Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Sewa Sandesh
November 2012
Akhil Bharatiya Vanvasi kalyan Ashram has decided to reach out to all 361 Vanvasi districts of the country with the message of Swami Vivekananda during his 150thbirth anniversary. The preparations for it were discussed at a meeting recently organized in Benaras. National Vice President of Kalyan Ashram Shri Kripa Prasad Singh said that the Kalyan Ashram workers will help in organizing functions for the celebration to this effect at all district headquarters on January 12, 2013.
He added that Kalyan Ashram workers will try to reach out to all Vanvasi districts and village with the message of Swami Vivekananda from January 12, 2013 to January 123, 2014. He further said “The Kalyan Ashram believes that this event is part of the activities aimed at bringing positive contribution in the development of Vanvasis. We also believe that the message of Swamiji will awaken the Vanvasis.” Shri Kripa Prasad Singh added that as the Kalyan Ashram is Completing 60 years of its existence on December 26, this year, the organisation is working hard to spread the activities in all the 51000 Vanvasi villages.
The US North East witnessed terrible destruction from Hurricane Sandy last  week of October 2012 onwards. As always Sewa volunteers came with a quick action plan to cater to the victims. One such event was held at the Community Food Bank in Hillside, New Jersey 4th November. Twelve youth volunteers from Sewa International USA spent the Sunday morning at the food bank helping with sorting and packing about 100 large boxes of food & groceries.
The Community Food Bank of New Jersey fights hunger and poverty by distributing food and groceries, to help people with low incomes. Traci, the volunteer co-ordinator at the Food Bank noted, “It was a pleasure to see Sewa volunteers in action today and I’m looking forward to building a huge Volunteer Relationship in the future”. In addition to weekend volunteering, Sewa is also conducting a Diwali Food Drive to aid the hurricane victims
The two-day Sewa Sangam -2012 jointly organised by Rashtriya Sewa Bharati and Hindu Seva Pratishthana concluded at Shimoga -Karnataka on October 28 with the call to ‘remain involved in regular sewa and involve others in sewa too’. At the concluding ceremony presided over by the Akhil Bharatiya Sah Sewa Pramukh Shri Ajit Prasad Mahopatra and attended by Director of the Hindu Seva Pratishtana Shri Shridhar Sagar and Uttar Kannada Prant Pracharak Shri Gopal Bhat; Shri gopal Bhat said we have to serve the society not to ‘do and die’ but for ‘do and live’. He said the sewa is not only service during calamities but also serving the needy and the society in our day-to-day life. On October 27, the Sewa Sangam was inaugurated by  Shri  Prasannanatha  Swamiji  of Adichunchungiri Mutt who spoke on the need to preserve dharma through sewa by quoting examples from Ramayana, Mahabharata, Vedas and Upanishdas
The first Hindu Funeral Hall in Melbourne was recently inaugurated at Le Pine Funerals in presence of Rakesh Kawra, representing the Consulate General of Bharat and approximately 70 people from different faiths and religions. Addressing the audience, Kawra said that the Government of Bharat has made many provisions for funeral to help those Bharatiyas who meet death overseas. Dr. Jayant Bapat, a prominent priest, serving the community for about 30 years, spoke about the significance of final Samskara at the time of a death, as per the Hindu philosophy. The Le Pine hall was well decorated with the large canvass drops of the shloks from Bhagvat Geeta which were especially imported from Nagpur. There were also picture frames of gods and an idol of Krishna. Dr. Ravi Bhave, President Maharashtra Mandal and Mrs. Geeta Devi, President VHP both emphasised the need of such services for the reapidly growing Hindu community in Victoria
Sewadham Ashram, Ujjain
Since the childhood, we have been seeing homeless, shelterless and dying destitute, in and around us, on railway platforms/bus stations, pavements, roads and other public places. Though resigned to their fates, they are very much part of the society belonging to our own species. The Homo sapiens with filth smeared over their diseased bodies, sometimes having maggots filled stinking sores/wounds on their bodies, each one has a painful story behind the dark, grooved eyes and wrinkled faces, with no near and dear ones, they are left to lead an almost non-existent life all alone by themselves. As fellow human beings, we generally do have a pity for them. Compassion may often lead us to drop them a rupee or two and better still, humanity may force us to give them some food and castaway clothes. So engrossed we are in our own daily mundane chores, that their state doesn’t stir any further feeling within us and we have accepted them as a casual entity in the daily scenario of our society, not bothering any further for this suffering humanity.
As the saying goes, the almighty has one door open for them in the form of Sewadham Ashram – a lifetime shelter for many of these under privileged persons – where they can lead a life with dignity till their last breath. Sewadham Ashram is an inter-faith caring organisation that assists and supports such abandoned, helpless and shelterless people, who are not provided with shelter by anyone else. It is a non-partisan, voluntary organisation running exclusively on public support. Sewadham Ashram encourages individuals, corporate and other agencies around the world to actively support and participate in the welfare services being carried on for the suffering humanity.
Founded by Sudhir Bhai Goyal, in January 1989, Sewadham Ashram is situated on a picturesque location in the interior rural belt-adjoining the Gambhir Dam at village Ambodia, block Ghatia on Barnagar Road, about 15 kms from the ancient holy city of Ujjain and approximately 75 kms away from Indore airport. Shri Sudhir Bhai, embarked on this noble Journey of service – a difficult and challenging task – with only resourcs being-inspirations from the suffering of these fellow beings and one acres of land that he donated for this unique and noble mission.
Over the yerar, due to his relentless and untiring efforts with love, care and compassion, the Ashram has blossomed into a lifetime shelter for more than 350 under privileged people which includes old parents (abandoned by their own children) and other young and old disabled; mentally and physically challenged; orphaned childeren; lepers; paralyses and polio, cancer, TB., HIV/AIDS victims; oppressed and unwed mothers; the victims of natural calamities and other dying destitute. The prominent activities carried out by the Sewadham include Leprosy Service Centre (1986), Health Services (1987), Welfare and Care Progamme for elderly persons (1990), Sevanjali Badhir Vidyalaya (1993), Medicine Help Centre (Civil Hospital-2002), Sewadham Bal Shramik Vidyalaya (2002), Sewadham Kamdhenu Milk Scheme (2004), Sewadham Day Care Center, Ujjain (2008), Sewadham Day Care Centre, Indore (2009), Sewadham Ashram is a unique example of motivating the poorest of the poor and dying destitute to come forward in the help of their suffering fellow beings by donation of 150 pairs of eyes by such persons after their deaths and thus providing visions to 300 blind persons and donation of more than 100 bodies after their deaths to medical colleges and helping in studies of deserving future doctors. It organised 160 eye and health camps in the rural and backward areas benefiting over 2 lakh people. It has been a house full of love, care and compassion for more than 4000 such persons since its inception. Carried out last rites of above 1000 persons as per their religion and customs. It carried out last rites of above 40 people as per baba Amte’s “Life after Death” concept in Ashram complex.
The Sewadham has been felicitated with Mahatma-Mahavir Award (jain Sangthan and Times Foundation – 2005, God Fray-Philips Bravery Awards – Gold medal at regional and bronze medal at national level, Vayo Samman, Best Institution – National Award for providing outstanding services to the elderly persons (Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India, New Delhi, under the institution category), Lala Amarnath Memorial Pride of Ujjain Award – 2008 by ISKCON for being best social worker. (With free trip to U.K. and Spain and cash prize of Rs 1 lakh). Born on August 19, 1957 in Indore, Sudhir Bhai Coyal became active in rural development work at the very tender age of 13 years. A science graduate, he wanted to become a medical doctor. Under the guidance and inspirations he drew after meeting Acharya Vinoba Bhave in 1947, he vowed to serve the underprivileged throughout his life. Along with his five-pronged social service through sewa (service) shiksha (education) swasthya (health) swawlamban (self reliance) sadbhav (communal harmony), he carried on his family business successfully. After establishing Ujjaini Senior Citizens' Forum (USCF) in Ujjain in January, 1986, an organisation for the utilisation of the skills, experience and knowledge of the elderly persons for the benefit of the society he came into contact with a dying leprosy patient Narayan. The intimate association that he developed while serving him very closely and warmly in his garage, resulted in changing his entire approach towards social service and led him to eventually form a leprosy service centre at Hamukhedi at the outskirts of Ujjain. The intimate interactions he had with Baba Amte in 1988, resulted in strengthening his earlier vow to serve the under privileged, the poor and the dying destitute till his last breath. Giving up the comforts, luxuries and the effluence of his family business he finally established Sewadham Ashram in January 1989, on his own 14 bighas land under the auspices of Ujjaini Senior Citizens' Forum.
In the maintaining personal losses of his only son aged seven, murder of his only sister by her husband and the untimely demise of his father and the loss of his left eye while saving the life of some children also could not weaken his resolve, to serve suffering humanity. His selfless services have been appreciated, admired and acclaimed by eminent personalities like Baba Amte, President of India Smt Pratibha Patil, formar President of India Dr. Shankar Dayal Sharma, Susri Ila Gandhi, Dr SN Subba Rao, Sushri Nirmala Despande, Sister Nirmala, Edward Garelok, former IPS Kiran Bedi and many other renowned personalities.
Assam Sishu Kalyan Sadan, Guwahati
Sunday afternoon, August 23, 2009; meeting on the Annual Report. A lady enquires,“What are the expenses covered under the category of establishment expenses as shown in page 17 of this report card? We would like to see the detailed account of this expenditure which totals upto Rs. 89, 131, 00,” She is a member of the managing committee for the year 2008-2009.Now this is a meeting of a kind. It only reflects the transparency in the functioning of the Assam Sishu Kalyan Sadan, a home for orphaned and destitute children. One hardly comes across such annual expenditure reports in any NGO, be it in Assam, other states of North East India or be it any ‘National’ level social service undertaking. Perhaps such cross-questioning in public on the day of annual finance report is helping this organization sustain itself in a healthy way till date. It is interesting to note that the organization is not entitled to either the state or central government fund nor is it affiliated to any international ‘non-profit’ humanitarian organizations.
Established in 1958 in Sundarbari, once a village near Jalukbari on the outskirts of the erstwhile quiet town of Guwahati, Assam Sishu Kalyan Sadan (ASKS) has completed 50 years of glorious existence. With an urge to develop the physical and mental state of abandoned children, noted social workers the late Amalprabha Das, the late Rajabala Das, Padmashri tha late Malati Barua, Dr. Tilottama Raichoudhury, Padmashri Smt Hem Bharali, Smt Hema Kakati initiated to set up this Sadan for the underprivileged children of the society on a plot of land donated by late Kamakhya Ram Barua. Over the decades, the Assam Sishu Kalyan Sadan has been functioning as a Trust. The organization is not an undertaking of a certain individual or a certain family. As such, people from different walks of life have developed an attachment for this home.
The Assam Sishu Kalyan Sadan had its share of bad times. But during such phases there emerged few people who helped the Sadan tide over the crisis. One of the persons who laid a strong foundation for the smooth functioning of Assam Sishu Kalyan Sadan is late Dr. Binoy Kumar Tamuli. It is said that the ultimate successs of a leader lies in his selection of an qually able successor. And Dr. Tamuly scored in that aspect too. He is succeeded by one of his most trusted associates Sri Nandeswar Sonowal whom he knew since his days in the Gauhati University. It doesn’t take much time to gauge the sincerity and dedication with which Sri Sonowal, the present President of the Sadan is carrying out his responsibilities. At present there are 30 children and teenagers residing in the Sadan; 18 girls and 12 boys. Then there are 8 women and 3 male workers who have been engaged to maintain different activities of the Sadan. By the age of 18, the residents are expected to learn some craft so as to sustain themselves on their own. Those who perform well in their studies are helped to complete their formal educational degrees. Next they have to move out to face the world. Shri Sonowal said, “This is necessary to maintain vibrancy. If we keep them for a greater age, it would lead to stagnation. The entire thing has to be a vibrant process. Older children will find engagement, make their own living. Then only we can have fresh entrants into the Sadan and nurture them in their formative years.” 
Food For Thought:
"If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap. If you want happiness for a day, go fishing. If you want happiness for a month, get married. If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime, help someone else,"
- A Chinese Proverb
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