WILLETTON-based Indian Society of Western Australia (ISWA) is behind WA’s first expo to celebrate the achievements of Aussie-Indian women in the state.
The Naari Expo, to be held on June 11 in Mirrabooka, was the brainchild of ISWA committee member Bindiya Manchanda.
Mrs Manchanda said the expo would provide women with an opportunity to network and celebrate strengths of belonging to a blend of two cultures, Australian and Indian.
“Naari literally means women and the Naari Expo is about celebrating the unique nature of being women of two beautiful cultures; and showcase the achievements and talents of women in their professions,” said Mrs Manchanda.
Mrs Manchanda said the City of Canning, in particular Willetton, was home to a large Indian population and she encouraged all community members to attend the expo.
“Our vision with this expo is to create and empower women of Indian ethnicity to integrate into Australian society,” she said.
Shelley resident Anu Madan is one Aussie-Indian woman who has enjoyed the benefits of her birthplace India and her home city Perth where she has lived most her live.
Since arriving in Perth in 1971, Mrs Madan has volunteered much of her time to assist others within the Perth-based Indian community with her efforts recognised in 2008 when she was made a patron of ISWA.
Mrs Madan travelled to Australia from New Delhi 46 years ago after her husband accepted a job as a geologist.
“I was only 18 when I got married and I came to Australia when I was 20. Most of my life is quite Aussie,” she said.
“We thought it would be for a short while but we ended up staying here.
“We loved it. Who wouldn’t love Australia? It is just so clean and there are so many open spaces.”
Mrs Madan recalls living with her husband in exploration camps in the north-west of WA.
“I really liked that very much – it was hot but it was very beautiful. I really liked the quietness and the colours.”
In 1984, she founded the Hindi School and has taught the language to school students and adults.
She said the expo would highlight the capabilities of Indian women in Perth.
“Generally people don’t know how educated and professional and how smart Indian women are,” she said.
“We just want to show that Indian women are highly professional and they have assimilated well into Australian society and contribute beautifully here.
“We have the best of both worlds. We go to the Indian community for all their functions, join in, and eat our own meal with friends. But we are very Australian as well.”
Her daughter Manu Madan of Shelley has launched her own business and hopes the expo will highlight young Aussie-Indian businesswomen.
Ms Madan, who grew up in Australia, worked as a country high school teacher before deciding to focus on her art and setting up her own business.
Her business, established earlier this year, focuses on teaching a children’s creative writing program as well as providing a graphic design service.
“Running your own business is not that easy. Everything takes time but finding your niche is the enjoyment of it all and that is where I think the Indian angle comes in quite tidily because of the aesthetics, the colours, the concepts – I am drawing on two cultures.”
She said it was rare to find young Indian women in Perth operating their own businesses.
“Most of us pursue a professional life,” she said.
“Business is very daunting. We don’t have the networks. There are few people who can mentor us from within our own community.
“I really believe in Australia. If you know what you want and you are prepared to tell people then they do give you the opportunity but you have to say it in the right way, to the right person and at the right time. You have to find professional bodies where people will talk to you and help you. It is all there if you can find the right place.”
Mrs Madan and her daughter Manu will take part in the expo this month.
What to expect: The expo will feature Aussie-Indian Women entrepreneurs; cultural performances and a wide range of Indian food.
Where: Herb Graham Recreation Centre, Mirrabooka
When: June 11
Time: 11am to 5pm