Swinburne and the Sikh Interfaith Council of Victoria (SICV) have come together to coordinate with Sikh organisations and Gurduaras in the greater Melbourne and Geelong area to provide free meals for our international and local international students. This arrangement will provide some much-needed relief for students who are facing financial hardship as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation.
Extending a helping hand
“Guru Nanak Dev Ji, the founder of the Sikh faith introduced Langar, which is the concept of Free Community Kitchen to provide free vegetarian meals for people in need without distinction of religion, caste, gender, economic status or ethnicity,” says SICV representative and Swinburne’s Team Leader Coordinator, International Admissions, Harpreet Singh Maan.
“We found that a large number of students were struggling to make ends meet as a result of the COVID-19 situation. Some were unable to travel home while others had lost jobs and were struggling with meals and rent,” Mr Singh adds.
In response to this situation, the Sikh Community Organisations and Gurduaras started looking at ways that they could help ease the burden for students in need. “SICV initiated a collaboration with Swinburne to coordinate with Sikh organisations throughout the greater Melbourne and Geelong area to provide free meals for Swinburne’s students,” Mr Singh explains. Students can either choose to have their meals delivered or opt to pick them up.
These meals are prepared daily by the Gurduaras and other Sikh organisations with strict cleanliness and hygiene measures in place
Students grateful for the assistance
This service has been received positively by our students. “Approximately 85 free meals have distributed so far, and students have expressed their gratitude for this service,” says Mr Singh.
Students have been enjoying these meals and are grateful for the assistance
Postgraduate student, Uday Patil says “Many students have lost their jobs in this pandemic and buying food is an added expense that they can barely afford. This initiative by the Sikh community provides us with a good meal and helps us manage our savings. I would like to thank Swinburne and the Sikh community for stepping up and helping international students during these hard times.”
Another postgraduate student, Abishek Martin encourages more students to make use of this service. He says, “The Sikh community in Victoria took the Langar concept one step further by offering support to international students who are struggling financially because of COVID-19.” He adds, “The volunteers are humble and generous, and I am grateful to them and Swinburne for offering this service.”
Undergraduate student, Punloeu Sary adds, “Thank you Swinburne and the Sikh community for your hard work and helping me during this time, I really enjoyed the meal.”
This service aims to help as many Swinburne students as possible. Students who are interested in this service and would like to book their meals must do so by 5pm the day before.
To learn more about this free service, visit the Current Students page on Swinburne’s website.