID-19 crisis abroad

| Lottie Twyford
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Members of India-Australia Association of Canberra at fundraising barbecue

Members of the India-Australia Association of Canberra at a recent fundraiser. Photo: Sandi Mitra.

Following the success of a recent barbecue and fundraiser for India, local community groups are calling out for continued support for people overseas still living through the COVID-19 crisis.

This weekend, the India-Australia Association of Canberra is holding a ‘Family Fun Day’ in Tuggeranong with all proceeds raised to be sent to India where the COVID-19 situation remains dire.

The event at Tuggeranong Town Park Beach on Saturday, 5 June, from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm, will include kids’ activities such as a jumping castle, sack races, egg-and-spoon races and games, as well as food and entertainment.

India-Australia Association of Canberra president Sandi Mitra knows just how bad things are currently in India.

“What’s happening over there is unprecedented, and when part of the world is in crisis we want to get the wider community involved and aware,” he says.

Sandi says despite the fact that media coverage of the crisis has slowed down considerably in Australia, the COVID-19 situation is still deteriorating, with concerns of an impending third wave of the virus.

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“I’ve already lost my uncle and several other close family members, as well as my three best friends and others who have tested positive,” he says.

Sandi’s father, who is blind, lives alone with their mother, as both Sandi and his sister have emigrated to Australia and the US, respectively.

“Their maid fled so they are both relying on neighbours to cook food and drop it off on their doorstep,” he says.

It’s Sandi’s grief that is pushing him to do what he can to help all Indians.

“I always say Australia is my home, but India is my mother country,” he explains.

Sandi says there is a wide gulf between the lived experiences of Indians and Australians throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

“For example, my uncle lived in an apartment building and he literally didn’t leave the house for weeks,” he says. “He still caught COVID-19 just from touching door handles and locks that other people in the building had touched.”

Group of people from the India-Australia Association of Canberra

Everyone is invited to come down to enjoy the India-Australia Association of Canberra’s ‘Family Fun Day’ in Tuggeranong on Saturday, 5 June. Photo: Sandi Mitra.

In Canberra, while COVID-19 remains a threat, Sandi is calling on the community to rally behind people who are doing it really tough.

The Family Fun Day will feature the aforementioned kids’ activities, food stalls to keep attendees well fed and warm on what is expected to be a chilly winter’s day.

Multicultural performances will also light up the stage.

Sandi says there will also be medical teams and professionals on hand who will share information with the Indian community about vaccines, as well as offering general medical check-ups and health information.

All funds will go directly to CARE Australia for its COVID-19 crisis appeal.

The India-Australia Association of Canberra’s ‘Family Fun Day’ will be held at Tuggeranong Town Park Beach on Saturday, 5 June, from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. For more information, visit Facebook or Eventbrite.

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Tom Worthington5:35 pm 04 Jun 21

I will be talking about how to make the COVID-19 Vaccination Websites easier to use. 2pm Wednesday 9 June. Seminar Room N101, CSIT Building, Australian National University, Canberra & via Zoom. All welcome: https://blog.highereducationwhisperer.com/2021/06/why-are-covid-19-vaccination-booking.html

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