Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Sewa Sandesh
January 2016


Fifth International Sewa Baithak(ISB) was held from 3rd Jan – 5th Jan 2016 in Indore,MP. 41 Delegates from various countries including Bharat, UK, USA, Kenya, Myanmar, Singapore, Australia and Sri Lanka participated in the meet. Biennial meeting is conducted with the purpose to understand the progress and issues faced by all Sewa International organisations, including Sewa International Bharat(SIB), and ways to grow the Sewa movement into other countries.

Shri Shyam Parande, Global Coordinator of Sewa International, introduced the Adhikaris and other dignitaries present while representatives of Sewa International associate countries introduced themselves.

In his inaugural address, Dr. Shankar Tatvawadi, Patron, Vishwa Vibhag said that we all need to reach to the most downtrodden of the society and work in places where no or little help has reached. Service before Self motto needs to be incorporated firmly in our ethos.
Program Structure & Topics
The whole program was divided into approx 90 minutes sessions throughout 3 days, starting from 4 pm on 3rd Jan till 11 am on 5th Jan. The participants presented their topics via Audio-Videos/Powerpoint Presentations, Written Speeches, Reports etc. Intense discussions were held with participation from all present members resulting in useful insights into the inner workings, issues, challenges faced by all Sewa International members as well as suggested action items to work towards possible solutions.
Following were the major topics that were presented and deliberated upon during the meeting,
  • Overview of Sewa Work being conducted in each represented country.
  • Disaster Management – Past, Present and Future plans and strategies.
  • Meeting minutes for the last SIB meeting in Vrindavan in 2013.
  • Sponsor-a-Child Program – A flagship program promoted by Sewa USA for supporting education for needy kids to be scaled up in coming years and targeting almost 5,000 students/year by 2020.
  • Volunteering – Ways to encourage and promote volunteerism.
  • Sewa Day – Global or Local? Challenges and Way Forward.
  • Discussions on Sewa Logo, Vision, Mission statements.
  • Fund-Raising – Experiences shared by associates and best practices to be followed.
  • Yuva for Sewa – Current state and Future plans.
  • Pioneers and Role Models for Sewa – Sewa Activities done by Indians abroad by Shri Ravi Kumar Iyer.
  • Empowering associate countries with Sewa Concept – Sending sewa karyakartas from India to neighboring countries for providing training to locals there as well as local exposure.
  • Updates on the work done in other countries not represented in the meeting by Shyam Parande.
  • Expectations of associate countries from Sewa International Bharat for more effective engagement.
  • Sewa Yatra – Exposure cum Volunteering Concept to be expanded to all associate countries.
  • Family Services Projects – Assist our brethren abroad with various programs for outreach like SDM (Stop Diabetes Movement), Yoga for Sewa, Visa Assistance etc.
  • Evolution of Sewa International Bharat – Need to provide centralized resources for managing back-office work of various associate countries.
  • Integrated Social Media/Web Strategies – Common website linking all associates maintained by Bharat.
  • Doctors for Sewa – Challenges and Opportunities. Huge interest in Indian Diaspora to do good and contribute to society through volunteering at hospitals/camps in India.
  • Vaanprasthi – Supporting our elders abroad who need support and also willing to help in Sewa Activities.
  • Baudhik by Shri Shyam Parande and Valedictory address by Shri Saumitra Gokhale.
Action Items for Follow-up
 As part of the 3 day intense deliberations, following points came out in open which required further focussed action and need to be updated before the next meeting (proposed to be in 2018),
  • Improvements in Communications –Need to ensure that all our Sewa International donors and karyakartas are getting the updates and the email lists are updated.
  • Disaster Rapid Response Team –Evaluate and propose the feasibility of Disaster Response team. Faster response to Disasters by our AV person, Shri Shashidhar.
  • Sewa Yatra- Need to promote this concept in other countries also. Need to build Online Digital Portal for active engagement, Social Media promotion etc. Need to identify Sewa Projects in Gujarat (Ahmedabad) also for Sewa Yatra due to high number of donors there.
  • Mangal Nidhi- Need to promote Community Celebration like donating for Cataract Operations, Community Marriages, Planting trees etc, for personal events like anniversary, birthday etc.
  • Sewa Call CenterExplore possibility of establishing Sewa Call Center in India for donation calls, donor management and act as back-office.
  • Reports/Proposals/Marketing- Need to evolve an effective strategy for Reporting, Proposal Writing and Marketing for Sewa International for better quality documents for approaching  CSR, Foundations, Corporates, Govt for grants.
  • Websites Support/CiviCRMNeed for better integration among Sewa Websites as well as Donor database management using CiviCRM.
  • Doctors for Seva (DFS)- Easing the process to get the doctors in India for initiatives like Cleft Surgery. Need to formalize process and work with Ministry of Health in India to see how to streamline the permission process which takes few months now.
  • Brand Ambassador- For better promotion of Sewa Events/Campaigns, there is need for a Brand Ambassador to vouch for us.
  • New Sewa International Associations- There is a need for a formalized process to be defined for incorporating new Sewa International associations. This will help get other Sewa associations started.
  • YFS Training- Need to explore ways to find volunteers and empower them to do sewa work effectively.
  • Common funds for Big Projects – Evolve a Mechanism to allow for maintaining a Common Pool of funds designated for supporting Large Sewa projects like Schools, Colleges, Multi-Year Support Projects.
  • Impact Reports – Need to generate more analytical reports with numbers showing the visible impact created by Sewa work. It is required now when approaching corporates for CSR and bigger donors.
  • Empanelment with United Nations(UN)- Sewa should try to get empanelled with UN for Disaster Relief as well as Rehab activities. This will help in our expanding its reach to millions more people and resources which can be put for better use.
  • Sewa Delhi Expenses- With increased work demands for faster outputs, it’s required to increase the staff strength in Delhi. Presently, only Sewa USA supports Delhi office which is insufficient and needs to be supported by other members also. To better serve the needs, 2 more offices are being planned, one each in Mumbai and Hyderabad.

The conference concluded in the morning of 5th Jan, 2016 by inspirational baudhiks and margdarshan by the adhikaris.Valedictory speech was delivered by Shri Saumitra Gokhle, International Coordinator of HSS. He said, “This sewa baithak has been much better than the earlier baithaks and we need to continually progress in making it better for years to come. Sewa International needs to grow in many more countries where Indian-origin people are resident. We should all make efforts towards that end. Bharat, due to its age-old history has the responsibility of leading the world. We already have given “Yoga”, which is now recognized world-over for its effectiveness in leading a healthy spiritually rich life. Now, we should also teach the concept of “Sewa” which is selfless service for humanity. Key thing to understand is that Sewa is not done to provide help to others but to purify our own souls and for our own betterment and in turn make the whole world a better place. Sewa International needs to recognize and grow its Thought Potential, Growth Potential and Creative Potential in order to fulfil its responsibility towards the society. We need to be rooted firmly to our values while conducting our work and also educate the world on the same. There is a need to creatively engage people and design sewa programs which could provide maximum benefit to the downtrodden.” Next Sewa Baithak is tentatively being proposed to be outside India, probably in Sri Lanka in early 2018, and would include Sewa Yatra also.International Sewa Baithak proved to be a great platform for different Sewa International members to collectively learn and contribute towards cumulative growth. The conference concluded on the positive note of building up an effectively serving network of Sewa organizations and activists across the countries, building up required resources and reaching out to newer avenues. 
Under the third phase of rehabilitation of flood victims in Chennai the Sewa Bharati on January 10 distributed livelihood material at Mathur, Manali, one of the worst flood affected areas in Chennai. Prior to distributing the material, a survey was conducted by the volunteers to assess the need of the victims. Material worth Rs 6 lakh was distributed.
In a unique way, cow along with calf were distributed to the locals who requested for the same. Items like printer, scanner, Xerox machine, tailoring tools, electrical tools etc. were also distributed. Items including Iron box, grinder, water tank, tricycle, electrical tools, and chairs for saloon shop, fish net, rickshaw, plastic table, chair etc worth 14 lakh was distributed to nearly 700 flood affected people who lost their essential tools/machines for their job surviving. Senior Pracharak Shri Sethu Madhavan, Chennai Mahanagar Sanghachalak Shri Kalyan Singh, Prant Sewa Pramukh Shri Ramarajasekar, State secretary of Sewa Bharati Shri Rajesh Vivekanandan, etc distributed the  material.
In order to sensitise the people living in cities to help their Vanvasi brethren, Shri Hari Satsangh Samiti Delhi and Shri Hari Vanvasi Raksha Parivar jointly organised a Bhajan Sandhya by noted singer Shri Anup Jalota at Civic Centre in Delhi on January 9. Union Defence Minister Shri Manohar Parrikar and senior Pracharak Shri Shyam Gupt were also present on the occasion. Chief Guest Shri Ramesh Juneja, chairman of the Mankind Pharma, declared to adopt 2,500 Vanvasi villages. Many other people also declared their support.
Shri Manoj Arora, president of Shri Hari Vanvasi Raksha Parivar, apprised the audience of the positive changes surfacing in 223 districts of 23 states through the Ekal Vidyalayas. Shri Shyam Gupt said the soldiers provide external security while the Vanvasis provide social and cultural security. He said the day we have one lakh Ekal Vidyalayas and two lakh Satsang Kendras in the country will be no trouble to the internal security of the country. The satsang has the power to eradicate social inequalities.
In a unique drive, Sewa Bharati Tamil Nadu on January 11, distributed relief material to the transgenders affected in the floods. Shri Kumaraswamy, State vice president, Shri Duraishankar, president and Shri Sunil Ramachandran, General Manager of Mathrubhoomi and Padmini Prakash, world's first transgender news anchor, distributed the material to around 400 people. Hailing the services by Sewa Bharati activists during the flood, Padmini Prakash said the support of transgenders to Sewa Bharati would always be there. Shri Kumaraswamy said the transgenders are worshipped as Arthanareeswarar in our culture. Madhoru-bhagan deity in Tiruchengode resembles the same. Being part of the society and children of Bharat Mata, he appealed to the transgenders to participate more to bring social changes.
Tamil Nadu Governor Shri K Rosaiha felicitated Sewa Bharati for outstanding service during Chennai floods. Shri Duraisankar, president of Tamil Nadu Sewa Bharati, received the Special Achievement Award. Congratulating the awardees the Governor said it is the history of Tamil Nadu people to excel in work. The function was organised by World Tamil Chamber of Commerce at Chinmaya Heritage Centre, Nungambakkam on January 10 to celebrate World Tamil Day. It was a celebration of Tamil art, music and culture of Tamil people across Bharat and world.
Noted social activist of Kolkata and founder of 'Parivar' Shri Vinayak Lohani was selected for 30th Swami Vivekananda Sewa Samman. 'Parivar' is an organisation to import free education. The Samman, which consists of a cheque of Rs one lakh, a citation and memento, will be presented by West Bengal Governor Shri Keshari Nath Tripathi in Kolkata on January 17. Instituted by Shree Burrabazar Kumarsabha Pustakalaya inn 1987, the Samman is presented to individuals or organisations working for betterment of the society according to the ideals of Swami Vivekananda. After completing B.Tech from IIT Kharagpur shri Lohani obtained MBA degree from IIM Kolkata. Instead of opting for corporate career education to the deprived children to ensure their all round development.
The project today has its own building at Barkalikapur under 24 Paragna District, where more than 1,000 students from jharkhand and West Bengal are getting education.
  • Throat cancer patients who have lost their voice can look forward to speaking again, without having to shell out thousands on an artificial voice box. Dr Vishal Rao, Bengaluru-based (Karnataka, Bharat) oncologist, has invented a voice prosthesis priced at just Rs 50. The device weighs just about 25 grams and is seen as a boon for the poor. The prosthesis available in the market costs Rs 20,000 (to be changed once in six months). The device has been aptly named Aum voice prosthesis. "We decided to term it Aum, as that is the sound which first resonated across the universe. Regaining one's voice is so much like a rebirth," said Rao. He took the help of his friend Shashank Mahesh, an industrialist, to deal with the financial aspect of the project. Ramakrishna, 55, a watchman from Peenya suffering from throat cancer, was the first recipient of the prosthesis."He was a beedi addict. He had been smoking for years to keep awake at night. He suffers from throat cancer and we had to remove his voice box. He was given a Western voice prosthesis. Though it had a shelf life of six months, he used it for two years as he couldn't afford a new one. He came to me with tears in his eyes saying that food was leaking through the prosthesis. Our device innovation was just about ready and we offered it to him for Rs 50. He regained his speech and returned with a million dollar smile, telling me that he was doing fine. That was the biggest gift for me," said Dr Rao. At any given point of time, there are over 1.5 lakh cases of tobacco-induced cancer in the state.
  • Smt K.N. Paru in her late 70s had resigned to a life in her gutted one-room hut. For generations of the students of the Cochin University of Science and Technology (Cusat), Kochi (Kerala, Bharat) behind which stood her rundown house, she has been Paru Amma, the granny who unfailingly swept clean the campus. Moved, a few students of the School of Engineering decided to repay by refurbishing her home. And on January 15, they did as the School of Engineering Principal, G. Madhu, gave her key of the renovated house. It all started after Nitin Vasanth, a final year B.Tech student, spotted the septuagenarian sweeping the campus on a rainy evening last November. It took countless visits to local body offices to clear issues related to the 0.90 cent of plot and get the clearance. The students started with pulling down the gutted structure. They took turn to help masons. The truss work was done using welding machines at the mechanical lab. They braved cold December mornings to water the cement structures, painted the house during evenings after the classes and electrified the house. A contractor provided an earthmover for free to clean up the mess in the front yard. Finally, when a tearful Paru Amma boiled the milk to mark the house warming they were all present as if to make up for the absence of her own children.
  • Recognising his honesty, the West Bengal government today honoured a city taxi driver 42-year-old Prodyot Paul with a cash award of Rs 10,000 and urged others to emulate his example. Handing over a cheque (of that amount) at a simple function in his Writers Buildings chamber, state Transport minister Subhas Chakraborty informed that Paul had willingly returned Rs 7 lakh to its rightful owners, who had left the currencies in a bag in his taxi while travelling in the city on March 20, 2006. Paul after dropping a passenger near the Great Eastern Hotel found a bag lying on the floor of his taxi after about an hour. In order to trace the identity of its owner he opened the bag and to his surprise found that it contained several gold ornaments and bundles of cash inside. But without a second thought Paul first rushed back to the hotel and tried to identify the person he had dropped. But despite waiting for nearly an hour when he could not find him, he went to the New Market Police station and deposited the bag to the Officer-in-Charge. Later it was estimated that the cash and jewellery in the bag was valued at more than Rs 7 lakh which was returned to its owner the next day after proper verification, Chakraborty informed. Highly impressed by his act of honesty the New Market police recomended his case to the state transport department for a suitable reward. Paul refused to claim that he had done something extraordinary."I only tried to implement ‘honesty is the best policy’ - which I learnt in my childhood", he emphasied.( Courtesy: Panchaamritam)
For Further Information Please Contact:
49, Deen Dayal Upadhyay Marg,
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Telephone   +91-11-43007650, 23684445

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Manipur Quake: Relief and Rehab Appeal

Sewa International appeals to the benevolent donors to be generous in contributing towards relief to the earthquake-affected people of Manipur, Assam and adjoining states. Your timely contribution in this hour-of-need can help save many lives and provide relief to thousands of our affected brethren.
An earthquake measuring 6.7 magnitude hit northeast India on Jan 4, 2016; near its borders with Myanmar and Bangladesh, killing at least nine people and injuring more than 100 as per the latest news but estimated to run into thousands..
The epicenter of the earthquake was in Tamenglong district and has caused devastation in the district as well as Senapati district. Reports from the ground indicate that more than 780 houses have been partially destroyed while 230 have been totally destroyed in these two districts.
Sewa International has resolved to serve the quake-affected people of Manipur, Assam and other affected North-East states by providing immediate Relief in terms of food/relief supplies. Rehab work is being assessed for repair/construction of damaged houses.
We need your support to spread the word and multiply the impact. The funds raised here will go towards Relief Packages and Rehab work in North-East states.
We really appreciate your help in this hour of need!!
Donation Info 
For Cheque Payment (by Mail) 
You can mail your earthquake relief contributions by Cheque to our office address below,
Sewa International 
49, Deendayal Upadhyaya Marg,
New Delhi -110002, India
Tel:+91 11 43007650, 23517373
For Online Donations

For Direct Bank Transfer (NEFT/RTGS etc)
Account details:
      For Foreign Donations-
      Sewa International
      Account No.-   10080533326
      Jhandewala Extn Branch(Delhi)
       State Bank of India
      Branch Code-             9371
      Swift Code-     SBININBB550 
      IFS Code - SBIN0009371  
  Account details:
        For Local Donations-
        Sewa International 
        Account No.-   10080533304
        Jhandewala Extn Branch(Delhi)
        State Bank of India
        Branch Code  -         9371
        IFS Code - SBIN0009371
NOTE: It is mandatory for every donor to inform his/her identity like name address, contact number & mail id, PAN Number and the cause towards which this is being donated like “North-East Earthquake Relief”. 
Sewa International is registered under FCRA to allow for Foreign Donations.
Sewa International also provides Income Tax exemption under IT Act 80G for domestic donors
Chhinka Village is enroute to Hemkund from Chamoli. 158 families live in Chhinka and the total population is approximately 1300. Due to the devastating floods/landslides of 2013, the entire village including the Vidya Bharati’s school, Shishu Mandir was badly damaged and hence needed reconstruction. Sewa International with support from Sewa UK decided to establish one school building in Chhinka with all kind of modern facilities to provide for education.
Building school atop the Himalayan hill was an uphill task in Chhinka where part of the village is sliding & sinking down. Cost of each brick doubled because of the height. The perseverance of the Sewa Uttarakhand Team is worth appreciation. They toiled hard for building this structure which is now handed over to local Vidya Bharati unit. We also thank the villagers for their whole hearted cooperation.
Shri Harish Budhiya from Sewa UK, Shri Lalit Bihari Goswami, All India Gen. Secretary of Vidya Bharati, Assistant District Magistrate, District Education officer and many other dignitaries attended the inaugural on 5th Dec 2015. This building is sponsored by Sewa International UK, thanking Sewa UK team also. There are two more schools in remote places where schools were damaged due to floods in 2013, we herewith appeal to the benevolent who are interested in supporting education in Uttarakhand to come forward for the construction of the schools.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Sewa Sandesh
December 2015
Sewa International inaugurated its first school in a remote village, Chhinka, in district Chamoli (Uttarakhand) on December 5, 2015. It is a co-ed school with 148 students receiving education till 8th class.
The old school was badly damaged during Uttarakhand floods in 2013 and needed to be re-built. After inspection of the damaged site in 2013-2014, its new construction was sponsored by the benevolent donors of Sewa International UK.
The occasion was graced by Harish Bhudia, Executive Director, Sewa UK, and Lalit Goswami, All India General Secretary, Vidya Bharati, along with many other dignitaries including ADM (Chamoli), District Education Officer etc., who all were full of praise and gratitude for the noble effort. About 300 people attended the function.
The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh has come forward to find out ground level relief measures for drought hit people in Maharashtra. In association with some organizations which work in the field of water conservation RSS plans to build barrages as well as widening, deepening and rejuvenation of rivers in 12 districts of Maharashtra. Briefing media on steps taken to give relief for drought hit people in Maharashtra, RSS Western Region Sewa Pramukh Dr. Upendra Kulkarni told that with an estimated amount of Rs 7 crore RSS along with 23 different NGO's are about to launch relief programmes for drought affected areas & people in various districts of state.
According to the RSS Maharashtra Unit meeting which held earlier this month, the state is facing water scarcity as the monsoon this year was below 50 percent due to which the crops in Vidarbha, Marathwada and Western Maharashtra are damaged on large scale. The estimated amount for relief work would be collected from corporate houses based on CSR method and individual philanthropic donors.
On the occasion of Diwali,  Sewa USA delivered 150 hand-knit scarves and baby blankets to Chicago-based women's shelters. Sixty people from 15 states participated in the drive by knitting and mailing in their handmade items. Participants included knitting novices as well as experts and ranged from the ages of 10 to 75. In some families, mothers and grandmothers used this project as an opportunity to teach their children the art of knitting and crochet.
The scarves and blankets were delivered to Chicago's South Suburban Family Shelter (SSFS) and Connections for Abused Women and their Children (CAWC). These organizations serve victims of domestic violence by providing counseling, legal services, and emergency shelter.
"These women have been through so much suffering, and our aim is to bring warmth to their lives - both literally and figuratively," said Aparna Soni, coordinator of Knit for Sewa.
"Diwali is a time of year when we try to bring the light of love and service into our own lives, as well as the lives of others," said Sreevidya Radhakrishna, coordinator of Knit for Sewa.
Recent heavy rains lashed Chennai city throwing normal life out of gear. The city saw severe water logging and people wading through knee deep water. RSS swayamsevaks in their respective areas carried out the relief activities. In Villiwakkam, Annai Satya Nagar, food packets were distributed to the victims. The swayamsevaks carried out the relief activity at MKB Nagar Vyasarpadi, North Chennai. They cleared the street lamp post which had fallen down and blocked the main road, thus helping in clearing the traffic. The swayamsevaks prepared and distributed food to around 400 people in Arundathi Nagar, Mettupalayam, Perambur Bhag.
Bharatiya Shiksha Samiti J&K organised 27th State sports Meet Athletics 2015 at Zoravar Singh Sports Stadium Reasi. About 120 athletes from 5 zones comprising 16 schools of Bharatiya Shiksha Samiti namely Kishtwar, Bhaderwah, Doda, Ramban, Udhampur, Kathua, Basholi, Samba & Jammu participated in the event. The prize distribution function was presided over by Shri Ramlal Sharma, working president of Bharatiya Shiksha Samiti J&K. The chief guest on the occasion was Shri Hari Krishan Nazar, SP Deputy commandant IRP-1 J&K Police. Jammu zone won the overall championship by securing 162 points, Udhampur remained 2nd with 106 points and Doda at 3rd place with 93 points. The best athlete was Sonia Verma from BVM Hira Nagar who won the gold medal.
Shri Siddhinath Singh, Bihar Kshetra Sanghachalak of RSS and an engineer by education, is the new national president of Rashtriya Sewa Bharati. He replaced Shri Suryaprakash Tonk, who completed his term as president. Shri Tonk will continue to devote his time for Rashtriya Sewa Bharati as a Trustee. The election to new office bearers took place in Kanyakumari on November 30. All senior office bearers were present at the meeting. Apart from it, Shri Yashpal Gupta was appointed new Treasurer. He replaced Shri KL Mallya whose term also ended. Shri Yashpal Gupta is Sah Zilla Sanghachalak of RSS in East Delhi. Shri KL Mallya will also continue to devote his time for Rashtriya Sewa Bharati as a Trustee.   
A Gau Sevak Milan was organised in Chennai to highlight and realise the usefulness of indigenous breeds of cow for organic farming and health issues. Addressing the gathering RSS Akhil Bharatiya Gau Seva Pramukh Shri Shankarlal said protection of the cow is must for economic, spiritual and physical well being. Prant Pramukh of Kisan Sangh Shri Gopi and Gau Seva Pramuk of Uttar Tamil Nadu Shri Kalyan Singh were also present.
Stressing the uniqueness of native regional breeds, to name a few, Gir of Gujarat, Sahiwal of Haryana, Red Sindi of Punjab, Rathi of Rajasthan, Ongole of Andhra Pradesh, Kandhari of Maharasthra, Nimari and Malvi of Madhya Pradesh, Amritmahal and Kallihar of Karnataka, Kangeyam, Umblacherry and Baraguru of Tamil Nadu and Kasargod, Vechur breeds from Kerala, etc. they are natural habitat of the vernacular eco-system adapted to the respective areas, weather and climate. The indigenous regional breed, for example, the Rajasthani breed can survive extreme cold of (minus) -8 degrees up to a sunny day of +49 degrees without any man-made support systems.
“Today we are left with only 37 indigenous breeds wherein once we had 110 unique breeds. We had about 48 crore of cow population before Independence but today only around 6 crore indigenous breeds of cows are left. There are also references in Quran and Bible scripture which speak the importance of the cow”, he cited. 
 “Learning is a process that takes place in a school as well as at home. If children get an opportunity to learn in their own mother tongue, it helps them develop better understanding,” said RSS Sarsanghachalak Shri Mohan Bhagwat while speaking at the silver jubilee function of Saraswati Shishu Sansthan in Raipur on November 24. More than 3,000 students, drawn from various schools, demonstrated their yoga skills during the function held at city's Outdoor Stadium.
He said Bharatiyas should have knowledge of ‘Rashtra Bhasha’ as it keeps the nation united. “Hindi is a language that keeps nation united. Everyone should have knowledge of Hindi,” he said adding that it is also necessary to learn other foreign languages as well in order to keep Bharat ahead in the global arena. "Education is not just for earning a livelihood. Education not only makes a person self-reliant but also entrust a responsibility on the person to work for the society", he added.
The Sarsanghachalak expressed satisfaction that the students produced by Saraswati Shishu Mandirs have proved to be successful in developing the generation which is committed to the nation. “Apart from urban areas, there are schools in rural and Vanvasi areas imparting quality education. But this work should not stop here. The Vidya Bharati should ensure its contribution in social development with a bigger goal,” he said.
It is to be noted that today over 12,000 schools are being run by Saraswati Shiksha Sansthan in Chhattisgarh alone. Presiding over the function Shri Chhagan Mundra, chairman of Chhattisgarh Financial Development Corporation, said Saraswati Shishu Mandirs have been successful in playing a very big role in national development. In the age of burgeoning cost education the Saraswati Shishu Mandirs are imparting the best education, he said. Some senior workers of the Vidya Bharati were also felicitated on this occasion. 
The ICAR Research in Meghalaya joined hands with the Sewa Bharati Meghalaya to educate the farmers. A joint project—Mera Gaon, Mera Gaurav (My Village, My Pride) was formally launched at Marngar on November 24. It was attended by over 150 farmers from five villages—Nalapara-Joigang, Lalumpam, Purangang, Borgang, Nongagang of Marngar at Nongpo in Ri Bhoi District. A team of scientists from ICAR has adopted these villages for successful dissemination of improved technologies under MGMG scheme in association with the Sewa Bharati.
Prant Seva Pramukh Shri Surendra Talkhedkar highlighted the importance of the programme. Dr AK Mohanty, Principal Scientist, ICAR Research Complex, Umiam spelt out the action plan of ICAR under MGMG programme and emphasised on 3C and 1S (Community participation, Commodity based village development and Custom hiring based development and Sustainability) for improving the agricultural status of the villages. He asked the farmers to go for zero tillage mustard/lentil or field pea cultivation in rice fallow for increasing the oilseed and pulse production in the State. Shri Pravin Sewale and Shri Gaurang Rai from Seva Bharati also spoke on the occasion.
About 3 quintal seeds of different winter vegetable crops like cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, capsicum, garden pea, carrot, radish etc. , oil seed crop like mustard and pulses crops like lentil and field pea were distributed among the farmers and demonstration on the vegetable  nursery raising technology and zero tillage mustard/lentil cultivation were conducted.

'I was not scared. I have seen trains every day of my life. I only wanted to stop the train.'
Siddesh Manjunath, who averted a major rail mishap, speaks to A Ganesh Nadar/
On March 15, the Harihara-Chitradurga passenger train was passing through Avaregere village in Davangere district, Karnataka. The locomotive driver saw a young boy running towards the train on the track waving a red cloth vigorously. The driver applied the brakes and stopped the train.
The boy, Siddesh Manjunath, 10, may have saved the lives of about 850 passengers on that train.
Siddesh told that after breakfast he decided to go to his father's tea shop. To get there he had to cross the railway track.
When he neared the track, he had to wait as there was a train passing by. "I regularly cross the track here and I am familiar with the sound that the train makes on the tracks. I noticed that the train was louder than it normally was."
"After it passed I examined the tracks and saw a big gap on one track. I ran to my father's shop which is nearby."
His father Manjunath along with a few villagers came back with Siddhesh to check the track.
They all agreed that it was a risky gap and were discussing what to do.
While they were talking among themselves they heard the sound of another train approaching. One of the villagers suggested that they should wave a red cloth to try and stop the train.
"It was luck that I was wearing a red T-shirt that day," Siddhesh tells "I immediately took it out and started running towards the train."
"I waved the T-shirt vigorously and held it high while I ran. I was not scared. I have seen trains every day of my life. I only wanted to stop the train."
"My father and the other villagers were running behind me. The locomotive driver saw us and stopped the train," he adds.
"I am very happy with my only son, he has made us proud," says Manjunath who has studied only up to Class 5, but would like his son to get a proper education.
Last week, the Karnataka government presented Siddhesh a bravery award on Children's Day.
  • Living up to her name that means light of the world, Noor Jahan has been spreading light in at least 500 homes in Bairi Dariyaon in Kanpur (Uttar Pradesh, Bharat) and its neighbouring villages for the last 10 years. A mother of seven who became a widow 25 years ago, Noor Jahan came in contact with Shramik Bharti, an NGO teaching people about the power of solar energy. An inspired Noor Jahan proposed to distribute solar lanterns in 50 houses of her village.  “I convinced people to use solar lamps as they were cheaper and safer,” she recalled. The next hurdle was how to charge these lamps. Noor Jahan formed a group that helped her set up a solar power centre equipped with solar panels. She began to rent out the lanterns for Rs 100 per month. Every evening, villagers come to collect a charged lantern and return it in the morning. From the money that she earns, Noor Jehan deposits Rs 1,700 in the centre for maintenance. (When Prime Minister Narendra Modi told the nation about her good work in his radio programme ‘Mann Ki Baat’ on November 29, 2015, it came as a pleasant surprise for 55-year-old Noor Jahan).
  • A group of like-minded loco pilots in Chennai Central railway station (Tamilnadu, Bharat) felt a need for an organisation to help the hundreds of destitute and orphaned people who make railway stations their home — sometimes even without food and proper clothing. D Kulararasan, a loco pilot and one of the founders of the organisation, Good Samaritan Saviours, says,  years back, when he got off the locomotive he saw a weak and malnourished woman  lying on Platform No 1.  She had raging fever and was unable to move. “I contacted an NGO, they came and helped rehabilitate her”. That was before his group was formed. “We contribute Rs 200 every month. We spend the money for rehabilitating the destitute. We help NGOs to take care of the people we rescue,” explains G Rajapandian, one of the members of the organisation. Started in 2004, the group has helped over 125 destitute and orphaned people at railway stations last year. “We began with hardly 10 people, but now we have over 50 loco-pilots in the organisation. People who see a destitute person at railway stations across Chennai and other cities give us a call,” adds G Rajapandian, another member.  “We work 102 hours a fortnight running locomotives, and hardly get time for such things. In case we need to attend to destitute people, whoever gets a two-hour break does what’s needed.  The pilot leaves after two hours and hands over to the next pilot who gets his break,” he says. Many of the rescued people have been reunited with their families.
  • Shri  P Manimaran (29),  a coolie and Class VIII dropout from Thalayampallam village located 10 km from Tiruvannamalai town (Tamilnadu, Bharat), was presented the National Award for Empowerment of Persons with Disability on December 3, 2015 by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.  Manimaran donated his entire cash award of ₹ one lakh for helping leprosy patients who were affected during the recent floods in Cuddalore and Chennai. He said, “Leprosy patients left stranded in knee-deep water were at high risk as maggots infection starts to spread easily and luckily with the help of the cash given by the government we were able to rescue over 350 patients in these two districts”. Manimaran, who started social work since he was 13 by rehabilitating destitute in and around his village, has now reportedly adopted 338 leprosy patients, helped close to 50,000 leprosy patients, helped 1,800 mentally- challenged of which 170 are now in rehabilitation centres across 18 districts of the State. Manimaran is also known for cremating unclaimed bodies. Till date, he claims to have buried 138 unidentified bodies. Interestingly, Manimaran has volunteered to provide educational aids for 500 physically- challenged children and said that he had to sell some of his properties to support this.
  • Shri Dilip Singh Malaviya, a mason by profession and resident of Bhojpura village in Sehore district (Madhya Pradesh, Bharat) has built toilets in 100 houses in his village without demanding wages. Till just three months back all the villagers including Sarpanch Surendra Singh were constrained to defecate in the open. They used to go to a forest a km away for the purpose.  Women particularly were put to great difficulty. No more that unhygienic habit there. Dilip singh’s wife Binda began opposing this habit. At first Dilip did not pay much attention to her grievance. But when she stood firm in her demand, Dilip arranged funds and in 7 days built a toilet. Then he resolved to put up a fight against open defecation in his village. He discussed the issue with the Sarpanch and the village development committee. They too took the matter seriously but they had reservations about getting government funds for it.  Meanwhile, at a meeting of the villagers, Dilip volunteered with his proposal that if the villagers arranged building material for the toilets, he would build them for free. They accepted and he did as he had said.  (Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his 15th ‘man ki baat’ radio broadcast on December 27 made a mention of Dilip Singh’s good work)- Courtesy: Panchaamritam
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Thursday, December 3, 2015


Sewa International appeals to the benevolent donors to be generous to provide relief to the Tamil Nadu Rain affected. Your timely contribution will save many and provide relief to thousands.

The deep depression over the Bay of Bengal has brought heavy and continuous rains and devastated the South Indian State, Tamil Nadu, and many parts of the city of Chennai. The state is battling one of the worst floods in history. Several districts are submerged, leaving a trail of death and destruction. The toll in the devastating floods has reached over 190. More than 2500 villages are badly affected and 60 percent of the capital city Chennai is under water. Thousands of families are still stranded and awaiting help in their homes across the state.
The weather department has warned of heavy rainfall for Tamil Nadu, especially over the northern districts of Chennai, Tiruvallur and Kancheepuram. Sewa International Bharat, hereby, requests and appeals one and all to help and support the victims of the unprecedented rain. It has been termed as the heaviest in over 100 years. By the time this appeal is issued, the numbers are rising.  Need immediate help to support the families.
Sewa International has resolved to serve the people of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.

Our past interventions during recent disasters in Nepal, Jammu & Kashmir, Uttarakhand have impacted thousands of lives! For more information, please visit:

We need your support to spread the word and multiply the impact. The funds raised here will go towards Relief Packages and Rehab work in Tamil Nadu.

Please help us to support the affected families !    
Appealing again to contribute generously.  

Sewa International
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Tel:+91 11 43007650, 23517373

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Monday, November 2, 2015

Sewa Sandesh
October 2015
Sewa Sandesh team
 wishes its readers and well wishers a happy and prosperous Deepawali. 
The Indian-American and Hindu-American communities between September 11 and October 4 celebrated  “Sewa Day” – a day of pure service - with a variety of community service projects at over 20 locations across the USA. Hundreds of volunteers from Sewa International US and partner organizations including professional bodies, associations, linguistic, temple, spiritual, social and cultural organizations came together for a day of community service and worked on a variety of projects to make a difference in their communities. Sewa Day was also celebrated in UK, Canada, Australia, Guyana, and Sri Lanka.
Projects were organized based on three guiding principles: 1. Serve to relieve hardship to humanity, 2. Bring a little joy to the needy, and 3. Increase environmental awareness. Youth and children enthusiastically participated as volunteers too.
At Boston, MA, volunteers cooked dinner for 200 people at the Cor Unum Meal Center - a nonprofit that provides nutritious meals in a safe environment to needy families. In Charlotte, NC, volunteers removed roadside trash and debris as part of the county’s adopt-a-city street program, and also cleaned up the local temple.
Volunteers in Cleveland, OH, Sewa cleaned up the Weiss Field Metro Park. In Columbus, OH, volunteers organized group games and a cultural program for the Bhutanese refugee community, and, distributed school bags and food.
 In Philadelphia, PA, volunteers participated in a food drive and helped manage parking at a local festival. Volunteers in Delaware cleaned their neighborhood temple including shrine upkeep, maintaining the parking lot, washing windows and collecting garbage.
In the Detroit Metro area, MI, volunteers performed weeding, mulching, landscaping, repair, and restoration work at the Bharatiya Temple in Troy. In the DC area, volunteers provided food for residents at Cornerstone Shelter in Reston.
Three Sewa Day events were held in the Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) area, TX. Youth volunteers helped out at Frisco with a community organization devoted to local service projects, with acts of love and socialization with a sisterhood of moms. A free medical camp was organized for the Bhutanese refugee families in Dallas in which three doctors and 16 volunteers participated and over 40 patients benefited. Sewa volunteers also served at Plano City's cultural exchange program showcasing Japanese art and culture. 
In Houston, TX, 50 volunteers picked up trash and debris from Galveston beach as part of the Texas adopt-a-beach initiative. In San Antonio, TX, volunteers vacuumed, cleaned doors and windows, and washed the blinds at their local mandir.
In Denver, CO, volunteers cleaned up the Brighton temple hall, yard, kitchen and deities. Volunteers from Portland, OR and Seattle, WA cleaned up trails and vegetation and participated in upkeep and preservation activity at the Vedanta Society’s spiritual retreat.
In one of three events in Bay Area, CA, over 35 volunteers worked three hours at Ed Levin Park Milpitas to collect more than 25 bags of garbage comprising of soda cans, bottles, litter, plastic cups, and paper cups. Mr. Jose Esteves, the Mayor of Milpitas, inaugurated the event and delivered a motivating opening speech. Volunteers from San Ramon packed and distributed vegetarian food to the homeless at People’s Park in
Berkeley, CA. In Cupertino, volunteers cleaned up the Calabazas Park.
 Volunteers in Irvine, CA cleaned up Corona Beach at Corona Del Mar as part of the statewid
e California Coastal Cleanup Day initiative. In San Diego, CA, 85 volunteers contributed 170 service hours and cleaned over 15,000 pounds of plums and potatoes to be distributed to families facing hunger throughout San Diego County, thus providing the equivalent work of 19 full time staff.

In the morning of September 12 when people in Petlawad under Jhabua District of Madhya Pradesh were still trying to wake-up, a blast rocked a godown near a bus stand. Even before the people could understand something, another blast turned the nearby shops and house into rubbles scattering human bodies and blood everywhere. The swayamsevaks at Shagun Garden in Bamniyan Road had reached the house of a swayamsevak after morning Shakha and they had just picked up the tea cups, they heard a more powerful blast. They ran out and saw a big dust storm. They rushed towards the spot. When the dust cleared they saw scattered dead bodies and also some injured people crying. Within minutes about 50 more swayamsevaks rushed to the spot and joined the rescue operation. Swayamsevaks started sending injured to the hospital on motorcycles of the passers-by. But seeing the number of injured high, they arranged for four wheelers from the colony and sent the injured to hospital in the shortest possible duration. Since some people were buried in the rubbles, they called JCB machines and tractors and started finding out the injured. Some teams were also sent to hospital. They started identifying dead bodies and consoling their family members. Some tried to control the spectators. They also donated blood at the hospital and arranged woods and other required materials for cremation. 12 swayamsevaks were also killed in the blast which claimed 88 lives.
A marvelous oil painting of Nanaji Deshmukh, made by leading painter Sardar RM Singh, was inaugurated by Haryana Governor Shri Kaptan Singh Solanki in Delhi on October 11. The occasion was 99th birth anniversary of Nanaji. A seminar on Integral Humanism and Self Reliance was also organised on the occasion.
Speaking at the seminar Swadeshi ideologue Shri P Murlidhar Rao expressed concern that Bharat, the country blessed with the largest quantity of fertile land in the world, imports foodgrains and pulses for several years. “Bharat is the largest consumer of pulses. If we continue to import them our self-dependency and self-reliance will be endangered. Therefore, it is direly needed that Bharat increases the production of pulses. Similar is the condition with the edible oils. If we have to materialise the thinking of Deendayalji and strengthen our self-reliance we will have to give priority to the small scale industries. We can learn much from the experiments conducted in Chitrakoot by Nanaji,” he said.
Shri Kaptan Singh Solanki stressed the need to utilise the birth centenaries of Deendayalji and Nanaji for educating the masses for self-reliance. He said Integral Humanism is not an alternative thinking; it is an eternal view for the benefit of the humanity. He called Nanaji as a leader, statesman and founder. That is why he is Rashtrarishi. He materialised the views of Deendayalji and showed the world that it is a practical model of development.

Began on October 2nd, the 3-day annual national conference of Vanavasi Kalyan Ashram concluded on 4th October 2015 at Dr. Hedgewar Smarak Samiti Premises, Reshimbag in Nagpur.
 Devendra Fadnavis, Chief Minister of Maharashtra inaugurated the valedictory ceremony.
On October 4th, the concluding session was attended by Union Ministers of State Sudarshan Bhagat and Hansraj Ahir, Akhil Bharatiya Seva Pramukh of RSS Suhasrao Hiremath, President of Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram Jagdeoram Uraon,, Dr. Kanna Madavi,  Industrialist Ashok Goyal, Vice-Presidents of Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram Nilima Patte and Shri. Kripaprasad Singh and Dr. Sharadchandji Salphale.
The guests were welcomed amidst the enthusiastic dance performance by the artists from the tribal community. The programme proceeded with the lamp lighting ceremony  accompanied with a prayer that was sung by the people from Arunachal Pradesh. Vishnukantji, Rastriya Sanyukta Mahamantri, introduced the dignitaries to the audience.
Addressing the gathering Chief Minister, Devendra Fadnavis praised the work being done by Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram, which has been working for 63 years among the tribal people. He said that the millennium development goal is incomplete without the sustainable development and that is perfectly portrayed by the tribal people, where they live in harmony with the nature and conserve it at the same time. When evil powers were busy breaking the society, Vanavasi Kalyan Ashram was in the forefront to reestablish the faith of the tribal people in their own land. He also stated that Maharshtra Govt. has initiated various social upliftment schemes for the Janjati community.
He also remembered the struggle of tribal freedom fighters and remembered the freedom fighter Babarao Shermake, from Chandrapur district of Vidarbha region, who at the young age fought against the British. The Govt. has also started the work of Ashramshala, which will provide the opportunity of education in the region’s ranked one schools to the 25000 children from the Janjati communities. They will also start the work of providing hygienic food to the vanvasi kids under Akshay Patra Yojana, so that the medical parameters in the kids will start to get better. He also stated that, the Govt. has strong committment for the development of tribal community and bringing them  into the mainstream development using skills development projects.
Shri. Sudarshan Bhagat, Union Minister of State said that he being a student of Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram’s Chhatravas felt that it was a proud moment for him to be present amongst the people who are working with a vision for the betterment of the tribal people. The people gathered on the occasion from various parts of the country gave the feeling that a small version of India is seated in front of me. He praised Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram for their contribution in making the Janjati community able and self-sufficient reaching out to them in the interior regions of the country. He applauded the work which is being done through various hostels of Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram for the education of children of tribal community. He even said that we need to get tribal community in the mainstream development as early as possible and Govt. is trying its best to fulfill the requirements. He thanked Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram for giving him an opportunity to interact with the people and share his experiences.
Shri. Suhasrao Hiremath, Akhil Bharatiya Seva Pramukh of RSS, said that the work of preserving the values in the age of fast changing world is being done by the tribal community in a very effective manner. He also said that seeing the work of Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram, the youth of India will be inspired to in the very moment he begins to know them closely. He also made a point to mention that even when the tribal people were treated poorly they still have preserved the mainstream values and the culture in their own unique manner and are still doing so with the same enthusiasm.
Dr. Kanna Madavi, praised the work being done by Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram for the upliftment of the tribal people and even made it a point to mention what experiences he had in his life being a person from Janjati community. He further said that the society must stop unnecessarily sympathizing with the tribal people and treat them as one of them.
Mr. Ashok Goyal, eminent businessman on the occasion said that Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram is doing the work of reinstalling the faith within the tribal community and praised the work that is being done by all the representatives. He stated that the work taken up is an Ishwariya  Karya and whoever thought of the question as to how the future of the Janjati be improved must be bowed before. With such activities of Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram, social fabric will be strengthened.
In this three day conference 1469 males and 288 females representing 236 Akhil Janjati Bharat took active participation. A total of 1757 people across the country along with Andaman Nicobar and Nepal, were present for the event.
The ceremony started with the presidential speech of Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram’s Shri. Jagdeoram Uraon. Ekal Geet was presented by Meeraji and Acchamaji on this occasion. The vote of thanks was given by the National Vice-President of Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram Smt. Nilima Patte and the event concluded with the national song, Vande Mataram.
Landslide in Lillisland estate of central province of Srilanka occurred on September 25 claiming around 7 people dead. Many houses swept away by the forceful soil and rainwater. 20 families were evacuated from their houses. Now they are staying in common small building in a nearby estate. Around 50 other families are living with fear. Athourities alarmed them to move away from that place.
Swayamsevaks in nearby estate rushed to the spot immediately after the landslide. They removed  dead bodies in that heavy rainy time. They also distributed food meterials to the affected people.

MedScapeIndia Award

The Fourth MedScapeIndia Award for Recognizing Excellence in Healthcare has been conferred on Swami Vivekananda Medical Mission on 17.10.2015 in Mumbai in a proud and  grand programme.
The award has been  bestowed on the Mission in the category of Excellence In Rural Health. These awards were instituted in 2007 by Aryan Medical and Educational Trust to honor medical fraternity. The Trust is based in Mumbai,  a non-profit charitable and Registered NGO pledged to make communities across urban and rural India self-dependent. The awards,   are an initiative to recognize the heroism of those who have displayed courage and inspired many in their fight against disease and disability.
The Mission President, Dr. P. Narayanan Nair, Secretary Adv. K.A. Asokan received the award on behalf of the Mission in Mumbai.            
  • Many may not know that 15 lakh Indian soldiers fought in the World War I (1914-1918). Of them , 74,000  sacrificed their lives and 9,200 were honoured with gallantry awards. (Pradhan Mantri,Mann Ki Baat, April 25, 2015).
  • Over 30 lakh families have surrendered their LPG subsidy, and not just the rich. Most are from the lower middle and middle classes like retired teachers, pensioners. This is nothing but proof of that a silent revolution is on. (Pradhan Mantri, Mann Ki Baat, September 20, 2015).
  • Shri Bharat Gupta from Satna, Madhya Pradesh, posted this on mygov.orgwebsite: “Nowadays awareness of cleanliness is high among people, particularly the Railway users, thanks to Swatch Bharat campaign. Passengers look for a dust bin in compartment. If they do not find one, they keep all the waste heaped neatly in a corner. They don’t litter all over.” On reading this I was very happy. (Pradhan Mantri, Mann Ki Baat, October 3, 2014).
  • PM's mann ki baat leads to rise in khadi sales Barely 10 days since Pradhan Mantri Narendra Modi urged people to buy khadi in his 'Mann ki Baat' address on radio, Khadi Gramodyog Bhavan in Connaught Place has witnessed a massive jump in sales. "There has been an 88% increase since the PM spoke about buying khadi on September 20," says Naresh Pal, deputy chief executive officer and manager at the store. The PM's call did strike a chord. "Our sales are booming owing to a younger crowd that wants to experiment, and keeping this in mind we have also brought about a change in our line of products. Earlier 30% of the products in the store were readymade but now this has been increased to 70%," says Pal.
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