Their heart is in a new home

Neila and Kokesh Sharma took the pledge with their son Lakshya yesterday. Picture: PETER MERKESTEYN

Neila and Kokesh Sharma took the pledge with their son Lakshya yesterday. Picture: PETER MERKESTEYN

AUSTRALIA – more specifically, Wodonga – is home to a diverse group of 13 after a citizenship ceremony yesterday.

Families from Britain, Pakistan, India and South Africa stood tall at the Wodonga Council chambers as they pledged their allegiance to Australia.

Dr Haresh Kumar, who arrived in Australia more than six years ago with his family, spoke of his love for Australia and said citizenship had confirmed their sense of belonging.

Dr Kumar made the pledge with his three children while his wife, Monhi, watched on.

She will join them as citizens in October when she signs on to “Team Australia”.

“It is a big achievement and we have looked forward to it for a long time,” Dr Kumar said.

“When you are a citizen, you are a part of the community.”

Kokesh Sharma and his family, who moved from India more than five years ago, said he viewed it a great honour to able to make the citizenship pledge.

“We are part of this society and want to take responsibility for the country,” he said.

Wodonga mayor Rodney Wangman said the pledge was the final step in the new citizens’ life-changing journey.

“The occasion will be memorable for the rest of their lives,” he said.

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