February 27, 2017
Citizen of the Year -QMC President Umesh and Usha Chandra
Umesh and Usha Chandra are exceptional leaders within the Brisbane community. Not only do the husband and wife duo contribute significantly to the Indian community, generously giving their time to support migrants, but Umesh and Usha are also dedicated to supporting people from all backgrounds and religious groups. By supporting numerous multicultural community events every year, Umesh and Usha have been able to strengthen the connection between the city's many cultures, promoting social harmony and multiculturalism in Brisbane.
Umesh and Usha were heavily involved in the construction of the Mahatma Gandhi statue in Roma Street Parkland in 2014. As members of the Global Organisation for People of Indian Origin (GOPIO), both Umesh and Usha played an instrumental role from the beginning. Mahatma Gandhi's statue was unveiled during G20 with the Prime Minister of India in attendance.
Umesh has contributed to the Indian community in other significant ways. Umesh has played an instrumental role in the honouring of the indentured Indian Labourers by hosting commemoration events. He has used platforms such as the Brisbane Indian Times and Australian Indian Radio to promote Brisbane as a welcoming and harmonious place to live. Umesh also volunteers at a Hindu Temple in Brisbane's north.
Umesh is an Ambassador of White Ribbon, where he devotes many hours of his time to spreading the message of preventing domestic violence and mental illness in the community. In additional to his charity work, Umesh also volunteers in a social band, providing entertainment at numerous cultural events throughout the year, with the aim of fostering a love of arts throughout the culturally diverse community of Brisbane.
Usha is also a familiar figure in Brisbane's Indian community, continuously volunteering her time to organise both social and fundraising events, including the India Day Fair that has become a feature of the Brisbane calendar. Through her involvement in GOPIO, Usha has actively promoted networking and business events that have been essential in helping migrants to feel settled in the Brisbane community. Usha has also supported new migrants by inviting authorities, such as the Queensland Police Service, to join local community members at meetings. These meetings aim to build good working relationships between the groups.
"Umesh and Usha are team players that make themselves available to everyone. They are role models for new migrants."- Nominator
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