One of the best things about the increasing diversity in the North of Sydney is the delicious melting of cultures that brings with it new festivals, events and cuisine. Not only has this breathed new life into an area once thought of as ‘daggy’ by inner city hipsters, but it has lifted the general atmosphere of the area. Unfortunately for my waistline, I am a food lover. I love nothing more than to trial the varied and delectable restaurants popping up around the North Shore. Thai, Spanish, Lebanese, African, Korean, Japanese and my personal favourite Indian; if it were up to me, (and not my kids schedule and the aforementioned waistline), I would try a new cuisine in the local vicinity each night.
I was privileged enough this time last year to be part of a coming together of cultures when the North Shore Mums and North Shore Indian Mums Facebook groups came together to hold a ‘Bollywood Extravaganza’. That night, mums (and some dads) from the community dabbled in Bollywood dancing, henna tattoos and the most amazing dahl I’ve ever tasted in the name of charity. Thousands of dollars were raised for Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia, and a wonderful night was had by all. It was a true testament to what can be achieved when people come together and celebrate our varied backgrounds instead of focussing on the many cultural differences that too often divide us.
On October 24, the second annual ‘Bollywood Extravaganza’ will be held at Pymble Golf Course in celebration of Dhiwali. The evening will again include a dance performance by Monsuun Dance, Music by DJ Ash, henna tattoos and mouth watering Indian cuisine. And the best part is for the $89 ticket price, you will get all of this and be contributing to an amazing charity – this year’s chosen fundraising recipient Reachout Now works with local communities on projects which focus on children’s welfare. The charity aims to improve education, health and quality of life by completing projects such as the building of orphanages, schools and medical units for those most vulnerable. Reachout Now has successfully implemented projects in countries in every corner of the globe including India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Togo, Tanzania, Guatemala and Cambodia – and 100% of donations are directly used to fund projects in some of the poorest developing countries across the world.
Gayle Robertson has been working on the upcoming evening’s festivities with the North Shore Indian Mums and feels passionately about the Reachout Now cause. She explains how they chose the charity;
“As we are celebrating Dhiwali with a Bollywood event, it seemed only natural to ensure this year’s fundraiser went to a project in India. I have a connection with the charity and therefore the committee felt very confident supporting Reachout Now. 100% of the proceeds raised on the night will go the some of the poorest people in Bengal.”
So while the Bollywood Extravaganza brings the various threads of our diverse community together for a fun evening, the celebration will also raise funds for children across the globe. It can be tricky to make sure all the voices from every background are heard within any given community, but events like this remind me that there is strength in diversity.
My son explained it to me in superhero terms; “Mum, it’s like the X-Men. None of them have the skills to beat Magneto. But together, with all their different histories and powers they are stronger.” If a five year old can appreciate the benefit of cohesion, its no wonder last year’s event was such a hit.
When we work together, we can achieve great things. Not just despite our differences, but because of them. So, come and be part of something great – amazing food, fabulous dancing, and the chance to contribute to a truly important cause which will change the lives of children from another corner of the globe.