PM honours young authors

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese with some of the young publishers recognised by Sikh Volunteers Australia.

By Cam Lucadou-Wells

Young publishers earned the thanks of the Prime Minister at a Sikh festival celebration at Bunjil Place, Narre Warren on Sunday 7 April.

PM Anthony Albanese and Victorian Premier Jacinta Allan recognised the 17 students who co-created the book The Dry Village.

The book is touted as “one of its kind” – written in English and Punjabi languages, and set to be donated to Victorian schools by Sikh Volunteers Australia.

The Dry Village tells the tale of a village community coming together to overcome a long-term drought.

Much like the SVA’s own renowned food-relief efforts during disasters across the country.

Mr Albanese and Ms Allan joined a long list of VIPs in traditional Sikh attire at the Vaisakhi harvest festival celebration which also marked SVA’s 10th anniversary.

The Prime Minister later paid tribute to SVA’s “extraordinary work”.

“During the pandemic they provided food for students who were in desperate need for that support.

“During the bushfires, during floods. Wherever there are issues confronting Australians, we see the best of the Australian character and there’s no community organisation that has done more than Sikh Volunteers Australia.

“We see them whether it be here in Victoria, or up in Lismore, wherever there are floods or natural weather events, we see people putting their values into practice by providing that support to their fellow Australians who are in need.”

SVA chief executive Jaswinder Singh said SVA appreciated the recognition from the federal and state leaders.

“They gave a moral boost to volunteers that the things we are doing are good, required and appreciated by the highest leaders. This is encouragement to everyone.

“The whole festival was excellent and great. The energy was like a madhouse, a tremendous flow of energy on and off stage.”

The students behind The Dry Village are Divjot Kaur, Balsharn Kaur, Ibadat Kaur, Gunnit Kaur, Gurnaaz Singh, Harjaap Singh, Jasnam Singh, Keert Kaur, Manjap Kaur, Pritpal Singh, Puneet Kaur, Roop Kaur, Sahib Kaur, Tavleen Kaur, Triptas Singh, Manroop Kaur and Manjaap Kaur.

Also recognised at the event were about 15 youth volunteers who helped SVA distribute food relief in Hastings, Rosebud, Frankston, Noble Park and Dandenong.

State and federal MPs, and members of Victoria Police, SES, CFA and Fire Rescue Victoria were also invited.