1 February 2013: The Global Organisation of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) International launched its first South African (SA) Chapter in Durban in October 2012, with the main aim of promoting the wellbeing of People of Indian Origin (PIOs) and Non-Resident Indians (NRIs), enhancement of cooperation and communications between Indians in Durban and other countries around the world and a growing engagement of the Diaspora with India. The PIO community in SA is estimated to be 1.4 million.
GOPIO Durban marks its formal public launch today to join the growing community of overseas Indians in nearly 50 countries. GOPIO International’s South Africa-Durban chapter is committed to the unconditional enhancement of the lives of PIOs, NRIs and the South African community at large. The Chapter’s key objectives are to serve, unite and uplift the local PIO, NRI and the larger South African community; to connect, share and engage with global PIOs and India on community, social, health, cultural and academic issues; and to facilitate, promote and advance business and entrepreneurship alliances with global PIOs and India.
GOPIO International, founded at the First Global Convention of People of Indian Origin in New York in 1989, is a non-partisan, non-sectarian and non-profit global organisation. The initial thrust of GOPIO was to fight human rights violation of overseas Indians. With improvement in the lifestyle of overseas Indians and their assimilation in their adopted countries, GOPIO has now set its priorities in pooling their resources, both financial and professional, for the benefit of the global Indian Diaspora, the countries they come from, and India. GOPIO has been actively engaged with the United Nations, and is working to secure accreditation by U.N. as an NGO. GOPIO International is duly recognized in its special role of engaging the Diaspora with India by the Government of India’s Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) that credits GOPIO for the very formation of the Ministry 10 years ago. GOPIO International’s achievements are being exemplified for emulation by the Organization of American States (OAS), British Diaspora Conference and Nigerian Parliament’s Special Committee on Diaspora.
GOPIO Executives and Council representatives comprise of elected and duly nominated volunteers from various countries of the globe. They are committed to increase the global network of overseas Indians and provide a forum to foster fellowship and a sense of brotherhood. They believe, together we can achieve more: provide valuable community service and network PIOs locally and globally.
An estimated 25 million people of Indian origin are living outside India. Many have numerous achievements and have contributed significantly to the countries of their adoption. They have helped their local community as well as improved bilateral relations between the ancestral and adopted lands. They have also collectively contributed to India’s transformation into a modern economy. In essence, while they are domiciled in other countries, they are bound to India by the umbilical cord of history, culture, heritage, and tradition and have added a special glitter to the resurgence of India.
The GOPIO Durban Chapter will operate as a non-profit organisation and focus on cultural, social, business, academic and community issues with a thrust on enhancing cultural exchanges, education, business and international trade, poverty alleviation, healthcare and creating awareness and fighting the menace of drug-abuse afflicting Indians and other groups living in Durban and within the greater South Africa. GOPIO Durban will work with multi-cultural groups in South Africa and globally to increase cultural activities and interaction. The GOPIO Durban Chapter elected its Executive Committee at its first formal meeting on 13 October 2012.
GOPIO Durban President Sudesh Maharaj says that the cultural and traditional promotion of Indian family life which originally imbibed a sense of belonging and discipline, instilled at home, in school and in the extended family should be revived and emphasized to advance the community. An important immediate focus for the GOPIO Durban Chapter is youth empowerment aided by resources from business and academia to create affordable, practical and sustainable programs which will develop young entrepreneurs.
The board members of the Durban Chapter are Sudesh Maharaj (President), Dr. Kinesh Pather (Vice-President, Loshni Naidoo (SA Coordinator and Facilitator), Pankaj Doorgaparsad (Treasurer), Dr. Gerelene Jagganath (Secretary) and Krishnan Nair (Joint-Secretary).
Global President of GOPIO Ashook Ramsaran says that he is very impressed by the youthfulness of the office-bearers in the GOPIO Durban Chapter and sees them making a huge impact, not just in the Indian community in Durban, but GOPIO worldwide. GOPIO International Africa Regional Coordinator and Executive Committee member, Munish Gupta, was delighted that his two-year effort to enthuse PIOs and NRIs in South Africa to come together to form GOPIO International’s South African base with the Durban Chapter, has become a reality. Gupta has been working with the community consistently and is confident that the excellent team leading the Durban Chapter will expand the membership base, grow in skills and abilities and extend its influence. He thanked GOPIO South Africa Coordinator and Facilitator Loshni Naidoo in persevering to make GOPIO International’s first Chapter in Durban, South Africa a reality.
The GOPIO Durban Chapter encourages membership from South African Indians and NRIs across all religions, as GOPIO is an Indian Diaspora organization that is non-sectarian, non-partisan and apolitical. Members enroll for a minimal annual membership fee that is used to support and serve the community through programs aimed at youth and lifestyle upliftment, as well as networking and building business opportunities facilitated by a global network of Indians. The GOPIO Durban Chapter will also have representatives in Youth, Women and Senior Citizen programs going forward.
A formal launch of the GOPIO Durban Chapter is currently being planned and will be announced in due course.
For further information on GOPIO, please visit www.gopio.net.