Sikh community digs deep for India

Australian Sikh Support has partnered with Australian teams in India to provide food and oxygen to locals. (Supplied) 238096_01

By Laura Michell

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Melbourne’s Sikh community has rallied to raise more than $15,000 for oxygen-making equipment and food for communities in India.

The Craigieburn-based Australian Sikh Support began raising money for India last month, beginning with a fundraising stall at the Gurudwara (temple) in Craigieburn on May 15, where they raised $10,000.

Australian Sikh Support secretary Gurjit Singh said the group also planned to hold fundraisers in other parts of Melbourne, including Tarneit, in a bid to raise as much money as possible for India.

Mr Singh said the money raised went towards oxygen cylinders, oxygen concentrators and food.

The organisation has teamed up with Australian groups in Delhi, which has recorded about 1.39 million COVID-19 cases, and Maharashtra, which has recorded more than 5.38 million cases, to prepare meals for families in lockdown and ensure COVID-affected people have access to oxygen.

“Maharashtra is in hard lockdown. No one can go anywhere,” Mr Singh said.

“In the villages, right now they are safe from COVID-19 but they don’t have food because they can’t go to the city for work.

“We are providing one-month grocery packages to three villages.”

In Delhi, Australian Sikh Support is providing oxygen concentrators and home-delivered meals,

The group is also aiming to open a 30-bed site in Punjab in the country’s north, which will be stocked with oxygen concentrators. Punjab has recorded close to 500,000 COVID cases.

Mr Singh said the Melbourne Sikh community had been generous with its time and money.

“Our community helps out a lot,” he said.

“We are all volunteers doing whatever we can to help.”

Mr SIngh said the Melbourne Sikh community was hopeful that the COVID-19 situation was starting to improve in India, with the number of cases slowly falling over the past week. To date the country has recorded more than 25 million cases.

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