Posted by Christopher George on May 12, 2024


The concept of a Multicultural Inclusion Day (MID) and the drive to make it happen came from one of our newer members (and our PN) Raj Susarla. Raj has extensive contacts within the local Indian community. Raj had also had experience elsewhere of a similar event.
From the outset the club recognised the value of this initiative in both celebrating the diversity we have in the Monash community, engaging with our broader community and in publicising our club and Rotary in general. It matched perfectly with Rotary’s DEI objective. The focus was always on community engagement and ethnic celebration, not fundraising. Admission would be free.  
We wanted to engage as many diverse groups in Monash as possible and also get Monash Council support. Early contact was made with the council Cultural Diversity Community Development Officer and invitations issued to the Mayor, councillors and local politicians.
A small committee was formed within RCGW to assist Raj with the event planning, organisation and management. Venue options, even 9 months out, were found to be limited. A suitable hall was booked (Mt Waverley Youth Centre) (though not purposefully on Mother’s Day). The RCGW Board provided $1500 seed funding.
A wide range of ethnic groups were contacted and invited to perform, sponsorship was sought and publicity commenced. The organising committee met regularly by zoom following an established schedule, allocated action list and contacts list.
A key success factor was Raj’s volunteer contacts in the Indian community who provided the audio and stage management team and MCs.
A detailed run sheet was compiled for the day, with close contact and communication with  performers and stall providers. As well as a stall promoting Rotary and Rotaract, stalls were provided for sponsors, some food, face and hand painting for children, and local ethnic goods (jewellery, clothing). Certificates and mementos of appreciation and a small gift (Rotary branded coffee mug) were purchased for all performing groups and sponsors.
Support and Performers
We found the event attracted a wide range of support enabling a program on the day of 5 hrs of non-stop and diverse entertainment with performers of all ages:
  • 13 participating organisations and 132 performers
  • 18 individual program items
  • 10 sponsoring groups providing both financial support ($3000) and goods for raffles
  • 5 free raffle draws across the day – free tickets handed out on entry enabled us to track attendee numbers
  • Opening key dignitaries – Monash Mayor (Nicky Luo), Dr Carina Garland ( Member for Chisholm), Ian Ballantine (Rotary DG 9810), Cr Theo Zographos, Rotary D9810 AG Helen Nodrum
In all over 400 people attended during the day, coming and going.
(Numbers may well have been higher if not for Mother’s Day.)
We had volunteers and supporters attending from a wide area including Aintree, Maclead, Vermont South, Knox, Point Cook and Ballarat.
Visiting Rotarians came from the Rotary Clubs of Caroline Springs, Box Hill, Camberwell and Chadstone/East Malvern and Rotaractors from Monash.
Take – Aways
We are in the process of evaluating the day, strengths and any areas for possible improvement.
  • A most successful way for Rotary community engagement, PR and our commitment to DEI.
  • RCGW has been able to widely expand its contacts and links into the local Monash multicultural community.
  • Opportunity to build a volunteer database for community involvement in similar events and fundraising activities.
  • Opportunity for RCGW to diversify into community engagement projects like Busyfeet ( and cooperatively work with other Rotary Clubs.
  • Social media promotion attracted many visitors to the event and gained community attention. We expect word of mouth to spread widely, promoting future events.
  • Our local communities are only too willing and happy to participate and voluntarily demonstrate their cultures in costume, dance, and music. The costumes and enthusiasm on the day were outstanding and infectious. Several groups not performing came up and asked if they could participate next time. To that extent once the framework and support was set the event ran itself.
  • Such an event quickly attracts strong Council and political support and enhances the Rotary brand. Sponsors have already indicated their strong support and willingness to support in future.
  • RCGW is endebted to Raj Susarla and thegroup of stage management volunteers from the local Indian community who provided the backbone and professional management for the day
  • We see the event now becoming an annual feature of our Community Service program
  • Better not to hold on Mothers Day.
Chief Guests – Carina Garland ( Member for Chisholm) Nicky Luo (Monash Mayor), Counsellor Theo Zographos and Ian Ballantine (Rotary DG 9810)
The Mayor opening the event (Rotary stand at rear, together with other stalls)
Tai Chi – Chinese Association of Monash
Advika Dance Group
Lion  Dance
Classical  Indian Flute
Busy Feet Dance Group (Disabled Children - RC Chadstone/ East Malvern)
Chinese Association Choir
Indian Seniors  Dance Group
Lion Dance Group – Springvale Neighbourhood Gp   ( Raj Susarla  in front )