West Auckland’s Sri Lankan community is receiving vital help thanks to the efforts of the Sri Lankan Society.
The society was set up in 2005 in the aftermath of the devastating Indian Ocean tsunami. Initially, the not-for-profit organisation focused on providing emergency relief to their homeland. Since those early days, the society has evolved to become a source of support for the small but growing Sri Lankan community in New Zealand.
The society aims to promote the language, culture and heritage of Sri Lanka. And it now has around 200 families as members. Although the organisation operates nationwide, its work centres in Auckland, with about 30 families out West alone.
Members enjoy a wealth of cultural events, including the recent, highly successful Food Fair. This free community event offered an opportunity to experience the many colours, flavours and spices of Sri Lankan cuisine.
Eid is another important date on the Sri Lankan Society’s calendar. The festival of Eid marks the end of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month of fasting. And the society celebrated with a sumptuous banquet, bringing families and friends together.
Many of the Sri Lankan Society’s members are families with children. According to the treasurer Afrar Ahamed, some 150 young people are connected to the society. Afrar says the management committee identified a need for help with IT resources and sports equipment among West Auckland members. ‘We saw that our community children in West Auckland require IT and sports equipment,’ says Afrar.
A successful application for $5,000 to the Your West Support Fund has provided much-needed sports gear and iPads to local families in need. ‘For these families, tech resources and sports equipment are out of their reach,’ explains Afrar. ‘The funding has made a huge difference to the lives of our younger members in West Auckland,' he adds.