Baking the world a better place

Baking the world a better place

By Matt Harvey

When news of the COVID crisis in India reached Tamara D’Mello, she knew she couldn’t stand by and do nothing; she knew the key to raising dough was through people’s stomachs.

Taking to social media, the Docklands resident summoned the power of small communities to support each other and will host a bake sale on Saturday, June 12 at 897 Collins St, with proceeds raised going towards the fight against COVID in India.

“I kept hearing in shops about India and the Prime Minister and how badly it’s being managed. I thought as a community it might be something everyone is interested in doing, helping in some small way,” Ms D’Mello said.

From this frustration a group of local residents Rose Mercer, Karen Clarke, Faye Cowling joined Ms D’Mello to rally the support of local businesses and the community.

Initially people expressed concern that due to corruption in India the money would not get to where it can do good, but Ms D’Mello said if you take the approach of “everything is broken” then nothing gets done.

While most people had heard about the ongoing oxygen crisis due to media coverage the needs of smaller communities are often overlooked when a crisis develops.

“It was quite hard to select an organisation to donate to. You really have to understand what’s happening on the ground and who’s doing good work on the ground,” she said.

Ms D’Mello turned to family and friends in India to find the right community to support, eventually landing on not-for-profit organisation Hasiru Dala.

Hasiru Dala has a long history of collaborating with the local community having been around for around 10 years and have a good track record in the local community.

“Hasiru Dala, it translates to Green Force, they’re basically a sustainability organisation and that’s why they work with waste pickers,” Ms D’Mello said.

The waste pickers are scavengers; they hunt through garbage and find whatever can be recycled selling glass, metal, and scrap.

“By the nature of the work they do they are out there in garbage with no protection, they’re very poor, most of them are women and children,” she said.

“They certainly don’t have PPE or anything like that. Many of them do not have access to private bathrooms, they live in these slums, they have communal bathrooms, a bar of soap is luxury for these people, a lockdown would be a luxury.”

Local developer Lendlease has offered a space in Docklands to house the bake sale and businesses like Cafe Bambino, Barry Plant and Gowrie have started donating and showing support.

“My parents are in Bangalore and my sister and my family are in Bangalore, but we didn’t select the organisation because they are Bangalore-based. But it does feel nice for me that the money will go to a part of India I am familiar with,” Ms D’Mello said.

The bake sale will take place at 897 Collins St on Saturday, June 12 from 10.30am to 3pm. More information can be found at

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