From the Editor's Desk:The International Sewa Baithak which is going to be held in Bangalore from 28thDecember 2007 to 1stJanuary 2008 would be taking stock of the present Sewaactivity in various countries and the expansion of the activity in the next5years. Bharatiya Diaspora has immense potential apart from rich traditionwhich can work to the advantage of the Diaspora.Sewa has the capability to be an effective catalyst for bringing various sectionsof the society together. Though the larger goal is serving whole of humanity,the job on hand would be to serve the weaker sections of the Diaspora andIndian interest.Hopefully this meeting would bring in new ideas of strengthening the Sewanetwork and effectively work for the welfare of the society
ALL-ROUND DEVELOPMENT OF VILLAGES -THE NEED OF THE HOUR:SHRI K.S. SUDARSHAN
Addressing a gathering of activists engaged in rural development atKeshavpuramin Uttaranchal on October 23, P.P. Sarsanghchalak Shri K. S. Sudarshan said, “Developing of anideal village through better utilization of available resources, new experiments in agriculture, cooperation, sense of duty to the work, health & hygiene and value-based education are the utmost need of the hour”. He visited some villages in the region where developmental activity has been taken up by RSS. Shri Surendra Singh Chauhan, member of the RSS national executive, who has done very remarkable work in rural development in Madhya Pradesh, explained various concepts of rural development. He said the policies of development should be prepared on the basis of regions and not at the national level as the problems differ from region to region, and from even village to village. Planning & implementation of schemes at village level would certainly produce better results, he said. Elaborating on the rural development activity being done by activists across the country he said there are 661 villages in the country, which have been picked up developmental activity and there are 136 villages where the development work just started. Elaborating on the rehabilitation work done by Uttaranchal Daivi Apada Peerit Sahayata Samiti after the severe earthquake that hit Uttaranchal on October 20, 1991, Shri PremBarakoti, Vice President of the Samiti said, “The Samiti has constructed 427 earthquake resistant houses in 10 villages and renovated14 temples. A total of Rs. 3 crore have been spent on the rehabilitation work. The Samiti also helped the victims after natural disasters of Kedarghati in 1998, landslide of Malpa and earthquake of Chamoli in 1991. He said the Samiti is also undertaking construction works in 60 border villages of the state. At present, the Samiti runs 49 Ekal Vidyalayas, 27 Saraswati Shishu Mandirs, 5 Saraswati VidyaMandirs and 3 hostels. Besides this, the Samiti is engaged in training for cow conservation and related benefits, developing cottage industries and organic farming, is also being imparted to the villagers.
SEWA INTERNATIONAL SUPPORTS LOCAL CHARITIES IN UK
On November 7, 2007, the leading British charity Sewa International pledged £35,000 to Macmillan Cancer Support and Refuge. Thirty-five volunteers participated in a charityskydive to raise funds for these two causes. Shri Arup Ganguly spokesman for the ‘SewaSkydive’ said, “We recognized that by developing a volunteer network, we would be in a farstronger position and be able to make a meaningful contribution to the quality of lives ofthose who are less fortunate. The mobilization of funds through the Sewa Volunteersnetwork serves to emphasize that a charitable organization, dependent wholly on volunteerscan contribute in a significant manner. We have many opportunities and would welcomeothers to join hands with us”. He added, “By supporting Refuge we want to send a clearmessage that domestic violence is unacceptable. This money will help Refuge to reach out tothe women who are living with domestic violence or the fear of violence and enable them toaccess help. This is an incredible important area to support and it is gratifying to know thatthis money raised by Sewa International will help in saving lives”. On Macmillan CancerSupport, he said: “Sewa International’s contribution towards the provision of a specialistpharmacist in North-West London will ensure that Chemotherapy drugs are available whencancer sufferers need them and that those provided are the most up to date and effective.Moreover, they will enable patients to have high quality information about their medicationand any side effects they might experience.” Sandra Horley, OBE, chief executive of‘Refuge’ said: “Domestic violence is a serious crime that destroys lives. One woman in fourexperiences domestic violence at some point in her life and two women are killed everyweek in England and Wales. Sewa International’s amazing physical and fund-raising effortswill help support Refuge’s life-saving and life-changing work”. Shri Ciaram Devane, CEO,of Macmillan Cancer Support, who was also present on the occasion, praised SewaInternational’s resolve.
SEWADHAM VIDYA MANDIR, DELHI CELEBRATES ANNUAL DAY
Sewadham Vidya Mandir, a pioneer project of Sewa Bharti, Delhi is imparting free education to children of the deprived section of the society, with a residential facility. 324 boys from 23 states of India are being imparted value based quality education presently. Sewa Dham celebrated its annual day on the 18th of November 2007, which was attended by over 1000 people from all walks of life. The primary objective was to arouse awareness and interest about various developments of the school to the already existing donors as well as to the prospective donors. Dr. Vinod Prakash, Chairman IDRF, also attended the annual function along with his wife Smt. Sarala Prakash. They were happy to see the cultural program performed by the students of the school and were very happy to know of the results obtained by the students in CBSE Board examinations of 10thand 12thstandard. Mrs. Sarla Prakash announced to startup a scholarship namely “Rakesh Popli Scholarship” for the best meritorious student of the year who will begiven Rs. 11,000. The annual program was blessed by the presence of Param Pujya Sadaguru Dev Swami Gopalsharandevacharyaji. He was very happy to see the science exhibition organized by the students every year and assured of his further support as and when needed for smooth functioning of the school, which he said can be termed as a modern day Gurukul. Many more industrialists and other eminent personalities also joined hand in adopting students of the school to meet their yearly expenses and assured of their support for more in future too.
CELEBRATING DIWALI WITH CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY (CSR)
IT solutions company Cognizant celebrated Diwali the festival of lights-with a ‘DiwaliMela’ within its premises allowing charitable organizations to set shops inside thecompany’s Hinjewadi camps, Pune, Maharashtra. The products on sale were greeting cards,diyas, lanterns, designer candles and eye-catching handicrafts. According to DebashisChatterjee, senior Vice-President and head of cognizant’s Pune operations, the Mela (fair)provided cognizant associates an opportunity to contribute to noble and humanitarian causeas part of their festive shopping. Cummins India Limited, a subsidiary of Cummins Inc.,USA put up an exhibition-cum-sale of products made by an NGO. The company hosted anexhibition of products made by children from Akanksha Foundation. The NGO works towards impacting the lives of the underprivileged children, enabling them to maximize theirpotential and change their lives.Geometric Software celebrated Diwali with the underprivileged children as part of theirinitiative ‘Udaan’ at its Hinjewadi campus, Pune. Udaan is Geometric’s voluntary employeeinitiative towards underprivileged children and youth for giving them better access toeducation and career improvement opportunities. The event provided the children a platformto showcase their talent and gain recognition, while brining them together as a family tocelebrate the festival of lights.IT company KPIT Cummins organised a three day ‘Sewa fair’ in collaboration with SevaSahyog at their Hinjewadi facility. The fair showcased handicraft items created byunderprivileged rural women. The fair was part of KPIT Cummins’ very active “Let us give”CSR initiative. Seva Sahyog is an open platform of activists from IT industries forsupporting various voluntary organization involved in education, women empowerment,health, rural development and so on.
DEEPAVALI JOY SHARED WITH ALL COMMUNITIES
Hindu Organizations around greater Sacraments celebrated Diwali in a unique and meaningful way along with loaves and fishes at Sacramento. For the first time in the US, Hindu community of Sacramento got together to celebrate Diwali along with local non-Hindu community. Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS) US along with ten Hindu Organisations organised Annapoorna – the traditional lungar program. In Hindu culture serving food to others is considered the highest service. Hindus believe that feeding others is not just charity, but obligation. After an overwhelming response from the local Hindu community, many feel that they could do it more often and may be an annual event. HSS volunteers undertake many such service projects in the local community. This new project was unique as it was done collectively involving all the local Hindu organizations.The organizations that participated in the programme were – Art of living, Brahma Kumaries Spiritual University, Divya Jyoti Jagriti Sansthan, Gayatri Parivar, Hindu American Foundation, Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh, Sewa International, Siddhi VinayakaTemple, Sri Laxmi Narayan Mandir, Shri Shirdi Sai Group and Vedanta Society of Sacramento.
SEWA REACHES OUT TO IMMIGRATION DETENTION CENTER
Sewa volunteers visited Villawood Immigration Detention Center on Friday, 9th of November, to share Deepawali with the residents. Sweets, savories consists ofJilebi, badhusa, Mysorepaak, Laddu, Samosa and namkeen were distributed there. The resident’s joy of being able to celebrate an important festival was immense and they welcomed volunteers warmly and gracefully. People from diverse backgrounds notably from Bharat, Sri Lanka, Fiji, Bangladesh and Pakistan came forward to celebrate and share the occasion with SEWA volunteers. Though this was small gesture from SEWA, the difference it made to the day of the individuals was astounding. It has given them hope, joy and confidence and they wishedthat further visits from SEWA would be more frequent. SEWA is hoping to continue toprovide such support. It would be possible if there are more volunteers willing to contributetheir time once in a few months.
BAL SANSKAR KENDRA BY VHP INPORT BLAIR
The Dharma Prasar Vibhag of Vishwa HinduParishad (V.H.P.) has started a Bal SanskarKendra at Port Blair in the Andamans foreconomically and socially deprived children.Children from class one to fifth come to theKendra for two hours daily. Apart fromnarrating the stories of the national heroes,freedom fighters, and the glorious history ofthe country the children are also taught yoga.Health checkup of the children is alsoconducted once in three months. The sanskar kendra has become a bridge of developingsocial harmony and a sense of national unity among these people. The Bharatiya JansevaSansthan is running the Kendra with the help of the local people. Till date, 25 such kendrasare being run in the whole Andmans and 15 kendras in the Port Blair town itself.
PRANT SEWA PRAMUKH BAITHAK CONCLUDED IN DELHI
A three-day baithakof prant sewa pramukhs, which started from December 1, 2007 concluded on December 3,2007 in Delhi. All the representatives from all over the country participated in thisprogramme. They assessed the currently run service activities and discussed about themodules to make the activities effective. Several senior functionaries of the R.S.S. includingMan. Premchand Goyal ji, Akhil Bharatiya Sewa Pramukh addressed the gathering. Anexhibition was also organised on this occasion. Many representatives visited the Sewaprojects in Delhi run by Sewa Bharati. They observed the service-activities and interactedwith the functionaries and beneficiaries of the projects.
Where should you go to seek God? Are not all the poor, the miserable, theweak, gods? Why not worship them first?Look upon every man, woman and everyone as God. You cannot help anyone;you can only serve. Serve the children of the Lord; serve the Lord himselfif you have the privilege
– Swami Vivekananda