From Editor’s Desk
Some of the traditions among the Hindu society have degenerated along the time, one such being the tradition of “Devadasi” prevalent in North Karnataka, South Maharashtra and some adjoining districts of Andhra Pradesh. One of the girl children in a family will be dedicated to the Deity in the local Mandir, rendering the young girls without a family as she will be married to the Deity. Dr. Bhimrao Gasti, born in a tribe that offers Devadasi, has successfully rehabilitated more than 700 such Devadasis and has also established institutions that offer free hostel & education to such young girls from those tribes. Fighting all possible odds including murderous attacks and political opposition, this loner has penned some novels in Marathi and some other languages. He was felicitated on the occasion of his “shashtipurtee” – completing 60 action-packed years of his life. Sewa International wishes this ideal “Sewa vratee” a long healthy eventful life.
Sewa Volunteers Take up Rescue Operation At Mangalore Air Crash SiteKARNATAKA witnessed its worst ever air mishap on May 22 when an Air India Express Boeing 737 flight carrying 169 passengers on board overshot the runway while landing at Bajpe airport at Mangalore and got burst into flames. The flight was coming from Dubai. It was a cloudy Saturday morning with heavy rains. The mishap resulted in the death of 158 passengers including the crew members. The rescue operation was not an easy task at the site as it was heavily forested and sparsely populated area. With the fire brigade personnel and emergency staff, local Sewa Volunteers involved themselves in the rescue operation. They extended timely help during the day long rescue operation at the air crash site. More than 100 volunteers from the nearby areas rushed to the spot and started rescue operation from 6.40 am onwards. Shri Nalin Kumar, local MP, also a swayamsevak, was there from 7.00 am to 7.45 pm leading the operation with local karyakartas. Due to the bad weather the rescue operation got delayed, however extensive support from public and Sewa Volunteers was extended timely. Shri BG Chengappa, director of Karnataka Fire and Emergency Services also rushed to the spot and led the rescue work.
Rashtriya Seva Bharati: A lifeline for Voluntary Organizations
Rashtriya Seva Bharati (RSB) was established in Delhi in December 2003. There are hundreds of organizations serving the underdeveloped and the underprivileged throughout the country. They are addressing different social concerns like education, rural development, health, social rejuvenation, economic self- reliance, nationalistic and character building, relief and rehabilitation during the natural and man-made calamities. Today there are more than 1.57 lakh projects and programs of this kind, run by more than 700 such organizations inspired by the ideology of Rashtriya Swyamsevak Sangh. Rashtriya Seva Bharati “A-Z Service” for voluntary organizations-
¨ RSB helps in registering the trusts and societies, conducting the surveys, analyzing the problems and identifying the needs of a particular village or slum.
¨ Guiding affiliates to establish and run a functional office.
¨ Reaching out to new volunteers and orienting them to serve in various fields of social life.
¨ HR development and fund management
¨ Assessing the impact of the Running Projects and achievements of the affiliates.
¨ Helping affiliates in generating the PR material and reaching out to the society in general.
¨ To get them feel confident in their effort to build strong and nationalistic society.
Seva Disha: RSB publishes the assessment of activity every 5 years that covers all the organizations, their area of activity, types of activity and details of beneficiaries, etc.
Seva Sadhana – RSB publishes an issue focusing on one of the Seva related issues providing the All Bharat glimpses. Following are the issues published by RSB in last couple of years:
2007 – Activity in urban slums
2008 – Illuminating seva experiences
2009 – Rural development & related experiments.
Workshops for Rural Development: An all Bharat workshop was held under the aegis of RSB in Chitrakut, on the border of Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh in 2007 in which 120 activists from all the states of Bharat participated. Experts from rural development, organic farming, cow based agriculture, education, and others guided the workshop.
Reorientation Program for State Level Teams- RSB holds a National Reorientation program for state level teams drawn from all states once in every three years. The last national reorientation program was held in Delhi in 2008.
Some schemes through the affiliates-
These activities ensure building a society with a healthy character. Temples are often the hub of these activities, which silently mitigate social evils like untouchability and alcoholism.
Matru Mandalies- Women’s weekly gathering – generating awarenss
Kishori Vikas- Supporting development of adolescent girls
Yoga and awareness activity in Jails among the jail mates.
Legal Counselling for women.
Balagokulam- the Global Network of Religion for Children (GNRC) affiliated with the UNICEF has brought forth Balagokulam as the model for value education in the world.
Indians living in USA and some other countries have already set up Balagokulam for their children. Balagokulam has grown to occupy an important place in the social life of Kerala, having originated there.
Economic Self Reliance
Self-Help Groups (SHGs) have been the most powerful tool in empowering people with economic self-reliance. Seva Bharati institutions are providing a multitude of skill trainings for rual and urban youth, and women.
Economic activities, coupled with character building, are distinct features of RSB-inspired projects.
· Self Help groups in Tamil Nadu have empowered women in rural areas of the state-bringing in self reliance.
· Considering the discipline, financial transparency, response from the rural masses and excellent team work, the State government recognized Seva Bharathi Tamilnadu’s SHGs in 2002.
· Women beneficiaries in these villages of TN have worked on micro enterprise.
· Men are now following the women-forming SHGs.
Aid during calamities
The country has faced many natural calamities in the last few years like the Tsunami and the flood of Kosi. Rescue, relief and rehabilitation were taken care by the karyakartas. Hundreds of schools, homes, Mandirs and livelihood opportunities were provided for those devastated by these calamities. During the Mumbai terrorist attack on 26th November 2008, the karyakartas supported the police and citizens with food, water, medical help, and blood. The Jaipur bomb blasts too had karyakartas rushing for immediate relief of the wounded.
Youth for Seva
- Desire among the youth to serve the society has grown many fold.
- They wish to volunteer their time and talent for community development.
- “Youth for Seva” project launched under Hindu Seva Pratishtana in 2007.
- YFS motivates the youth, connects them to grassroots projects.
- Trains them in the skills required and orients them.
Nepali New Year Celebration Organized In Denver, USA.
DENVER, USA: "Hindus settling in the western countries can lead their lives as proud Hindus and preserve their religion, heritage and culture" Dr. Ved Nanda, the president of the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS), USA declared here recently.
Agastya: Sparking Creativity In Rural India
Spread over a vast area of 170 acres of rocky wasteland in Kuppam, a deprived rural area in Andhra Pradesh, Agastya International foundation believes that complete learning is a combined form of shiksha (education), samskara (values) and sansara (world). It focuses on transforming the critical and much neglected area of primary and secondary education of the rural masses in India, including children and teachers.
Agastya runs one of the largest hands-on science education programs in the world!Agastya does this by bringing hands-on science education to the rural masses through the use of outreach programs like “Science on Wheels” (Mobile Labs), Scinece Fairs, Teacher Development program and Young Instructors Programs. Agastya seeks to fill the gaps in the Indian education system that threatens its socio-economic development. The conventional Indian education system instils little creativity in children and teacher education is generally divorced from classroom realities. Agastya’s projects overcome these problems with their unique features which involve idea generation and testing through the creativity Lab, creativity generation for poor and disadvantaged through interactive and engaging learning methods, learning linked to environmental goals, emphasis on developing behavioral skills and a close link between teacher education and the classroom system.
Agastya: Science on Wheels
If you ever hear Ramji Raghavan (Founder, Agastya International Foundation), you would certainly hear him talk about the learning pyramid as he strongly believes in the fact that we learn about 5% of what is taught to us in a lecture, 10% of what we read, 50% of what we see and hear, 70% of what we discuss with others, 80% of what we experience and 95% of what we teach. Ramji Raghavan, a former NRI banker came back to India with a vision of providing education to poor children and teachers – education that would be the opposite of conventional techniques and this led to the birth of Agastya, named after Maharshi Agastya, famous for spreading sacred knowledge to south India, as a charitable trust in 1999.
Agastya was started off successfully on the path of building a creative India of ‘thinkers, solution seekers and creators’ that are ‘ humane anchored and connected’ by impacting over 3 million children and 120,000 teachers from vulnerable and disadvantaged communities and the model is scalable and replicable anywhere in the world.
SEVA-Guyana, SVN and the CI Temple have together sponsored another successful blood donation drive, on Sunday 23 May 2010 at SVN. The unit count at this time is 261. The Ministry of Health has assured that it continues to be the biggest drive in the Caribbean. With luck and hard work Seva-Guyana wants to make it to 396 next year which is the number of Indians (some say 406) who landed in Guyana in 1838. It is noteworthy that in 2009 it was 214 and in 2008 it was 176.