1 February 2021

From Sikhs to First Nation people, restaurant reaches out on Australia Day

| Albert McKnight
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Indian Affair Restaurant in Woden

Sonia, Surinder and Gurmer Singh donated a percentage of Indian Affair’s Australia Day earnings to the Healing Foundation. Photo: Supplied.

A Canberra restaurant has used a Sikh practice to reach out to First Nations people on Australia’s national day.

Indian Affair Restaurant, owned by the Singh family, has been serving North Indian cuisine in Canberra for 20 years, donated 10 per cent of its earnings from the night of January 26 to The Healing Foundation.

The restaurant operators said, as an Australian-run business operating on Ngunnawal/Ngambri country, they believed it was important, particularly on January 26, to give back to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities through the practice of Dasvandh.

Dasvandh is a practice in the Sikh religion that means contributing 10 per cent of wealth or income to people in need or a worthy cause.

READ ALSO What does an Australian of the Year award mean for Aboriginal nominees?

Sonia Singh, the youngest of the Singh family, said her family wanted to make the donation as they were passionate about these sorts of causes.

“January 26 was a day of mourning for a lot of people and, as a business operating that day and making a profit, we thought it was the right thing to do for corporate social responsibility,” she said.

The Healing Foundation describes itself as a national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisation that partners with communities to address the ongoing trauma caused by actions like the forced removal of children from their families. It is governed by an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander board.

Ms Singh said when her family was looking at the different organisations to donate to they wanted to find one that was First Nations-led and also had a national focus, so the donation would not only help people in Canberra but also across the nation.

She believed other businesses could consider making donations to First Nations organisations.

“In this day and age and with the world of the internet and information, I think it’s the responsibility of businesses to educate themselves and find ways they can help within their means. It doesn’t always have to be financial,” she said.

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