Jaya migrated from India to Australia (Bendigo) as a young girl with her parents and siblings in 1970, after which she moved to Melbourne in the early 1980s. Jaya has an understanding of the struggles of migrants in both metropolitan and regional areas. Jaya is passionate about equitable outcomes for all and is keen to assist people of Indian origin in Victoria. Jaya has been an active member of the Telugu Association of Australia and was co-founder of the Telugu Ladies Club which she helped to convene for 15 years. Jaya is currently co-convenor of the Victorian International Community Development Network and is also a member of the Monash Lions Club. Jaya is qualified with a Master’s Degree in International and Community Development and has been employed in the social services sector in Victoria for the last twenty years, working with a range of not for profit organisations and in State and local governments. Jaya has recently trained as a Vocational Education Teacher (VET) and is also studying a PhD at Victoria University exploring the role of community development in progressing the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Anand has extensive experience in organisational development and business management in the commercial, private and not for profit sectors. He works collaboratively and is keen to promote social cohesion. Anand is qualified with a Master’s Degree in Management Studies (University of Bombay), and Bachelor’s Degree in Economics (University of Bombay). During his corporate career, Anand worked in more than 23 countries and became well versed in operating in multinational companies and multicultural environments. When Anand moved to Melbourne, he worked with a number of not for profit community organisations in Melbourne in a range of multicultural projects. He is a creative community leader and advocate. Currently, Anand is involved in a number of volunteering roles, as Director of SEWA International – Melbourne and Vice President and Founding Member of COMMOM (Centre of Melbourne Multifaith and Others Network).
Having lived in India, the Middle East and Singapore, Durga migrated to Australia in 1999. In Melbourne, Durga has developed strong ties with the Indian music community which has given her the opportunity to meet a broad range of people. Durga’s constant participation with the community at large has given her a nuanced understanding of the issues affecting the Australian Indian community. Durga worked for 10 years in a trading company, which she helped to set up here in Melbourne, and she knows about the difficulties in settling into a new country. Durga is keenly interested in the betterment of the Indian community in Victoria and is a trained Healthy Relationship Ambassador. Durga was a member of the Knox Multicultural Advisory Committee for two years. Durga currently also volunteers as a committee member and Community Liaison Manger with Ashray Women’s Centre (an agency focusing on family violence).
Rama migrated to Australia in 1984. Having acquired a Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical) and Master of Engineering (Computer Science), Rama has been working at National Australia Bank (NAB) for the last 32 years, currently as Senior Project Manager. Rama has been active in the Telugu speaking community in Melbourne (Telugu is the language spoken in the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana in India). For several years, Rama and his wife, Jaya, ran the Telugu school at their house with support from several like minded community members. Rama was also the President of Telugu Association of Australia during 1996. Rama is community minded and interested in the betterment of Australia and Australians. At the same time, not forgetting his roots, Rama is also passionate about the betterment of Indian community within Australia.
Geeta, a qualified Accountant has resided over 30 years in Melbourne with strong interests in cultural and heritage issues. After working in the industry extensively, she took voluntary retirement to serve the Hindu community. Presently she is a key mentor, serving in several not for profit organisations. Geeta is the Victoria state president – Vishva Hindu Parishad of Australia Inc. (World Hindu Council of Australia), Convenor – Hindu Organisations, Temples and Associations (HOTA) Forum Victoria, Board member – Indiancare Inc and Trustee – Vishva Hindu Parishad Central. In these roles she leads in delivering various community projects to spread the message of Unity in Diversity and to promote Sanatana Dharma values.
Monia is a resident of Melbourne for the past 11 years. Monia is a qualified risk management and insurance professional with a Bachelor’s degree in Law & Commerce and Master’s degree in Business Administration. She is also a graduate of Community Leadership from Leadership Victoria. She currently works for the Victorian Managed Insurance Authority. In her role, Monia provides risk and insurance advice to Victorian government state departments and portfolio & funded agencies. She facilitates workshops on governance and risk management. In dedication to her father who passed away as an organ donor, Monia has been volunteering with Donate Life Victoria to raise awareness about organ donation within migrant and faith communities. Monia has two young children. Whilst raising them with core values, she helps her local community through her role as state school council member.
Manjit is a successful small business operator and is dedicated to community service. Apart from his work with IndianCare, Manjit is also very active with the Australia-India Society of Victoria, Sant Nirankari Oneness Mission, Knox Multicultural Advisory Committee and Multicultural Harmony Festival. Manjit is qualified with a Degree in Interactive Multimedia. Manjit believes that in today’s world, it is essential to have a high tolerance for ambiguity and the capacity to adapt to situations as they change. His philosophy in life is that ‘amazing things can be accomplished when no one cares about who gets the credit. ‘When you move your focus from competition to contribution, life becomes a celebration’.
Saleha has called Melbourne home since 2004. A post-graduate qualified communications professional with more than 20 years’ experience, she has held leadership roles in India and Australia.
She hosts a bi-weekly webcast—Chai, Chat & Community—for the South Asian community where she and her guests chat about topical and social issues.
As part of her community service, Saleha is also the Director and Board member of PeaceMeals—a not-for-profit charity, which encourages new migrants, refugees and established Australians to connect over a plate of food.
Sandeep Varma is an experienced organisational leader, and is currently the Founder and CEO of SAARI Collective, a media startup that amplifies the voices of South Asian Australians. A former government speechwriter, communications manager, corporate employment lawyer and youth human rights advocate, Sandeep won the Victorian Department of Justice Secretary’s award for his crisis communications work during the Black Saturday bushfires, and was recognised by the Lord Mayor of Melbourne for his work supporting the community during the COVID-19 lockdown . He has spent his life mentoring and helping young people, and loves building community, encouraging creativity, championing social justice and inspiring adventure. Sandeep is Punjabi and grew up in Pasadena, California on a steady diet of tacos, hip-hop, Hindu mythology and superhero comics. Sandeep is the father of two witty boys, speaks Hindi and Spanish, loves cooking and has won the Australian Chilli Cook Off Championship three years in a row.