Premier launches international volunteer program in India

21 November 2011

NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell at the Banyan School in Bangalore.

NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell has launched a volunteer program that will see NSW university students travel to India to work on education projects for poverty-affected children in the state of Karnataka.

During his trade and investment mission to India, Mr O'Farrell launched the program at the Banyan School in Bangalore, the first project in India run by Sydney-based charity the 40K Foundation which provided a permanent building for the education and support of 200 severely impoverished children whose parents work in nearby quarries.

This year 40K is delivering nine community libraries and 15 rural tuition centres, and training 150 teachers in improved English-delivery methods and two-life skills trainers.

Mr O'Farrell said he was moved to see firsthand the work of 40K at the Banyan School. 40K, in partnership with Indian NGOs, will run the volunteer program that will involve about 100 NSW university students travelling to India each year to work on education projects with the charity.

"This is a great initiative that will not only boost support to the children of the region's quarry workers but will also see NSW students using skills they are developing at their universities to make a genuine difference in the lives of these families.

"These volunteers can make an invaluable contribution to the communities where they will be working, as well as enhancing the mutual goodwill between NSW and India," Mr O'Farrell said.

The 40K Foundation's CEO Clary Castrission said education remained central to opening up new possibilities for families in the region.

"An education is hope for a better future. It can change the whole trajectory of a person's life and we've already seen glimpses of that in the first graduates from the Banyan School," Mr Castrission said.

The University of Technology Sydney, the University of Wollongong, Macquarie University, the University of NSW and TAFE NSW have confirmed that some of their students will take part next year, with other universities poised to join the initiative

The 40K Foundation will be the first charity to benefit from the NSW Maharashtra Cricket Cup which will be played for the first time in Sydney in November 2012.

While in Mumbai, Mr O'Farrell announced a new partnership between Cricket NSW and the Mumbai Cricket Association which includes a new Twenty20 series between NSW and Mumbai, with the Premier's XI to play the Chief Minister's XI every two years.