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Devpaal Singh

Meet Devpaal Singh, engineer, law student and youth advisory board member of Multicultural NSW. This is his story.

  1. Tell me, what got you started/motivated to make a difference?

I don’t think it's about making a difference, I think it’s about helping others around you that need it. I’ve always been driven towards community work, and helping those around me succeed – in whatever shape that takes. That's something I learnt from my religion Sikhism – which teaches us to help those less fortunate then ourselves; and something my parents taught me the importance of.

There’s a real discomfort I have with the space between how things should be and how they are and that motivates me to help where I can.

For many years I have been volunteering with Sikh Youth Australia and currently serve as the NSW State Lead. We run events and initiatives across Australia and in January will be hosting our 20th Summer Camp – which looks like it'll be the best one yet!

 

  1. What did you find most difficult about challenging the status quo?

Saying you’re challenging the status quo is cool, actually challenging it is not. I think people underplay the downsides of doing things differently. People will not like what you're doing, you’ll feel compelled to give up and it’ll hurt. There’s no rule book, no magic formula. So you’re looking for guidance, and that comes from integrity, strength of character and sheer will power to make a difference.

 

  1. What would you say personally has been your biggest success so far?

In 2014, a small group of us at Sydney University decided to start a Sikh society. Our goal was to help Sikhs connect with other Sikhs, as well as people from other faiths and to together contribute positively towards the wider Sydney University community. We had a lot of fun and ended up winning a series of awards through the year – including Best Club.

 

  1. What is next for you?

I’m really excited to start my second term as an Advisory Board Member at Multicultural NSW and am very energized by the direction the organization is going.

Beyond that, I really don’t know. And I think that’s exciting. I’m ready for a big new project and something I can sink my teeth into.

 

  1. Tell me a bit about your family? Where did you grow up?

I’m an Australian Sikh with parents and grandparents from Malaysia and ancestry in India. I’ve always lived in Sydney – who wouldn’t want to? I’ve also got 2 younger siblings.

 

  1. What advice would you give to people who feel like they can’t do what you do?

Just start. Don’t make excuses. Don’t invent things to occupy your time with that aren’t leading towards your goals. You need to have a laser-eye focus and really know what you want. Then you’ve got to believe and work damn hard to make it all happen.

My identity and strength in who I am has been critical in my journey to date.

People should focus on themselves and really take the time to understand their mind and the way it works.

That’s really probably the most important thing young people (and others) can do.