Victorian government extends AUD 100,000 support to help Covid-19 affected Nepali community

Melbourne CBD. (Image: Pixabay)

The Victorian government has provided two organisations helping the Nepalese Community in Victoria with a grant of AUD 50,000 each to support their cause.

On Friday, the Victorian Government’s Multicultural COVID Taskforce informed the Victorian Nepali Community Covid-19 Relief Taskforce and DidiBahini Samaj Victoria had received a grant of AUD 50,000 each.

The grant helps them help others.

Victorian Nepali Community Covid-19 Relief Taskforce:

The Victorian Nepali Community Covid-19 Relief Taskforce, combining a consolidated and synchronised support of NRNA Australia, Nepalese Association of Victoria, Consulate Office of Victoria, Australasian Nepalese Medical and Dental Associatio (ANMDA), and other partner organisations have been assisting the Nepali community in Australia since the offset of the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to Prem Kandel, Vice President of NRNA Australia, the taskforce was formed after realising the impact Covid-19 could have on the community, especially within those identified as vulnerable (international students and other temporary visa holders who have been denied federal Covid-19 relief measures). The taskforce duly began their efforts, initially by supplying food relief packages to those affected.

Members of the Taskforce pack food relief packages. Image: Facebook

When Victoria started recording its second wave of infections, the taskforce geared up their efforts – “with over 1100 applications, we were hugely overwhelmed, and under-funded”, Kandel shares. “The support from the Victorian government will help us help them”, he said with a high enthusiasm.

Tara Gaire, ex-President of NAV, who along with Kandel was maintaining liason with the Victorian government said “the grant provided by the government will help them achieve the objectives of the taskforce.”

“Victorian government has established an important mechanism to support multicultural and multifaith organisations for locally based programs that will help slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). We were struggling financially to provide essential support to our vulnerable people. I would like to sincerely thank Victorian Government. This will bring smiles to many needy and vulnerable applicants”, Gaire concluded.

Gaire shared at least 550 people were in need of food relief package, and that the taskforce, with the help of the funding could supply them the necessary relief. The taskforce is also focusing on wellbeing of the community, and will be ramping up efforts to provide mental health support to the community.

The taskforce has also completed two informative online sessions which dealt with several social issues such as stigmatisation of Covid-19 patients, and informational issues such as ‘how to access possible Covid-19 relief funds.’

The online session, led by Madhuri Maskey Sharma, witnessed wide community participation. Several members who had tested positive for Covid-19 shared their experiences to help reduce stigmatisation while imparting other important information.

Read More: Covid-19 Information Session for Nepalis in Victoria

Didi Bahini Samaj Victoria (DBSV):

Didi Bahini Samaj Victoria, an active social organisation has already helped around 650 members of the community since the onset of the pandemic. Jamuna Parajuli, President of DBSV, speaking to MNTV Australia said “she felt further energised to help more members of the community after hearing about the AUD 50,000 support to the organisation.

News of the Victorian Government’s support has been met with high positivity by the Nepali Community in Victoria. Severely impacted by the second wave (financially, mentally, and emotionally), the support comes as a relief to several members of the community who were dependent upon such organisations for sustenence.

Deepa Rai, an integral member of the taskforce, shared her gratitude towards the Victorian government while reinforcing the values of unity within the community. Rai believes ‘the grant approval is a token of the hard work of not only the current team, but also of the guidance from seniors and past community leaders who have made sure that we work together as one community rather than different groups”.

Keshav Kandel, President of NRNA Australia, and a leading figure in coordinating the community’s response system thanked the Victorian government for the relief. He also thanked the several organisations and their key people, NAV, ANMDA, and the Consulate Office for their support, and to AECA (Australian Education Consultants Alliance) for its financial support.

Chandra Yonzon, Honorary Consul General of Nepal to Victoria, whose Consulate Office was actively supporting the cause of the taskforce and other organisations, too thanked the Victorian Government. He reflected upon the need of a support-system from all tiers of government, organisations, and the community to help collectively fight the crisis, and to move forward with positivity.

Mr. Yonzon also shared his views about the need of focusing on mental health, and was thankful the two organisations have placed ‘mental health on high priority”.