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Sikh community reaches out to drought-affected farmers

29 September 2015

Sikh community reaches out to drought-affected farmers

It was a segment on the Alan Jones program on Sydney’s 2GB radio station that first alerted Amar Singh to the desperate plight of Australian farmers experiencing drought.  

Amar, who runs a small family transport business, spoke to members of his and another local Sikh temple; he posted on social media and was interviewed on radio, which attracted more support, including a donation from the Riverwood Lions Club.

Then, just before Christmas, Amar, together with a group of volunteers, transported a van, a four-wheel drive and a large trailer of full of non-perishable groceries to The Salvation Army in Dubbo.

Amar explains that the Sikh community is traditionally an agricultural community and many could relate to struggling Australian farmers.

“We have the same sorts of problems in India, with farmers committing suicide and lack of income in farming,” he says. “I thought ‘this is a first world country, it shouldn’t be happening here’. I knew we could do something to lend a hand and let farmers know that ethnic communities in Australia are thinking about them.”

Dubbo-based Salvation Army rural chaplain Captain Sharilyn Bush has been distributing the groceries and says: “The donations were incredibly well thought out, with nappies for young families and even food for farmers’ dogs.”

Sharilyn says: “It remind them that they are not alone – they are not forgotten and it gives them a glimmer of hope that other people are thinking about them and caring for them.”

Amar (through the Sydney-based charity Turbans 4 Australia) later organised a second donation valued at around $4500 for The Salvation Army to distribute to survivors of Cyclone Marcia in Queensland.

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