Deepti Alurkar: Community candidate for Melton Council’s Watts Ward election 2020

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By SAT News Desk

MELBOURNE, 31 August 2020: The journey started over a decade ago. Deepti Alurkar moved to Australia from Mumbai (commercial capital of India) here with her husband and raised a beautiful young family with two daughters as a role model too. Her commitment to the family and community has culminated she now is a candidate for the Watts Ward (Taylor’s Hill, Hillside, Diggers Rest, Toolern Vale, Plumpton, Bonniebrook, and Grangefields) of the Milton Council. The election will take place in October this year.

Like many migrants, Deepti and her husband had their share of struggle, from working in prolific roles back in India to starting from scratch that didn’t deter them from achieving their goals. Deepti started working with one of the top four banks, completed her Diploma in Financial Planning, and set up her own small business.

Whilst she struggled through the settling phase, she realized that the struggle is real and similar to many people. As a young mum, she realized the lack of support and social setting to empower women in general.

That’s when she decided to work on this front proactively, she spent more than five years volunteering within the City of Melton to reduce vulnerability, increase connection, and community pride.

Her work has assisted individuals, households, and communities. She is compassionate, innovative, and inspiring and has a positive impact on many.
 
One of Deepti’s many passions is supporting the wellbeing of women and advancing their social, economic, and cultural participation. Recognizing the restrictions that gender norms can place on women, particularly within the ethnic communities, Deepti registered as a volunteer with Taylors Hill Neighbourhood House in 2016 in order to establish the Mums Dance Club (MDC). The objective of MDC was to provide a safe space where women, of all cultures, could take a break from their “expected” responsibilities and strengthen their social ties within the community.
 
Deepti has successfully facilitated MDC and participating mums are able to connect with other women, overcome unfamiliarity with mainstream services as well as the challenges in accessing these services, improve English proficiency, increase levels of health literacy and reduce financial vulnerabilities. 

The MDC has also provided women with the opportunity to engage artistically, supporting them to realize their considerable talents and skills and showcase these to the wider public through performances at community events.

MDC highlights and embraces diversity, fosters women’s leadership, and challenges issues like violence and abuse. 
 
Wanting to extend on the great work of MDC, in 2018 Deepti established the Multicultural Association of Community Empowerment (M.A.C.E). The association works to empower people of all ages, genders, and cultures through education, mentoring, and support and to provide a platform to celebrate multiculturalism. In her current role as President of M.A.C.E, Deepti leads a passionate team of volunteers in the development and delivery of a range of community projects.
 
In addition to her work with M.A.C.E and MDC, Deepti uses her spare time to act as a community connector. She is well known for her generosity and kindness and frequently provides support, information, and referral on a variety of matters for members of the community.
 
Deepti recognizes the important role communication plays in keeping a community strong and uses social media to inform, raise awareness, and promote local opportunities. Deepti has approximately 3,000 followers across social media, making her reach significant. It has proven an effective way for Deepti to stay engaged with the community during the COVID pandemic and ensures they continue to feel connected and informed.

Deepti role models the saying ‘community over competition’ and is passionate about supporting small and local businesses – she regularly promotes local business through Facebook and suggests ways that the community can support them during this difficult time. In July 2020 Deepti created a short video in partnership with a range of local businesses as a show of support. 
 
Within the Indian community, she is admired and recognized as “empowered women” and is a role model for many women. She does receive lots of messages from local women, who are inspired and seek motivation. She believes it’s important to stand up for yourself and then you can stand for others. She is known for her integrity and respect for her strength in speaking out about issues affecting women and children.

With her strong understanding of the complexity of the issues behind family violence within her community as well as the cultural barriers to accessing support, Deepti is a primary contact person within the Indian community for women who are seeking support with family violence. 

Deepti is often asked to speak on issues affecting women and the community on Radio Channels Australia and uses this forum as a platform to educate Indian women on their rights and provide a better understanding of the services that are available.
 

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