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Fundraising in Australia for a mobility aids project in India

This project describes an example of international cooperation within the TOS when a group in Australia was inspired to raise funds for a mobility aids project organised by the TOS group in the Assam and Arunachal Region of India. “We find the dedication, compassion and organisational ability of this Indian TOS group inspiring,” writes Geoff Harrod, the President of the Brisbane TOS. “We feel that it is a privilege to be able to contribute ongoing financial support for its efforts to provide mobility aids to those in need.” 

The TOS group in Brisbane, Australia, held its second Art Show in September 2014. The first Art Show, two years ago, had been a great success and this one proved to be also. One of their members, Karen Cipresi, is an artist and has lots of contacts in the artist community, so it was wonderful to have her to organise the promotion of the event and look after dealing with the exhibitors professionally, and to supervise hanging the pictures. 36 artists exhibited paintings and other artworks. The exhibition’s name, Mobility for Life, reflected the project to which the proceeds were to go.

The exhibition was run on the two days of the weekend, in the Brisbane Theosophical Society’s heritage building. The basement was also used for various ‘pop-up’ shops and a garden café. One of the TS/TOS members, Krystyna Soler, did a busy trade in drawing portraits of people. A well-known artist, Regina Dolan, gave a demonstration of her oil painting technique. Another illustrated talk was given on the second day by Sophie Munns about her artist-in-residence project at various botanical gardens, Homage to the Seed.


The entrance hallway

Krystyna doing a portrait

The National Treasurer of the TOS in Australia, Carolyn Harrod, opened the exhibition with an on-screen presentation about the project for which all the proceeds would be used – a scheme run by the TOS in the Assam and Arunachal regions of Northern India to provide mobility aids for crippled or injured people who would not be able to afford them. She told several heart-warming stories of how this has enabled people to get about and earn much-needed income for their families as well as enhancing their confidence and independence. There was considerable interest in the project and TOS activities generally, which probably contributed to people’s willingness to buy paintings and other art work, and to the evident keenness of artists to exhibit.

Some of the mobility aids organised by the TOS in the Assam and Arunachal regions of India that the Art Exhibition supported. Note especially the hand-pedalled tricycles.

In the end, the art exhibition brought in nearly AUD$3,500, after deducting the artists’ share of the sales of their works. The shop sales and refreshments were very profitable and Krystyna donated her time and expertise for portrait painting. With the low cost of making the various mobility aids in India – hand-operated tricycles, wheelchairs and so on – that money will provide a great many aids to needy people.


Two of the alcoves with displays of cards and small items. The garden is visible beyond.


President, Geoff Harrod at the sales table,
with Lilly, who guards the cash box.

The downstairs café and shops


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