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Showing posts from March, 2012

Aussie Students Don Role Of ‘Coolies’

These are no ordinary Coolies. But true to their name, they thrive on manual work and rough it out under alien conditions. Every year, Melbourne’s De La Salle College churns out a group of students who work as coolies in India for a month. From building schools to houses, this motley group of students are quietly changing the lives of the poor. Or so it seems.  The De La Salle Coolies programme was formed in 2006 by Br Denis Loft in an effort to foster the idea of community service among his pupils. The name is a take from the Indian word ‘coolie’ or manual labour. Each year students from Year 12 register for such services in India after their exams and forgo the popular ‘schoolies’ holiday. “It is purely based on interest,’ says Christine Thompson, director of staff, De La Salle College. What is more, the students collect $1000 towards the programme once they register and pay their own airfares. The school also raises money through its annual walkathon to contribute for s

By Jove, These Indians In Melbourne!

On days when I do make the trip to gym, I make it a point to visit Uma didi at her Idli Cafe. Sometimes I have tea, a cold gulab jamun or a spicy dosa. The cafe is two doors away from my gym, which is why turning left after sweating it out has almost become a habit. Uma's cafe provides the right ambience for gossip and she, is quite a respository of news. The place always has people. In a far corner, an old, small television sits atop a fridge and plays every south Indian song and movie. I step into Idli Cafe and I am transported to the old world. I was pleasantly surprised when I saw a solitary Uma didi yesterday. She is the quintessential Tamil lady, with a bindi, sari and flower on her head. Australians admire her colourful saris when she takes a walk with her dog, new migrant Indians in their shorts turn their heads from her. Yet for all her traditional get up, she is modern and forward thinking and quite a popular lady. We became friends the day we set eyes on each othe