Dunedin Tamil Society, a small community organisation of Tamil speaking individuals, hosted Eid celebrations for the community in Dunedin last week that gave birth to a new project that will help students of the University of which many of the members are from Otago Tamil Students association.

Dunedin Tamil Society organize Eid, Diwali, South Indian festivals such as the harvest festival Pongal, Tamil New Year, Christmas, and other religious and national festivals, sports and family events throughout the year at different intervals for the community.

Even though a small population of Tamil Muslims lives in the Dunedin region, the community organisation took the opportunity to host Eid event for the entire community inviting men, women and children from the wider Tamil community in wider Dunedin region for a day of family time and fun on Sunday, June 9, at the premises of the University of Otago.

The highlight of the event besides the delicacies arranged, entertainment and activities by the sponsors was the magic show by one of the best magician from the Dunedin region, Jonathan Usher.

“We took this opportunity of showing inclusiveness and love towards our Muslim community by organizing this Eid event,” Dr Luxmanan Selvanesan, president of Dunedin Tamil Society told The Indian Weekender.

“The event was arranged for the Muslim community on the occasion of their biggest festival, by a good population of Hindu Tamil volunteers and the delicious food cooked by a Christian chef – this was the essence of our love and multiculturalism and inclusivity we wanted to exhibit through this event,” Dr Luxmanan said.

The event also had a Muslim keynote speaker and 60 to 80 attendees including Muslim and non-Muslim families from the city and two families who travelled from Oamaru to be a part of the event.

The event took a surprising turn when the organisers were left with a reasonably good amount of food leftover, and it is then the organizers realized that they could make the best of that opportunity.

The surplus food was served or offered to the students of the Otago University who are preparing for their exams.

The organisers arranged 60-80 takeaway boxes and approached students of the University studying and offered it to them who graciously accepted the food packs and thanked the DTS members.

“Exam times are always difficult for the students, they are mentally stressed and making time to prepare food and to eat healthy is always a difficult choice that they have to make –often they rely on takeaways, snacks and junk food.

“The students were overwhelmed when we offered them the food boxes and expressed their relief and happiness of not getting worried about cooking when then get home or eating out. This way they get a freshly prepared home cooked style meal” Dr. Luxmanan said.

The success of this unplanned but pleasantly surprising activity has led the Dunedin Tamil Society executive team contemplating the idea to host such lunch or dinner packs for the students, especially during exam times.

“I discussed the idea with my Vice-President Niv Kamalendran who was completely in support of the idea, I am confident there will be an overwhelming response from the community as well as from our local retailers and business owners, as well as the university itself. Businesses can easily come onboard to sponsor such food boxes for the students and get their name out there into the student community,” Dr. Luxmanan added.

The idea is to make the most of the opportunity which will be a win-win for all the parties involved –the students getting gift food boxes, the sponsors of the food such as restaurant/s, local retailers and businesses, cleaners, etc. get their business promoted through these activities and a community goal or serving noble cause is also accomplished.

Dunedin Tamil Society is also planning one of the biggest community events for the Tamil community later this year. Details of the event will be out and announced once ready for the public.