Mr. Kevin Conolly (Riverstone)
Mr. Kevin Conolly (Riverstone) (12:42): On Sunday 26 March I joined the Harman Foundation for its Harmony Day celebrations at Glenwood. Gathered in Glenwood. Gathered in Glenwood Lake Park on a lovely sunny Sunday afternoon were hundreds of local residents who had come together to celebrate the welcoming and supportive community that has grown in this part of the electorate of Riverstone, with people from a wide variety of national and cultural backgrounds calling the area home. The Harman Foundation is a not-for-profit organization that aims to alleviate human suffering in the community. This includes support in situations of grief arising from uncontrollable events and factors such as death, trauma, separation, incarceration, sickness, disability, marital breakdown, suicide and poverty. The foundation also disseminates information and educational literature, conducts seminars and workshops, liaises with other support organisations, provides a 24-hour telephone and web support service, undertakes direct counselling and provides prison chaplaincy and in some cases direct financial assistance to those in need.
The foundation’s current projects include raising funds towards the goal of establishing a domestic violence shelter and distributing food to the needy in the Blacktown region. The vision of Harman Foundation is to provide assistance to members of the community who are subject to emotional trauma, anxiety, stress and suffering caused through the loss of a family member or other circumstances. It offers family and parenting seminars to increase awareness of mental health and strengthen families. The foundation is named after Harman Preet Singh, a selfless and inspiring young man who died some years ago in an accident. Experiencing grief and distress as a result of his passing, his parents and friends sought to build something positive from that tragedy.
In 2013 they formed the Harman Foundation Charitable Trust to provide help to others who find themselves going through difficult times.
I pay tribute to the directors of team Harman who manage the foundation on a voluntary basis. Maninder Singh and Harinder Kaur, the parents of Harman Preet Singh; Mukhtiar Singh; Sarabjit Singh; Gurpreet Kaur; Manjinder Singh; Devender Singh; and Nikki Harnoor Singh. Like many community organisations, the Harman Foundation relies on Volunteers to be able to provide its services to the community. These are not paid people but simply good neighbours in the community who have decided to step out to improve the lives of those around them. I commend all those who generously give of their time and skills to support others in need.
The services provided by the Harman Foundation include a 24/7 telephone helpline; support group meetings; direct peer support; chaplaincy services; bereavement services; family support services; senior support services; and food for the needy. While many of the founding members of the Harman Foundation are of Punjabi Sikh ethnicity, as has Harman Singh, the foundation has welcomed volunteers of all backgrounds, such as Ms Ozgur Richardson who has been a hard-working volunteer for some years and has reached out to assist people of all backgrounds to offer support when needed. I was heartened to hear of an example of this recently when a domestic violence tragedy in Glenwood left two young boys without parents. Not only was the foundation there to offer much practical support to the boys; donations toward their future financial security were made to the foundation by local residents of a variety of nationalities—people that neither the family nor the foundation had ever met. The generosity of these residents is inspiring.
The Harman Foundation is a great example of the manner in which harmony in our society is achieved—from the grassroots up by ordinary people who choose to make available their time and energy to ensure that we have a better world. They respect others in the community and reach out to community members who need their assistance. One cannot legislate for harmony, respect or goodwill but one can encourage it, foster it and support those organisations that have those goals. I commend the Harman Foundation for what is has done and for the good that it will continue to do.