Monday, September 8, 2008

Sewa Sandesh 111: 8 September 2008

From the Editor’s Desk
The devastation in North Bihar due to the Koshi river floods has been worst in recent history of floods in Bharat. The river is known as "river of death" due to frequent variation in the course of the river and every rainy season Koshi adopts a new route, playing havoc with the surroundings. However in August 2008, a barrage across the border in Nepal gave away inundating more than 6 districts completely in
Bihar. With a feeble infrastructure and inept governance system that the state is known for, people are suffering despite best efforts of some of the private agencies and help from other governments. Well,
Swayamsevaks of RSS were at the forefront of providing the immediate relief, as usual. We expect the best kind of support to deal with this worst tragedy that demands enormous humanitarian efforts.

'River of Sorrow’ gets back with its Miseries in Bihar
An aerial view of a part of Darbhanga
district in North Bihar
The floods in north-Bihar are back. Each year Bihar faces a cycle of destruction, involuntary displacement, migration and large scale loss of human life, cattle, crops and infrastructure. Even within this recurrent theme of annual misery, the Kosi river breaching its embankment has been catastrophic - a disaster unprecedented in living memory.
The Kosi emanating in the Himalayas is a part of the Ganges, Brahmaputra, Meghna riverine system which carries within its fold a population of 1.3 billion people spread across five countries including China and is home to some of the world's poorest. The Kosi is one of the tributaries of the Ganges and travels through the upper mountainous regions in Nepal before entering the plains of Bihar and merging with the Ganges several hundred Kilometers down stream. Its large deposits of silt and steep gradient force the river to meander along unpredictable paths, thus earning for its the name of 'river of sorrow.'
As many as 30 Lakh people are facing the flood fury as the flood waters spread to new areas taking the number of affected villages to 806.

Sewa International and Sewa Bharati Reach Out to the Flood Victims of Bihar
Organisations like Sewa International, Sewa Bharati, Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram, Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) and other like minded organizations are working together and serving under the auspicious banner of 'Barh Rahat Sahayta Samiti' with its centre at Saharsa and 'Barh Peedit Sahayta Samiti' with its headquarters at Muzafferpur, Bihar.
Sewa International and its partner organizations with a very strong network of over 3500 dedicated volunteers are involved, working round the clock rescuing people, distributing relief materials, providing food and essential health care to the victims. With an advantage of having local volunteers who are well aware of the topography are reaching far flung areas to identify the needy people to be evacuated to safer places.
From 19th of August 2008, Sewa International and its partner organizations have setup 7 Sewa Centres/Camps in seven most affected districts to provide immediate relief, food, shelter and medicines. The seven centres are as follows:- 1. Raghopur : Catering to the needs of flood victims of Raghopur, Pratapgarh and Saraigarh. 2. Vivah Bhawan, Shankar Chowk, Saharsa: Helping the people of Saharsa and Supaul districts. 3. Bihariganj, Madhepura: Serving the people of Madhepura district. 4. Sewa Bharati office, Madhubani Chowk, Purnea: For the people of Purnea district and adjoining districts. 5. Sangh Karyalaya: Shiv Mandir chowk, Katihar: For the people of Katihar. 6. Sangh Karyalaya, Navgachhia: For the people of Bhagalpur district. 7. Shiv Mandir, Forbisganj, Araria: Catering to the victims of Forbisganj and adjoining areas.
Apart from the above mentioned centres, 21 sub-centres have also been set up to reach out to the people quickly and provide them much needed support like packaged food, essential medicines, water, mosquito nets, essential household utensils, clothes, polythene sheets, lanterns candles and match boxes etc.

Ramesh Bhutada Foundation Donates $50,000 for Bihar Flood Relief
Sewa International, USA recognizes $50,000 generous donation of Ramesh Bhutada Foundation. The donation will be used for relief and rehabilitation of people affected by the flood through Patanjali Disaster relief of Swami Ramdev and Sewa International. "We greatly appreciate generous donation of Shri Ramesh Bhutada", said Sewa International's U. S.Chief Gautam Desai. "This will help us accelerate our relief effort. I am sure people affected by the flood will be grateful. But we have to continue to work hard for Bihar flood relief and rehabilitation", adds Desai.


The flood situation in Bihar, India, this year has been the worst in the living memory, leaving thousands dead and rendering millions homeless and destroying crops, cattle and property worth billions. The hapless victims of this catastrophe are in dire need of helping hand and will have to begin their lives from scratch when the flood waters recede. The Kosi river, sometimes called the ‘Sorrow of Bihar’, changed its course after almost two centuries following a breach in an embankment upstream in Nepal, inundating 14 districts of Bihar. Supaul district has been the worst hit followed by Madhepura, Araria and Saharsa. The river Kosi still remains untamed showing no signs of receding water levels. The first four districts were the worst affected where over 2.27 million people in 755 villages were reeling under its impact. Thousands of families have been forced to live under the open sky or on embankments, roads, roof tops and bridges waiting for help.
The most urgent succor include shelter and access to fresh water, food, emergency medical supplies and basic household items. Grass root volunteers of Sewa International and Sewa Bharati are engaged in respective districts in providing immediate relief with the locally raised available resources. Plans for launching rehabilitation of the flood victims will be considered once the rescue and relief work completes.
There is an urgent need to provide relief to the suffering millions. Whilst the Indian Government is making its own efforts in rescuing people, supplying food, medication, clothing and shelter, the magnitude of devastation is such that additional aid and resources are required urgently to help in the relief efforts. Meanwhile the ‘RSS chief Shri K.S. Sudarshan has appealed to the people of India to come forward and help the flood victims of Bihar. He said that the people of India had always showed their kindness and sensitivity to such type of earlier disasters. The swayamsevaks of the RSS are already working round the clock in the relief activity., he informed.
SEWA INTERNATIONAL, Bharat, (a registered organization with FCRA facility) appeals whole heartedly the benevolent to help these unfortunate victims. Your support will help reduce the sufferings of these people in the flood affected state of Bihar, living in the remote areas. Sewa International will help the flood victims to bring back life to normal in the state of Bihar.
For further information please contact:
Telephone: +91-11- 23232850, 23684445
Fax: +91 11 2351 7722
Please send your generous donations to:
49, Deendayal Upadhyay Marg; New Delhi – 110 002

“Youth for Seva”
“Youth for Seva” (YFS) was formed in April 2007 so that youth with an intention to volunteer and with different time commitments find opportunities to serve the community. Projects are run by YFS as well as by other NGOs. YFS also facilitates Corporate Social Responsibility activities in various companies. YFS is an initiative of Hindu Seva Pratishthana, a well-established NGO in Karnataka.
Mission: YFS aims to inspire youth to volunteer, connect them to the grass roots projects, and provide ongoing support and training to the volunteers and the NGOs.
Profile of volunteers: In its first year of operation, YFS attracted over 600 volunteers that constituted around 300 IT professionals, 200 college students, and about 100 people from other backgrounds. Apart from students and young professionals, housewives also serve as an integral part of its volunteer force.

School Kits distribution

Orphanages and Centres for Destitute Children: YFS volunteers mentor children to meet their aspirations. Its volunteers help the children with their tuitions, play games with them, and conduct various cultural activities.
Slums: Spoken English and computer skills are being taught to high school and college students. Also, housewives have taken the initiative to teach the slum children who don't go to schools. There are free health check ups in these slums.
Hospitals: The volunteers aim to provide a light atmosphere for ailing children and their parents. They play games, tell stories, play animated movies, etc. Yoga classes, meditation and bhajans are organised for the parents.
Children having disability: Volunteers visit special schools and homes which provide comprehensive support to children with multiple disabilities. The children here prepare files, candles, and learning aids which are sold in charity sales. Volunteers help set up these charity sales in their respective companies. YFS volunteers also provide reading services for the visually impaired and write exams for them as scribes.

Government schools: Volunteers assist children in government schools with tuitions and cultural activities. YFS also facilitates foundations and corporations to adopt government schools.
School Kit Distribution: A school kit, which includes a school bag, books, pencils, pens, and a geometry kit, is given to children in the slums and government schools in order to help them with their ongoing education. In 2008 YFS school kits have reached over 4000 children.

Sewa Volunteers

Monty Panesar, Cricekt Player, UK

A new volunteering initiative targeting the Indian Diaspora in UK was launched by Sewa International on 5th May 2008, with the support of Monty Panesar.
The scheme, set to be implemented in North West London, seeks to monitor and manage the experience for those interested volunteers within and beyond the Indian community.
It aims to link individuals with local groups and charities whom they can assist and contribute their time, whilst also, developing their own skills and awareness. It is hoped that the profile and virtue of public service will increase and the importance of providing time, in addition to money, will be seen.
Currently partner charities include those that help the blind, elderly and people with learning difficulties. Sewa Volunteers will also work with Sansaar, an orgnanisation that aims to teach Gujarati through pantomime and music.

‘Faith And Globalisation’ - The Tony Blair Foundtion

Tony Blair’s speech on ‘Faith and Globalisation’ at the Crdinal’s Lectures mentioned Sewa International, as one of the, “ … great humanitarian enterprises which brings relief to those who are suffering…” and as a “ that draws inspiration from its faith.”
He also announced that, through the Tony Blair Faith Foundation, he plans to Organise a global campaign to mobilise young people, across religious divides, to work together towards achieving the Millenium Development Goals.
The foundation, which is to launch later in the year, will promote understanding between the major faiths and increase understanding of the role of faith in the modern world. The foundation will work with faith leaders and grass roots organizations, finding the best examples of where faith is used as a progressive force.

Titbits: 1. Founder of Rashtriya Swyamsevak Sangh, Dr. Hedgewar was poor but never sought a job as his full time was engaged in social work. However, he functioned as an LIC doctor, issuing certificates to policy holders, for a monthly salary of Rs. 30 for 4 months, unable to decline the request of Swayamsevaks, but offered all his earnings of Rs 120 before sacred saffron flag on Guru Pooja day.
2. A poor Vanavasi boy was working as a help at Rs. 60 a month in a vanavasi hostel run by Swayamsevaks. He had studied only upto 4th standard. Once an RSS Pracharak visited the hostel. The boy found out that though as M.Sc, LL.B, the pracharak worked for RSS expecting nothing in return. It inspired the boy so much that he worked at the hostel for 15 years without accepting any money. (Both anecdotes were narraged by Shri Mohanji Bhagwat, RSS Sarkaryavah at the South Chennai Guru Pooja function on July 20, 2008).
— Courtesy: Panchaamritam

"Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared" - Lord Buddha.


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