Endeavouring to make a big difference

You don't need a lot of money to help a person living in poverty improve their lives through education says Deakin lecturer and researcher Michael D'Rosario.

You don’t need a lot of money to make a difference to the person living in poverty.

That’s not just the view of Deakin University’s Michael D’Rosario, a Lecturer in Finance and Ethics, but something he has seen proven time and again: in his own life and in the lives of many people he has helped both here in Australia and overseas.

And after winning the Prime Minister’s Australia-Asia Post Graduate Award, part of the Endeavour Awards, it is something he intends to keep on proving.

 “I am truly proud and grateful to receive this recognition,” he said.

“I wasn’t able to attend the award ceremonies, so I genuinely want to say thank you to the conferring body and also the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard.

“There are a number of potential benefits from this award.

“I want to look at the fusion of contemporary technologies and see how they can improve the lives of the poorest.

“I guess that is a key driver.

“I also wish to continue my work in providing education opportunities to people overseas via a number of channels.

“I know from my own experiences of how important an education can be.

“Although my mother was from a poor community in India, the policies in place in Kerala allowed women to have an education.

“From that she was able to teach me English, which was a great benefit to me when I came to Australia.

“More recently, I have seen great outcomes for young scholars in rural communities in India and Sri Lanka where we’ve had two students receive University Medals.

“We are also seeing the same thing in Vietnam where there are also some real challenges.

“The most amazing thing is that a small amount of money can go a really long way, you don’t need a huge amount of money to facilitate significant change.

“Often when we are able to create social capital, significant and sustainable change is possible even with nominal resources. It’s also about having great people around you that share the desire to see positive change and that are not afraid to face the challenges with you. I have been blessed in this regard, with a great family and community who share my passion for this work. 

“That really is what Nexus is; a group of individuals focused on supporting the efforts of others, championing the work of positive agents of change and social entrepreneurs, building up the capabilities of local non governmental entities and young leaders. For lack of a better description we are the management consultants to the social change/entrepreneurship sector.” 

Michael D'Rosario was born in Bombay and migrated to Australia with his family aged five.

After working his way through the public school system, he gained a Bachelor of Commerce degree at Deakin, graduating as an Alfred Deakin Medallist.

His passion for development and advocacy is something he attributes to his early childhood in India.

As part of that, Michael manages the charitable entity known as “Nexus” that supports social entrepreneurship and social change in the developing world.

He also worked for a time in the private sector, but the Boxing Day Tsunami led to something of an epiphany.

“I was supposed to go to India to work on development projects however, my mother needed a medical procedure and I didn’t go,” he said.

“Two days after I was supposed to arrive, the tsunami hit.

“When I did go, I saw the aftermath and felt the great sense of loss.

“When I came back to Australia I decided to get back into Deakin and into tertiary advocacy.”

Michael D’Rosario is a recent Victorian representative of the Australian Youth Ambassadors for Development program. He is also the national recipient of the Anti-Poverty Award, from ConnectionsUnitingCare, as part of Anti-Poverty week 2010.

His advocacy also has a strong local component.  He also assists with a number of initiatives in the eastern region of Melbourne seeking to support the endeavours of young Australians though arts, education and other more contemporary methods.

He is clearly yet another Deakin researcher working to make a difference.

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