Overview of projects - 2011

January

Bal Utsav – children cultural workshop. 60 children from all over Sydney and surrounding areas attended the workshop to learn about Indian culture in Baden Powell Scout Centre Pennant Hills on January 22nd 2011. This was organised BY VHP NSW Bal Utsav Coordinator Mr Mehul Joshi.

February

VHP Victoria launched Vidya Vihar – weekly cultural classes for children in Point Cook, Melbourne at Point Cook community centre on February 20th 2011. In the fist month 20 children were enrolled to learn Sanskrit language, yoga and Indian traditional stories.

March

Festival of colours, Holi was celebrated in Bala Samskar Kendras of NSW and QLD and Vidya Vihar in Melbourne. Children participated in various fun activities involving Rangoli, Dhandia dances and games. VHP QLD participated in Queensland Flood relief fund raising program on 5th March, to help victims of the floods in this region recently.

April

Bala Samskar Kendra opened on 3rd April at Hornby Youth Centre, Hornsby. Children learn Sanskrit language, traditional Indian stories, and yoga every Sunday. This program inaugurated by Hornsby Mayor Mr Nick Bermon is supported by Hornsby Council.

On 30th April, VHP VIC celebrated Sri Ram Navami festival, in collaboration with Manikya Veena music school with Sri Samavedam Shanmuka Sharma pravachan in the evening. This was held at the Performing Arts Theatre, South Oakleigh Secondary College, Oakleigh South, Melbourne.

May

VHP VIC’s Vidya Vihar (BSK) program started its successful 2nd term on May 1st, Mayor John Menegazzo of Wyndham City attended this session. Children learn Sanskrit language, traditional Indian stories, and yoga every Sunday. Vidya Vihar in Point Cook raised funds to donate 320 rare books and 10 animated DVDs of Indian epics to the Point Cook library, making it the largest of such collection pertaining to Indian culture in any library of Australia.

HYA VIC organized a student workshop at Swinburne University with Sri Swami Vigyananda. Venue sponsored by Swinbourne University multi faith group.

June

Brisbane Bal Utsav children workshop was held on 13th June 2011 at Holland Park High School. This workshop had traditional games, spoken Sanskrit, yoga and painting activities for children under 12 years of age. All the participants had a great time. Cr Ian McKenzie who attended the program was much appreciative of the workshop organised by Dr Mononmani and her team.

Sydney Veda Patasala annual day was held on the 19th of June at Ermington Community Centre, Sydney. In the presence of Sri Swami Vigyananda, more than 100 children and 50 adults participated in the annual day and mesmerised the audience through Sanskrit skit, slokas and Vedic chanting. Certificates to the children of different branches were distributed by Clr Barbara Burton - Hills Shire, Mrs. Diane O’Connor – Principal, Dr. Nihal Agar - President Hindu Council of Australia, Sri.Anagan Babu, Mr. Alex from NSW Dept of Education and Smt. Aruna Chandrala.

Hasya Dhamakaplus - an evening with poets from India, a cultural night of poetry recital was aimed at entertaining and educating audience of all ages. Excellent presentation of content by artists in Hindi language. This cultural event was held in four cities – Sydney, Brisbane, Canberra and Melbourne.

July

Bal Utsav, children cultural workshop was attended by 40 children aged 6 to 12 years in Melbourne. This year theme is the inspirational story of Ram with activities of yoga, Sanskrit poems, artwork, quiz and traditional games. Held in Wheelers Hill during 3rd term school holidays it was well received and appreciated. Great venue and chief guest was Monash Deputy Mayor Micaela Drieberg.

Bal Utsav, children cultural workshop was held at Toongabbie Public School, Sydney on 16 July 2011, organized by VHP NSW. Good planning, preparation, involvement and dedication especially by Mr. Mehul Joshi, Mr.Saravanan, Mr Kiran Guntur and his group for several months made the workshop a grand success. Every session was conducted efficientlly, children learnt all slokas, and even the starters could do several yoga asanas, and perform the creative artwork exceptionally well.

August

Hindu Youth Australia (HYA) held their 2nd National Conference on Sunday, 7 August 2011, in Parramatta, in western Sydney. The conference was titled “Create, Connect, Commit”, a call to action to 200 young Hindu Australians attendees, to be proactive and visible in their contribution towards the greater Australian community. The Prime Minister, Hon Julia Gillard MP, who in her message of support, highlighted the positive contributions of Hindu Australians, and encouraged young Hindu’s in Australia to do the same, endorsed the conference. This sentiment was echoed in the addresses given by Ms. Julie Owens MP and Mr. Laurie Ferguson MP, who were both present and have been regular attendees at various Hindu conferences.

Raksha Bandhan multicultural festival was celebrated at Mossfield primary school hall, Hoppers Crossing, Melbourne on August 27th. Chief guest was Whyndham city ex mayor Cr Heather Marcus. VHP VIC Cultural award was presented to Mrs Mangalam Vasan for her long - standing work for Hindu community. Guest of Honor was Pundit AbhayAwashti, President, Hindu Community Council of Victoria. This event featured Bharatanatyam, Thai, Carnatic classical and Fusion music. The guests participated in the traditional Rakhie ceremony.

September

Ganesh Chaturthi festival for Lord Ganesha is a community event organized on a grand scale as “Ganeshotsava” by Friends of India – the cultural wing of VHP Australia, on the 3rd and 4th of September 2011 at Whitlam Centre, Liverpool, Sydney. This annual event attracted more than 2,000 people and is in its 16th year of celebration. Friends of India, through Ganeshotsava are responsible for bringing together over 100 families every weekend in the months leading up to the grand event. Food is a major part of the event with volunteer teams working together to prepare and serve 6,000 meals over three days. Hon Laurie Ferguson MP, Federal member for Werriwa, Hon Chris Hayes, Member for Fowler and Hon Minister Paul Lynch, Member for Liverpool participated in festival celebrations this year. Sri Jayant Bapat, OAM from Melbourne was the Guest of Honor. This is the largest non - ticketed cultural andfood event of its kind in Australia, entirely funded by private contributions.

Symbolism is used extensively in Hindu faith. From time to time, intentionally or due to ignorance some fashion houses, play producers and organizations use the pictures of Hindu deities or produce a play with themes that are insulting and objectionable to the Hindu Community. One such incident was the portrayal of Lord Ganesh in the play “Ganesh Versus the Third Reich” in Melbourne on September 26th. HYA worked with the community in bringing such objectionable acts to the attention of the concerned authorities of the highest level through community consultation.

November

VHP NSW organized Sri Ekadasha Rudra Japam at Shri Shiv Mandir, Minto, Sydney on November 13, 2011 for world peace and harmony. Sydney Shiva devotees have been fortunate to witness such an event for 3 years in a row at the temple premises. On this occasion, more than 40 Rithviks participated and chanted Sri Rudram and Chamaka Anuvaakaas. More than 250 devotees witnessed the chanting event which was followed by Sri Rudra Homam and Abhishekam for Lord Shiva. Students from Sydney Veda Patasala participated and chanted Sri Rudram.

On November 13th, VHP QLD hosted workshops on Vedic mathematics and seminar on Hindu Panchang (Lunar calendar workings) conducted by Shri Ravi Kumar at the Bala Samskar Kendra, Sunnybank, QLD

Vedic mathematics workshop conducted by Shri Ravi Kumar at the Queensland University of Technology. Brisbane on 14th November

VHP NSW Launched a BSK community language culture and heritage school in Flemington suburb at Homebush on Nov 27 2011. Primarily the school will focus on children aged 4 to 15 years. The Department of Education NSW approves BSK as a Community Language School.

December

The Hindu Social Service Foundation organized a fun filled special event on December 18th at The Pennant Hills community Centre, Sydney to remember International Day of People with Disability. The aim of the event was to recognize and celebrate the achievements and contributions of people with disabilities. The event was proudly sponsored by the Hornsby Shire Council and more than 100 people from various ethnic groups including the local seniors group from Hornsby attended this function. The special guests of the day were Hon. Nick Berman (Mayor, Hornsby Shire Council), Mr. Dilip Chopra (Councilor, Hornsby Shire Council), Hon. Greg Smith (MP for Epping, Attorney General and Minister for Justice), Mr. Dave Passi, Dr.Yadu Singh, Inspirational speakers Mr Shiva Ram and Miss Robecca. Congratulatory and support messages were received from Senator and Hon. Jan McLucas, Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities Services.