Sydney’s Malayalee Association hosts carnival to raise funds for Kerala flood relief

By Poornima Koonath

“No work is insignificant. All labour that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence” — Martin Luther King Jr

There comes a time in our lives when we look beyond ourselves and reach out to help those who are less fortunate than us and one doesn’t have to be wealthy to do that. The desire to reach out and the will to do is all that is required. In August 2018, Kerala, God’s Own Country reeled under the wrath of nature being subjected to one of the worst floods in the history of the State. Around 12 out of the 14 districts in Kerala were placed on high alert and there was wide spread loss of life and property. While over 450 people lost their lives, it left many families fractured and broken, with over 1.4 million people being displaced. The cost to rebuild the State was estimated to be over $3.7 billion. And eight months later, while the State is slowly limping back to normalcy, there are many parts of flood ravaged Kerala that are nowhere close to normalcy. The destruction has been of such mammoth proportions that the rebuilding requires more funds and resources. To aid in this endeavour Sydney Malayalee Association is organising a carnival on 27 April to raise these much-required funds.

An association that was established in 1976 to serve the Malayalee community in Sydney, Sydney Malayalee Association Inc. (Sydmal) takes keen measures to assist the new migrants and offers aid to the others as and when the need arises. The floods in Kerala adversely affected the lives of many Malayalees in Sydney and Sydmal reached out to offer the much-required emotional support. The team began with an awareness building campaign and a vigil in Martin Place that was well represented by parliamentarians from the two major political parties and received wide-spread media coverage too. Sydmal actively campaigned for fund raising and with the support of the altruistic community members and well-wishers raised $30,000 that was deposited in the Kerala Chief Minister’s relief fund. This was followed by a mega cultural event on 1 October at Bowman Hall Blacktown, which saw an overwhelming response from various Indian communities with over 700 people attending the show. Of the $21,000 collected, and small yet significant amount was donated to the struggling farmers of NSW and to the Coorg community in India.

The ‘Rise and Restore’ Carnival on Saturday, 27 April at the Whitlam Function Centre is yet another attempt to raise more funds. This is a very project-based fund-raising event. Here are the details of the proposed projects that will help repair, rebuild and rehabilitate. The governance of these projects will be overseen by Sydmal and regular updates provided to the community in Sydney.

1. Project One: Support to rebuild six homes—five of them in Kadamakuddy, a very poor fishermen’s village and one home for a homeless family in Palakkad. While $6000 each ($36,000 in total) will be allocated from the funds raised, the remaining amount will be funded locally in India through materials and labour.

2. Project Two: An infrastructure to provide safe drinking water to the small village of Pullangady, that is surrounded by water and was severely affected by the floods. Sydmal received an official request for the restoration of the drinking water facility with the establishment of required infrastructure like a overhead water tank, etc. This project will cost $6,200.

The minimum funds to be raised to sponsor these two very crucial projects is $42,200, an amount that can be garnered without much ado if the entire community irrespective of region or ethnicity comes together. The Carnival on 27 April is a great family event. The doors will open at noon. This family friendly carnival will have many attractions including kids’ rides, games, stage shows showcasing multicultural Australia, stalls selling merchandise and food, raffles and auctions. From 5 pm to 9 pm the place will be transformed to host a plethora of cultural programs from different parts of India.

Do attend the carnival and the ensuing festivities with family and friends and assist in sending out ripples of hope that can change and make a difference in lives of those who desperately need them. Let us support Sydmal and their endeavours to ‘Rise and Restore’.


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