On a sunny mid-day in April, the Mountain View Adventist College at Doonside was glistening with opulent orange, parrot green, yesteryear yellow and other myriad colours. Buzzing around in those hues weaved into mulberry silk threads were the committee members and volunteers of Sydney Tamil Magalir Mandram (STMM) whose sheer hard work and dedication made this day a dream come true. On 8 April, the stage and hall were set to perfect decorum for the arrival of the dignitaries and esteemed patrons of STMM to celebrate its sophomore year of Puthandu Vizha, to not only celebrate Tamil New Year (14 April) but also to fundraise for charity. Through this event, STMM garnered a sum of AUD 2,200 and donated two wheelchairs to Westmead Hospital in Sydney.
The honourable Mayor of Blacktown Mr Stephen Bali inaugurated the event. Mr Mark Owen Taylor, MP, Seven hills applauded STMM for encouraging children to indulge in culture and tradition, which he said was a promising step toward developing a multicultural Australia.
Among the other dignitaries who attended the event were MP and member for Strathfield Ms Jody McKay, regarded as the greatest pillar of strength and support of STMM. She addressed the gathering adorned in her traditional orange and red Kanchipuram silk.
Ms McKay acknowledged the dedication of the core members in the radical transformation of the group in a span of just two years. What started as a social media group in 2016 to offer help and support to Tamil speaking women migrating to Sydney has transcended into a registered organisation that runs fundraising activities for local communities and organises family get-together events to celebrate Tamil festivals like Pongal, Tamil New year and Diwali.
Comprising nearly 1,200 Tamil women who migrated from India, Sri Lanka and Malaysia, STMM offers job seeker tips and tricks, parenting support advice to even recommendations on buying the best dosa batter.
It was a moment of pride when honourable minister David Elliott, Baulkham Hills, mentioned that one of the six students to win the Annual Clubs NSW premier’s ANZAC ambassador program is a girl from the Tamil community. The words of encouragement and support from the dignitaries motivating women to step out of their comfort zone, to volunteer and contribute to the society were truly remarkable.
The scintillating dance performances by kids and women and musical renditions of Tamil hit songs by volunteers were thoroughly enjoyed by the audience. The stalls serving lip-smacking South Indian food appeased everyone’s gastronomical longings. The creativity and strength of the women entrepreneurs from the group beamed through their engaging stalls showcasing apparels, jewellery and home décor. The whole atmosphere was one of belonging and social binding. It seemed like a home away from home.
In her vote of thanks, Anitha Ravichandran reminded the audience that while behind every successful man there is a woman, behind most successful women is a family that trusts and supports her. It is true that when a woman succeeds, she takes along other women to the pinnacle of glory. And that is STMM in its true essence because it ST(e)MMs from everyone’s heart and soul.