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Parliamentarians help Somascan dinner dance raise $235,000 for orphans and poor

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Liberal Member for Holsworthy Tina Ayyad, far right, and Deputy Mayor of Liverpool Fiona MacNaught joined the Somascan Fathers at the annual charity fundraiser. Photo: PSSmileProductions
Liberal Member for Holsworthy Tina Ayyad, far right, and Deputy Mayor of Liverpool Fiona MacNaught joined the Somascan Fathers at the annual charity fundraiser. Photo: PSSmileProductions

Reaching another record high in its third year, the Somascan Missions Dinner Dance has raised more than $235,000 for its local and global projects to assist those orphaned and in need in some of the world’s poorest communities.

Organised by Somascan Missions, a local Australian Charity based at St Joseph’s parish in Moorebank, 420 guests gathered at Liverpool’s Macquarie Paradiso for a night of food, fundraising and fellowship on 2 February.

Moorebank/Holsworthy parish priest Father Mathew Velliyamkandathil CRS, assistant priest Fr Chris de Sousa CRS and visiting priest Fr David Romero Rodas CRS were honoured to be joined by special guests Deputy Mayor of Liverpool Fiona MacNaught, Canterbury Bankstown Deputy Mayor Rachelle Harika, Liberal Member for Holsworthy Tina Ayyad and Labor Member for Liverpool Charishma Kaliyanda.

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Councilor MacNaught, representing Liverpool Mayor Ned Mannoun, and Minister Kaliyanda, representing the Minister for Small Business, Minister for Lands and Property, Minister for Multiculturalism and Minister for Sports Stephen Kamper, addressed the guests and acknowledged the services and support that Somascan Missions has provided vulnerable young people and families.

“It is the work of organisations like yours and it is the values and passion that can support the vulnerable people in the community,” said Kaliyanda.

“It goes back to the teaching of faith and to Jesus who supported the vulnerable, who put all the suffering of those in need at the heart of his life and that is exactly how Somascan Missions go about it.

“I congratulate and thank you for doing that from the bottom of my heart because I know exactly the difference it can make for not only the Liverpool community but more broadly in South Western Sydney.”

Joining the hundreds of religious and laity from across the country in attendance were priests from the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney.

Assistant Priest at St Mary’s Cathedral Fr Benjamin Saliba returned to MC the event with much delight, while fundraiser favourites DJ Mr Jayson and Finesse Music Group kept the dance floor electrified all night.

Somascan Fr Chris de Sousa CRS delivered the keynote speech taht outlined three local and global projects that would provide foreign aid for the education, maintenance and benefit of those entrusted to the care of the Somascan Lay and Religious. Photo: photographyybydani
Somascan Fr Chris de Sousa CRS delivered the keynote speech taht outlined three local and global projects that would provide foreign aid for the education, maintenance and benefit of those entrusted to the care of the Somascan Lay and Religious. Photo: photographyybydani

Delivering the Keynote speech for the evening, Fr Chris de Sousa CRS outlined three local and global projects that, through the generosity of the night’s supporters, would provide foreign aid for the education, maintenance and benefit of those entrusted to the care of the Somascan Lay and Religious.

Recently spending some time in India’s “Sanjeevani” Somascan Community, based in the rural town of Konda Mallepally in the state of Telangana, Fr Chris witnessed the desperate need of support for their K-10 school and Somascan home for orphaned and abandoned boys as well as a hostel that houses teenage girls being given care and education at the Sanjeevani School as an alternative to the practice of child marriages.

“Sanjeevani, as our first project, includes refurbishment of the hygienically debilitated school toilet blocks for boys and girls, establishing a Teacher’s Fund to enable the Somascan Fathers to retain their good teachers, the installation of air coolers for common, school stationary and sports equipment for recreation,” said Fr Chris.

Turning towards NSW, the assistant priest spoke at length on the remaining two local projects that would see the construction and operation of a rehabilitation house to reintegrate incarcerated young men back into society and a Pastoral and Community Centre providing services for the disadvantaged and vulnerable of South Western Sydney.

“A contributing factor to the reoffending behaviour of young men is because they truly believe that they belong in prison,” said Fr Chris, detailing the struggle for incarcerated men in attaining advocacy services through the great amounts of bureaucratic red tape.

“Somascan Missions are presently working to progress forward with this much needed proposed development of a Rehabilitation House in Goulburn as an alternative to incarceration and support for the release from prison of our young NSW men within the youth at risk age of 18-25 years including family members within our local community and help them truly belong amongst us.”

With the success of this year’s event, Somascan Missions has raised more than $500,000 in support of communities run by the Somascan Fathers in Mozambique, India and Sri Lanka.

For more information on Somascan Missions go to www.somascanmissions.org.au or email [email protected]

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