Many Indian international students who stayed in Australia during the pandemic to complete their studies faced difficulties, including living alone and losing jobs due to COVID-related lockdowns.
A number of students lost their jobs due to COVID. They felt alone and vulnerable but they chose to remain in the country since they were concerned that returning would entail an endless wait to return to Australian shores due to the continued closure of borders.
An organization AISECS (Australian-Indian Sports Educational and Cultural Society) has come up to assist Indian students in New South Wales, they claim that there is an urgent need to assist Indian students, many of whom are experiencing mental health problems as a result of continuing border restrictions.
On 3 June, they co-hosted an event called ‘Care, Connection, and Community’ exclusively for Indian international students in NSW, in collaboration with Study NSW and the Consulate General of India, Sydney (CGI Sydney).
They said they were inspired to organise this event because they thought that many international Indian students who lost loved ones in India’s second devastating COVID wave were unable to return home and were forced to mourn alone in Australia’s lack of a support structure. They wanted to demonstrate to them via this event that they are not alone.
The event was attended by about 75 Indian international students. It was also attended by the Consul General of India, the Consul General of Nepal, Superintendent NSW Police, CEO of Cricket Australia, and a mental health speaker from Headspace.
Additionally, they have developed a unique program to assist students with start-up business ideas in Australia. Those with feasible ideas will be coached, guided, and provided with financial assistance to help them get their ventures off the ground.
AISECS recognizes and thanks the Indian Consulate General for organizing this event, as well as the NSW Government’s assistance in initiating and making this event possible.
They also stated that they are in frequent contact with the NSW and federal governments, pleading with them to return foreign students from countries like India, where huge numbers of students are stranded. According to sources, the NSW Cabinet has authorized such a proposal to fly students home as early as August.
South Australia’s government has also contacted the federal government with a proposal for student return. If approved, the plan would bring in 160 kids at a time for two weeks of quarantine at a facility near Parafield Airport in Adelaide’s north, which is now under construction.