Community unites in celebration of cultural diversity

Brendan Rees

The community has come together to celebrate diversity and culture at an inaugural event held at the North Melbourne Community Centre.

Called the “Melbourne Winter Alive Winter ‘23”, the August 25 event showcased an array of activities including lively performances, cultural food, and workshops.

The event’s organiser, Deepa Gupta, who runs the Motivation Assistance Rehabilitation and Growth (MARG) Foundation, said the day was dedicated to empowering women in the community impacted by violence by improving their mental health and wellness.

“It was a super-successful event. This is a celebration of joy and happiness by creating bonds, connections, and reducing isolation and stress,” she said.

“We at MARG believe every person has a right to equality and respect irrespective of his/her gender, tribe or where she/he is born.”

Ms Gupta said hundreds of people from different walks of life attended the event, “making it a once in a lifetime program”, which was also aimed at fostering a strong and inclusive community.

Guests and dignitaries included Deputy Lord Mayor Nicholas Reece, Melbourne’s Consulate General of India Dr Sushil Kumar, Victorian Multicultural Commission chairperson Vivienne Nguyen AM, and women’s right activist Maria Dimopolous, who works to eliminate family violence.



The event also saw a delicious range of Indian food offered to celebrate the Lohri festival, a popular winter Punjabi folk festival celebrated primarily in Northern India.

Cultural performances also featured members from the Vietnamese, Chinese, Sri Lankan, and Indian communities.

Other activities included talks on “psychosocial safety and isolation” by psychologist Dr Smruthy Nair, as well as the “importance of language in cultural connect” by the Ambassador of Poland Eva Hussain, and “upholding the Australian Indigenous voice referendum” by MARG.

Representatives of the Australian Tax Office also attended to deliver a presentation on “women empowerment through creating your own business enterprise”. 

Bollywood music and dance entertained guests during the evening with dinner prepared by Prize holders of Indian Cuisines. 

The event was supported by the City of Melbourne, the state government, and the Victorian Multicultural Commission. •


Caption: Community members gather for a cultural celebration in North Melbourne. Photos: Hannah Komissarova.

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