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Australian family living in a slum in India

Mark and Tom Deanley Source: Faisal Fareed

There are many rags to riches stories, but not many could muster the courage to shun modern materialism and devote their life to helping the marginalised in society.

Australian citizen Mark Delaney is a lawyer by profession who left Australia and settled in India to work for society.

Mark says he believes that there were two ways for him to lead life. "One which had all the luxuries while the other one had challenges for reforming the society," says Mark who, along with his wife Cathy, arrived in Delhi nearly two decades ago.

The couple is now based at Lucknow in India and their work involves helping the marginalised sections of the society.

They have two children, Tom and Oscar, who also share their parent’s vision. The family is now well known in the locality.

Living in a small room with a small balcony serving as kitchen, the family has shown the way of surviving on minimal necessities - two mattresses, a box, a few books are their only possession.

Besides working for the poor, the family has opted to live in a slum type dwelling. Tom, along with his father has co-authored a book, “Low Carbon And Loving It”, on the increased use of materialism and the environment. 

Tom believes that in Australia the carbon emission per person is nearly 23 tonnes while in India it is hardly 2 tonnes.

"And people here in India are going to suffer more because of the materialistic behaviour of others. They do not consume much but they would be paying the enormous costs," says Tom who is planning to live alone in Lucknow after his family leaves in a year or two.

The family, now a permanent feature of the city of Nawabs-Lucknow has set an example for others to follow.

They say there are issues such as “water is to be collected in a bucket, the power supply is erratic, drains are overflowing, the place is crowded”, but they say they have borne it for the good of society.

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