The Australian government has expressed interest in the model of working adopted by an Indian charity, in a bid to improve the lives of its remote indigenous people. The founder of New Delhi-based Asha Foundation, Kiran Martin, was on a visit to the country last week to promote her NGO’s work where she met Governor General Peter Cosgrove, parliamentary secretary to the prime minister and minister of indigenous affairs Alan Tudge, parliamentarians, senior officials and corporate sponsors.
Martin said she held discussions about her NGO that has been working in slums of the Indian capital since 1988 towards improving education, infrastructure, financial security and health care services. “There are some important lessons that can be shared,” Martin said.
“They are very keen to see how Asha Foundation has been working in uplifting lives of those living in slums,” she said. Pinpointing that the Australian government must try to uplift the vulnerable community by creating organised volunteerism within them, Martin said “They are very keen to see our mode of working based on empowerment approach”. “There is a need to create awareness that what change for them can mean to the next generation,” Martin said.
“As a follow up, the minister of indigenous affairs Alan Tudge would be coming to New Delhi in October this year and visit our foundation there along with some indigenous leaders,” Martin said. “The idea will be to be immersed in Asha’s works, and they may be taking some lessons back,” she added.
She said the Australian government was concerned about the welfare dependency of the indigenous community. Welfare dependency is not the way out and could be very bothersome for any country, she said. “Despite Australia spending millions on the indigenous community in terms of welfare schemes, what I have been told is that human development indices have been going down and it is a concern,” she said.
She acknowledged that every country and community was different but working with the communities was the key to success.