From Gujarat, India to Australia

Campaigning for change article written on the 17 Dec 2010

Photo: OxfamAUS

My name is Praful Aghara. I am from the Indian state of Gujarat. In 1998, 40 to 50 villages were flooded and 300 people died. Then in 2002 and 2005 there were droughts and famine which were once again followed by floods. Other parts of India have also experience droughts and floods affecting many thousands of people and in Pakistan more than 21 million people have been affected by floods this year. This is the human face of climate change which we must deal with.

I am now doing an internship at Oxfam Australia working to convince political leaders to act on climate change. We have been meeting with politicians and arranging a photographic exhibition on climate change which already affects millions of people around the world.

November 12 was an enormous moment for myself and others who went to Fremantle to meet Kevin Rudd (Foreign Affairs Minister and former PM). The City of Fremantle arranged this programme in the art gallery in Moore’s Building on Henry Street. The Foreign Affairs Minister spoke of Australia’s growing aid program with reference to his recent visit to Pakistan.

Afterwards we met Mr Rudd. I told him my name is Praful and I am working in Oxfam Australia as an intern and that I come from India. We discussed climate change and I gave some examples of flood and drought in my country caused by climate change and as well as Pakistan flood on August 2010.

I hope Mr Rudd took my story away with him, and his Government acts to stop the devastating effects of climate change on communities such as my own, back home in India.