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BAWAZ

Brief History & Milestone

 

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Brief History

In early 2012 a few enterprising people got together with an idea - a thought - a dream to have their very own Zoroastrian place of worship ! A place we could call our own, somewhere we could go and pray and offer sukar as individuals and a community! This place would be a community hall, a meeting venue, a prayer hall, with a little library & kitchen area, somewhere we could hold Sunday prayer classes or a games night – a Zoroastrian Dar-E-Mehre!

After much discussion with the local Zoroastrian people from every aspect - the senior citizens through to the youth,  this project /dream/idea took off! It was decided that the best way to bring this vision into fusion was to create a separate association, who’s main purpose / ultimate goal would be to spearhead activities to convert the dream of so many of the Perth Zoroastrians into a reality.

At the time the key instrumental persons involved with this project were Mr Kersi Pedder, Mr Firoz Pestonji  and Mr Dinyaar Marfatia-JP (with the support of their wives and families) who took up the mantle and decided to form this new association. Everything was to be done transparently with all the formalities with starting a not for profit association in Australia being carried out. Right from the early stages the founders wanted to attract highly qualified and creative business minded people as well as professionals into the association and its committee. It was also decide that the associations would work on a project basis where a group or individuals would come together to work on through different projects all with the association goals/vision/mission in mind within a certain time frame and specifications.

Milestones

Mr Dinyaar Marfatia took charge of all the legal requirements involved with the Australian registration of the association including the ‘no objection’ certification, obtaining approval from the Commissioner of Charities as well as various other requirement that need to be completed for the local government to form the association.

The constitution drafting work was initiated by all three of the founders but it was finalised by Dinyaar & Firoz. A special meeting was also arranged where almost every point in the constitution was discussed in depth with other interested members of the community. After in-depth discussions with various individuals and groups including non-Zoroastrian constitution experts the various points were finalised and the constitutions was sent to the concerned Government department for approval and the registration was completed.

So in October of the same year (2012) after much hard work and perseverance the association’s name registration and all requisite Government formalities were completed and all legal documentation required were filed and BAWAZ was officially born! As a thanks giving a Jashan was organised at Dinyar’ s home with over 60 people attending and joining in for dinner later.

Now the time had come to forge full steam ahead! Bank accounts for the daily running of BAWAZ was set up as well as a special separate account to collect funds for the Dar e Meher were opened with ANZ bank. It was great to note that a substantial amount of initial donations were also received from local Zoroastrains.

At this stage, elections were held for filling the BAWAZ committee positions as was also a legal pre-requisite.

The first committee consisted of the following people being elected :
President - Firoz Pestonji,
Vice President - Kersi Pedder,
Treasurer –Shayane Sherdiwala
Secretary - Farzana Khambatta,
Committee member - Ervad Aspi Madan, and
Committee member - Hoshang Deboo

From the very beginning it was decided that the original founders would become “Trustees” who were non-replaceable and would be there to lead and guide the association for major matters and decisions. Daily operations and the running of various projects would be undertaken by committees of elected or selected personel who would form project teams to carry out projects on ad hoc basis from start to finish. With this in mind various small & long term  projects were launched and successfully completed and teams came together when required and dissolved at the completion of tasks.

Kersi was involved with the drive for the Dar E Meher with some preliminary plans were created, land prices scoped out and discussions were held with various parties as well as initiating meetings with councillors. Dinyaar also looked into the council requirements involved. The project team of Ervad Aspi Madan & Hoshang Deboo was also formed at this time for overseeing the Dar e meher project. The local Councillor Shayaz Irani as well as others assisted with ideas and moral support during this time.

At the same time Firoz was involved in the task of creating awareness of BAWAZ in the international & local zones especially with other Zoroastrian groups in the world wide diaspora. He was interviewed for The Parsiana and this article also helped to create a lot of interest and awareness from The Parsiana readers around world. In February 2013, Firoz was also invited to The Federation of Zoroastrian Anjumans of India meeting in Mumbai and he informed them of the activities, vision, mission and aim of BAWAZ. At this time an invitation to attend the next Anjuman meeting in Ahmedabad was also received from the Federation’s President. Mrs Mahrukh Pestonji (Firoz’s wife)  also present donated a sum of money to assist the Zoroastrian Youth Camp for Bordi in November 2013.

Apart from the committee members a lot of work and support was received from the Parsi population of Perth.  Our grateful thanks to all the people who were involved in the background and assisted BAWAZ in the initial stages. Their support is very much appreciated and we would like to mention here : Yasmin & Kayomarz Mehervanjee, Mahrukh Pestonji, Meroo Marfatia, Zerophie Deboo, Tanaz Ghadialli, Behroze Pedder and Rustom Sherdiwalla.

In December 2013 The World Zoroastrian Congress was held at Mumbai, India and  Firoz was invited to represent and speak about the Australian & New Zealand diaspora on a panel discussion headed by Mr Dorab Mistry (OBE  of the UK) on day 2 of the 4 day Congress. The information he provided created a great interest of all things Australian amongst the listeners and made a very good impression on the delegates. Mr Rohinton Rivetna ‘a leading light of Worldwide Zoroastrians’ requested him to also join in the Global Zoroastrian Working Group (GWG) and attend a meeting  that this group was having after the congress, but due to pre booked flights Firoz sadly could not attend but he has been involved with the group ever since.

Regretfully in January 2014  Kersi resigned from his position of BAWAZ Trustee due to health and personal reasons. In a meeting subsequently it was decided that the remaining 2 trustees would continue the good work started and no new trustee would be required at this stage. Also around this time new team members joined & enriched the team and Miss Tanaz Ghadiali, Darayes & Dinaz Divecha all were involved and started to take more leading roles within the committee.

Current Committee for 2015 comprises of following people.

Trustee & President - Firoz K Pestonji,
Trustee & Vice President - Dinyar Marfatia
Secretary - Farzana Khambatta
Treasurer - Darayes Divecha
Events co-ordinator – Tanaz Ghadiali
Dare e Meher Project - Ervad Aspi Madan
Dare e Meher Project - Hoshang Deboo

In December 2014 Mahrukh & Firoz Pestonji travelled to Dubai to attend the magnificently organised Dubai Enterprises programme, under leadership of Mrs Meher Bhesania & her wonderful team. The event had top class professionals of various fields discussing and enlightening the delegates. Before the event Mahrukh & Firoz were also invited to attend the Global working group meeting where as requested they also offered a presentation on Perth’s capabilities to present a successive Congress after the one to be held in Singapore in December 2017. The event was a great success for BAWAZ with contacts made with other members and peers of the Zoroastrian community, from whom we learnt so much in a short period of time in Dubai.

Recently in mid June 2015, with the withdrawal of Singapore from hosting of The World Zoroastrian congress in 2017, BAWAZ has been given the opportunity to hold this monumental event in Perth in 2018 by the GWG.  Lots of discussions are being held within the team and with concerned peers overseas also as BAWAZ hopeful to prsent a formal bid for this by the end of the year. With this intent and to be able to facilitate this event better we have invited the following members into our team, all of them are successful  professionals and very experienced  in their fields and their expertise will be a great asset to us at BAWAZ;
Farzana & Zubin Bhada (Travel Agent & Marine Engineer)
Homiyaar Randeria (Senior Banker & Finance Advisor)

Shahpoor Kalantary (Chartered Civil Engineer - Major Projects Manager India & Perth).