Our journey towards community identity in Australia
The migration of Oriyas to Australia started around 30-35 years ago. Only in the last 7-8 years however, we have seen a significant growth in our numbers. As we were experiencing this growth in migration from Orissa to Australia, the idea of creating our own community identity in this country started floating around back in 1998-99. Initiatives were taken by several members in different states, predominantly in NSW & VIC to formalise a community association of Oriyas. This was a particularly difficult task in the initial period as we were a small community, our members were scattered all over a vast country and we did not have a common place to get together and discuss matters of mutual interest.
We realised around 2002 that this dream can only be fulfilled if we join in at a federal level to create the required critical mass and work together towards achieving this common goal. Suggestions were made to start with a National Oriya Sammilani and continue it on an annual basis to provide a platform for common discussions. Incorporating all these suggestions, our first ORIOZ Sammilani was eventually hosted in 2003 at Wodonga, VIC. Close to 40 members from different places in Australia attended this historical event. After this success, the community got together with even more enthusiasm in the second ORIOZ Sammilani in 2004 at Megalong Valley, NSW.
This time to everyone’s delight, the attendance grew to more than 70 in numbers and people from almost all states in Australia attended the event. The third ORIOZ Sammilani was held in 2006 at Redcliff, Queensland. Both the enthusiasm and the attendance followed the trend of the earlier Sammilani’s in being even more encouraging than expected. All the Sammilani’s have been extremely rewarding in bringing the community closer by providing an opportunity to Oriyas living far away from each other to meet and become friends at one annual event. It was decided in this second Sammilani through open voting amongst members who were present that we formalise the identity of our community thorough a federally registered community association with chapters for each state.
ORIOZ Inc was federally registered in Australia as a result of that decision in 2005. The organisation now is registered in all states of Australia and recognised by their Governments as the Association of Oriyas living in Australia. This is a journey that began with the formalising a registered body and we hope that our community grows in its prominence in Australia with time.
Mission of Orioz Inc (the Community Association of Oriyas in Australia)
To integrate, promote and support Oriya Community and culture in Australia.
Orissa is a state of India. To know more about Odisha click here.
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