Melbourne: Two Indian-origin achievers are among 20 inspiring Australians who have won A$$1 million grant ($672,805) for creating sustainable and innovative solutions to address community issues.
New South Wales-based Amar Singh and Rishi Verma have won the grant under the Tomorrow Maker program by Sydney-based AMP Foundation.
Singh, the 41 year-old founder and president of Turbans 4 Australia, has been awarded for community service, and promoting multiculturalism and religious tolerance.
Singh, who experienced ethnic slurs because of his beard and turban, realised that there was no better way to teach others about the Sikh community and faith than connecting with the community through charity work.
It was then that he founded his charity organisation in 2015 to assist people facing financial hardship, food insecurity, homelessness and those impacted by natural calamities.
He also won the prestigious 2023 New South Wales Australian of the Year Award recently for supporting the community during floods, bushfires, drought and the pandemic.
Verma, an ophthalmologist, aerospace engineer and entrepreneur, has created an innovative portal ophthalmoscope to help solve diabetic retinopathy, which is the leading cause of blindness amongst indigenous and rural populations of Australia.
Born and raised in Lidcombe, he is also the co-founder and CEO of Stethy, an AI assistant providing diagnostic tools to physicians.
“Stethy started to create a world where everyone has access to instant, affordable and safe medical care at any time and place,” Verma, currently a doctor at NSW Health, said.
Before studying medicine, he was a space engineering intern at NASA and completed his Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery at the University of Wollongong.
“Current economic conditions are impacting everyone but are disproportionately impacting our First Nation people and disadvantaged communities across Australia. We know that climate change and environmental issues threaten our very existence; and the global pandemic has highlighted the fault lines in our society — all very big issues,” Nicola Stokes, General Manager of AMP Foundation, said.
“I am pleased to let you know that our 2022 Tomorrow Makers are not afraid of taking up challenges or tackling what are dubbed awicked problems’, those social issues thought too difficult and complex to solve,” she added.
In its ninth year, the Tomorrow Maker program supports Australians from all walks of life making a difference in their community.
The program is supported by AMP Foundation, which has invested more than $108 million since 1992 to help organisations and individuals bring about positive change.