Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Sewa Sandesh 112: October 8, 2008

From the Editor’s Desk
The Non-resident Indians and the People of Indian Origin spread across globe in more than 125 countries are as vibrant as people in India, if not more. The Indian community abroad is responsive to the challenges of the own community as well as the host country community. In this issue we have tried to portray a few events showcasing such activities.
Sewa Bharti Jammu & Kashmir has established itself with many activities and even penetrated in the terror torn Kashmir valley apart from Jammu and Laddakh. Yet, this state is in need of support for developing the projects.
We regret the delay in publishing and mailing this issue and promise sending the issue every month on date. The next issue would be reaching your hands soon. Thanks for all the support you have been providing and bear with us the delay in publishing this. — Shyam Parande
Sewa International UK Launches Volunteering Scheme
with Support of Indian Diaspora
The UK’s first structured volunteering scheme to target the Indian diaspora was recently launched in North West London with the support of cricketing hero Monty Panesar.
The 1.3 million Indian community in Britain is recognised to be charitable and supportive of causes internationally and in the UK, often repatriating huge sums of money to causes in India and elsewhere. This new initiative seeks to take advantage of their interest in volunteering by making it easier for them to find local groups and charities, which can make good use of their time, skills and experiences.
Sewa Volunteers is a flagship initiative of the leading British charity – Sewa International. And though it is aimed at promoting volunteering to the Indian diaspora, it is not restricted to the community. Interest from people of all backgrounds is welcome. In the first phase, the scheme is to be implemented in North West London, which is home to a large Indian population. This scheme is expected to be rolled out in other cities and towns with a significant Indian population.
The first set of partner charities are Harrow Mencap (works with people with learning difficulties); Middlesex Association for the Blind; Age Concern Harrow; Sansaar (teaches Gujarati through pantomime and music) and the Fryent Country Park (Barn Hill) Conservation Project.
This is the first scheme targeted at the Indian diaspora that provides volunteers for a number of local causes and actively monitors and manages the ‘volunteer experience’. It transcends all affiliations to temples, faith groups, youth groups, regional groups, caste associations, companies, businesses and so on.
By promoting volunteering, Sewa International aims to engage people from all backgrounds with local projects that deliver services to disadvantaged communities. It will build awareness of social and cultural issues challenging local communities in Britain and also raise the profile and virtue of public service.
“The most valuable commodity that people can donate to charity, in this relentless world, is their time,” observed Arup Ganguly, President, Sewa International (North London). “I find the willingness of our community to give up their leisure time to help the needy, quite frankly, humbling.”
Stressed Monty Panesar, the face of the scheme: “Your time – every minute, every hour, you give makes a difference.”
700 Sewa Volunteers “Walk in Dark” to Help the Blind
On Saturday, 13th September 2008: Local charity, Sewa International,
held a sponsored night walk in Kenton (Harrow) to raise money for two blind associations. Sewa International attracted almost 700 participants (mainly from London's Indian community) for the event to raise money for the Middlesex Association for the Blind (MAB) and the Mamta Welfare Trust (UK) - who provides funds to a special needs
school for blind children in India.
The night walk started at 7.00pm from St Gregory's RC School on Donnington Rd, Kenton, and followed a 5 km route finishing back at the school. The weather was perfect, the turnout excellent and the
atmosphere brilliant.
President for Sewa North London, Arup Ganguly, said: "with 677
participants, we are overjoyed with the response to the event. This clearly shows that British Asians are keen to support local charitable initiatives – and not just repatriate money to projects in their countries of origin". Ganguly added: "We must seize the opportunity and harness the UK Indian community's willingness and ability to help those less fortunate. SewaVolunteers is well placed to channel this philanthropic energy toward worthy causes".
The walk was flagged off by chief guest Hitesh Nathwani (CEO of the VB & Sons food-store chain, one of the event sponsors), to a fanfare of dhols (Indian drums) and conch shell blowing. Also in attendance were Cllr Paul Lorber (Leader of Brent Council), Cllr Harbhajan Singh, Cllr Vina Mithani, David Pearce (from MAB) and Dhruv Patel (from the City Hindus Network - CHN).
Mr Patel commented, "the CHN are very proud to have supported Sewa in putting on this successful event. The great turnout must surely reflect an increasing unity in our community and is another demonstration of our continuing contribution to life in the UK".
"The Association (MAB) was delighted to be chosen as one of the charities to benefit from the Sewa 'Walking in the Dark' event. It was a great night. Our thanks to everyone who organized and attended the event. The funds raised will go a long was to helping Visually Impaired People both locally and in India and on their behalf we would like to thank you for Sewa's support.", said David Pearce.
Sewa International expects that the total funds raised, including direct donations, to be between £6,000 and £10,000. MAB anticipates that "money will be used to purchase equipment for the Resource Centre and to support visually impaired people through the Home Visiting Service (e.g. recruit volunteers)".
Sewa Internatinal recently launched its own volunteer network, the UKs first structured volunteering scheme to target the Indian diaspora. The 1.3 million Indian community in Britain is recognised to be charitable and supportive of causes internationally and in Britain, often repatriating huge sums of money to causes in India and
elsewhere. However, this new initiative seeks to take advantage of their interest in volunteering by making it easier for them to find local groups and charities, which can make good use of their time, skills, and experiences. Monty Panesar, international cricketer and the face of the scheme, said: "I support SEWA Volunteers, please give some time".
Velji Vishram Popat Disha Boys’ Hostel, Kadmal, Katra , Jammu & Kashmir

Sewa Bharti J&K is a registered NGO working in terrorism affected areas of J&K state for the welfare of the younger generation in the field of education and providing vocational training to the terrorism affected children, border area children & migrant children.

The first stage of Vel Ji Vishram Popat Disha Hostel, Kadmal at Katra near Vaishno Devi temple has now been completed. This hostel is being run by Sewa Bharati in partnership with SI and supported by IDRF USA.. Shri. Narinder Popat contributed 1/3 cost of the total estimated cost, IDRF matched by adding further 1/3rd & the rest was locally generated by Sewa Bharati J &K . The organisation had purchased 7 kanals of land during Dec. 2007 at Katra for Rs 12 Lakhs from locally collected funds.

Sh. Narinder Popat was very gracious and visited the proposed Hostel site Kadmal at Katra on 26 Jan. 2007 and laid down foundation stone for this noble project covering 6000 sq feet area for accommodating children . The construction work was started in Feb. 2007 and lasted by constructing 5 rooms, dormitory, guest rooms, kitchen & bathrooms for the first floor.
As the number of children are large and the accommodation facility in the Hostel is limited, the organisation have plans of adding one more floor. At present, the hostel has capacity of accommodating 25 children. All the children were admitted to Govt. High School. All of them have secured good results, which makes the organsiation to be more enthusiastic to work in the field of imparting education along with good sanskars (moral values) to the terrorism affected children.
All students have participated in various extra curricular activities and have made the organisation proud. The organisation monitored and observed that definitely an over all development i.e., physical as well as mental took place among these children.
Great efforts are being made to make them good citizens of society by imparting proper educational and vocational training
Interactive Programme with Medical Students by Sewa Bharati, J & K
A meeting of 23 Medical Students of Government Medical College (GMC), Jammu was held on 17th October 2008 under the headship of Dr. Vipin Gupta. All students were from 3rd and 4th year batch. These young and energetic future doctors highly appreciated the work done by the Sewa Bharti in the hospital under the banner of “May I Help You” programme. They showed great interest in offering Sewa along with Sewa Bharti despite keeping their limitations in mind. They also decided to organize monthly medical camps in the Basties of Jammu under the banner of Sewa International.

Madina Institute of Information and Technology, Vathura, Kashmir
Total No. of Students:- 5
No. of Computers :- 3
Date of Counseling:- . . Every Saturday
Course:- 3 months, . 6 months and
one year.

This institute is running in full bloom with the financial assistance of Sewa International. The institute offers computer training programme for five days in a week. The day of Saturday is fixed for counseling. On This day the students assemble and interact with each other. Moral education and lessons of patriotism are imparted to them.

Boys’ Hostel at Kishtwar Jammu & Kashmir State:
A Unique Project To Be Set-Up
Kishtwar a newly created District is situated at a distance of about 250 kms from Jammu. It is snowbound hilly track, surrounded by several villages like Padder, Dachan, Marwah, Warwan, and Chatroo etc... A large part of this region is not connected even by road. The district is Muslim majority area and presently dominated by militant facilities. There are some big pockets where Hindus are residing.
Although some educational facilities are there at tehsil level where primary /Middle school have been opened by the State Govt, the facilities for higher education is available only in and around Kishtwar. The students have to come to Kishtwar for higher education where they stay in rented accommodation and incur heavy expense in this regard. . Since a larger number of villages are not connected by road, the students have to travel on foot to reach Kishtwar. Some students have to cover a distance exceeding 50 km on foot to reach Kishtwar.
Proposal:- In view of the above situations there is dire need to establish one hostel with capacity of 50 students . At Kishtwar the land to construct hostel is available and can be provided free of cost.
Project Profile
Title: - Boys hostel at Kishtwar
Type:- Sponsored
Name Basera
Place:- Kishtwar, town
Organization: Sewa Bharti, J&K
‘Trying to Tame Kosi Recipe for More Disaster’
New Delhi, Sep 7 (IANS) The Kosi has this year lived up to its name of Bihar's 'river of sorrow' by changing its course and rendering Nearly three million people homeless, but now trying to jacket it with embankments and barrages as engineers are planning to do may cause further devastation, says noted water expert Anupam Mishra.
Enclosing the silt-laden river within an embankment that will force it to run in east-west course against the region's topography is a recipe for future disaster, Mishra told IANS.
The author of several books on water systems and traditional water
harvesting methods explained: 'The seven currents of the Kosi cannot be tamed. The topography of the flood plains is elevated at the north along the Himalayas and slightly lifted in the east owing to silt deposition in flood plains.
'The river is about 20,000 years old. In the past 200 years,
equivalent to a day in our lives, the river has shifted about 120 km because its original flow is eastward, to merge with the Ganges.'
According to Mishra, the barrage on the India-Nepal border built to control had failed and had only 'hastened its changing course. The Kosi is a meandering river. The natural tendency of the river disapproves the steady-water equilibrium engineering of authorities.
'Embankments may work on rivers that are stable and carry moderate amounts of silt. Holding a river like Saptakosi, as it is also called, only adds to its defiant nature.'
In his Hindi book 'Saaf Maathe ka Samaj' (Society with a Clear Mind) Mishra has analysed the behaviour of rivers in northern Bihar, their impact on society, floods and their management.
Excerpts from his 2006 book read: 'Flood are no guests
here (in northern Bihar). They never come by surprise. Their occurrence is set in time. There may be a delay of a few days in its arrival. But come
they will.
'Yet, on its arrival we consider it sudden. Perhaps in earlier days, society was more capable of flood management, independent of useless administration, so they never seemed rattled by flooding. The lack of preparations before the flood magnifies its destructive impact.'
Mishra said: 'People and tribals in the region own boats as we do cars. If instead of spending millions on helicopters and fuel, which anyway turn out to be inadequate for flood relief, these locals and their boats are employed and engaged by the government prior to and during the floods, flood management will prove to be more efficient and cost effective.
'The meandering waters, big or small, are best known by the locals.
Withtheir collaboration, the impact can be less destructive even in situations like the flooding of a major river like Kosi.'
Mishra, a Gandhian and environmental activist, feels that there is a need for authorities and people to understand flood management techniques adopted by local people in the past and assess how to use
them today.
'Earlier this region had thousands of natural and man-made depressions, which ran for 5 to 10 kilometres. While these became lakes during monsoons and controlled flooding waters, during dry weathers, these were used as water holes. The government and authorities, in a haste to tap the agricultural potential of the soil, filled the depressions and encouraged cultivation there.
'Now with no depressions left, the waters run helter-skelter wreaking havoc on the lives of people that worship it. Ironically all that agriculture is of no use any more. The authorities have to choose what is important. Is agriculture of any use at the expense of the lives of millions of people?'
Speaking about the present flood relief efforts in Bihar, he said that authorities have to surrender their political agenda and consider the victims' plight rationally.
'The railway minister has announced that 100,000 bottles of 'Rail Jal' (water packaged for Indian Railways) will be distributed among over two million flood victims. Is this sustainable? How many bottles can
reach these victims who are affected by the flood? Instead one can consider distribution of filtering devices and tanks to filter and decant flood waters rendering it relatively drinkable.
'Society, as it has proven in the past, will rehabilitate itself in due course. But it is not society that has created barrages and embankments. Authorities have created them, so it is their duty to set an agenda on how to control future floods and live with them - to think, discuss, deliberate with engineers, locals, and representatives from Nepal and Bangladesh to plan in advance, and execute in time.' (Shweta Srinivasan can be contacted at )
A Heart Touching Real Life Incident, Chennai, 25th September, 2008
The thing is.... there is a family. Parents are doctors...and they had a son named Hitendran.
On 09/24/2008, he took his father's bike for seeing his friend and while return he met with an accident.
The people who are there know him and admitted him at chengelpattu hospital. Then they informed his parents and they took him to Teynampet Apollo hospital.
There the doctors examined him and said that his brain has lost all his senses and there is no way to give him life. Without controlling the sadness the parents understood the fact and they decided to donate his organs to the people.
First, his eyes were given to Sankara nethralaya, then his kidney was given to Apollo hospital for transplantation and atlast here comes the final everheard miracle. They decided to give his heart
to a 6 year old boy who needs it. So they verified and at last found that the boy is struggling for life at Cherians heart foundation, Chennai.
But within 30mins that heart should be transplanted; They need to go 20kms and in Chennai traffic and doubted whether it will happen. Then the doctors called traffic police and asked their help and they prepared the ambulance with A/C. So fastly they removed the heart from their son and kept in an ice box and runned towards the ambulance.
When they came out the boy's father saw that ice box and cried like anything. The doctor who carried that box ran like anything that he didn't even see the ambulance which is waiting outside and he entered the police car which was waiting. He said to the person to just go to Cherian hospital soon. The person who was standing near the car was the Assistant Commissioner and he without seeing his status and jumped to drivers seat and drove the car with full speed.
Every signal traffic got alert and left way for this car and at last within 15mins the heart was given to the doctors in Cherian hospital and it was transplanted to the small boy. Really heart touching....
Do you know the meaning of the name of the boy who died....
His name is Hitendran - a person who will steal other's heart...............Yes , now he has stole everyone's heart.....
Really ... hats off to the parents ...

T i t b i t s
1. An MBBS doctor once reported that she was running a school in a village. A doctor running a school? Yes! In a small village of Solapur in Maharashtra (Bharat), Dr. Sanjeevani Kelkar found children of poor workers whiling away all day long by the roadside. She decided to serve them. She collected the parents of all those children and took their permission to teach useful things to the children. Bathed the kids, taught them songs; told them stories. By and by, she began a pre school for them. Over the years, it grew into a primary and later a high school, with a student strength of 400. No child in the village without schooling. Alongside, the kind doctor organised the women of the village and helped them avail bank loans that could help them earn additional income. About 60 villages in the vicinity sought the doctor´s services to change for better. Dr.Sanjeevani Kelkar was honoured by Savitribai Dhule Puraskar (Maharashtra Govt.) in 1996.
2. Jascinth (46) of Palayamkottai is a science teacher at Usborne Memorial Middle School at Palayamkottai. She is nurturing 14 orphan and semi-orphan (either father or mother dead) girls for the last two years with her meager earnings. Two years ago, she met one of her students, Bala Keerthika., an eighth standard student of the school. She had been abandoned after the death of her only blood relation - her father. Jascinth took Bala to her house. "After I took Bala with me, a few orphan students in my school approached me to take care of them. "When my house became insufficient to accommodate them, I decided to rent a house for the purpose. But as rent will be an added expenditure, I converted my father´s house at Palayamkottai into an orphanage." At present, there are 14 girls in the orphanage between the age 5 and 14 and all are doing their schooling in Palayamkottai. Initially, girls were unable to concentrate in their studies since they could not come out of the trauma of losing their loved ones, said Jascinth. "These girls get all freedom. I take them to exhibitions and outings during holidays. For each child, I need to spend at least Rs 500 every month," she says. Jascinth´s first child at the orphanage, Bala Keerthika, says, "I feel at home. We call her (Jascinth) mother and her husband father. She teaches us, sings with us and plays with us. She has given us the chance to dream."
3. Smt. Lalitha, 62, of Pirkankaranai near Chennai was hit by an autorikshaw on May 17, 2008. At the hospital, it was found out brain death had occured to her. There was no possibility of recovery. The doctors permitted organ donation. Her sons - Vivekanandan, Balaji and Ramesh - agreed to the idea. Lalitha´s two eyes, liver and both kidneys were donated. Five persons were benefitted. All heartily thanked the family of departed Lalitha.
4. Shri Rayappan, an autorikshaw driver of Chennai, found a bag in his auto left behind by some passenger. He noticed that it contained 25 sovereigns of gold jewellery worth Rs 3 lakh. He informed the owner of the auto, Shri Babu. Both of them went to the Ashok Nagar police station and deposited the bag there with the police officials. The police traced the passenger(s) with the help of the address found in the bag.. They were Shri Stalin of Nagerkoil and his daughter Sheeba Godfrey, who were in the city to attend a relative's marriage. They had hired Rayappan's auto to reach their destination. However, Sheeba had forgotten to take a bag which she was carrying. The city police commissioner Shri. R Sekar handed over the bag to her and appreciated the honesty of the auto driver.
5. Bharatiya Kisan Sangh (BKS), the premier organisation of farmers in Bharat started Self Help Groups (SHGs) in 4 villages in East Andhra area to aid farmers. Each farmer deposited money at the rate of Rs. 50 per month. The SHGs have a membership of 303 farmers in all and the deposits totalled up to Rs. 11 lakhs soon. 90 % of this was disbursed as loans to farmers. The recovery is 100%. All this goes merely on mutual trust among the farmers. There is no employee in the banks. That way the expenditure is minimized. Last year one of the banks purchased manure and seeds on joint bargain method and it could sell them at dramatically lower prices (compared to the market level) to member - farmers as well as other farmers. This is one of the projects of social service by BKS.
6. 36-year-old Usha of Puthur had been admitted to the Elite Mission Hospital at Koorkanchery near Thrissur (Kerala, Bharat) on August 30 with multiple injuries.She passed away on September 5. But the body was released to her relatives only the next day as the family could not raise the bill amount of Rs 55,000. Though the amount was later reduced to Rs 20,000, the woman's family was unable to pay the reduced amount also. Moved by the family's plight, a woman police constable attached to the Ollur police station, Aparna Lavakumar (32) offered to pledge her three gold bangles for raising the required money. The amount was paid and the hospital authorities released the body. — Courtesy: Panchaamritam

“Try not to become a man of success. Rather become a man of value” — Albert Einstein

A Sewa International Delhi Publication

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