SEWA INTERNATIONAL LAUNCHES 2015 YUVA FOR SEWA SUMMER INTERNSHIP
Sewa International has launched its annual Yuva for Sewa (YFS), 8 to 10-week volunteer summer internship opportunity for college students to travel to Bharat to contribute their time to serve humanity. Since its inception in 2006, 52 YFS youth interns have volunteered their time for healthcare, education, environment, women's empowerment, rural development, and microfinance. Interns work with community NGOs to serve and engage in an empowering self-transformative experience to make an impact in their chosen field.
Thirteen RSS swayamsevaks at Shastri Nagar in Chennai on March 1 joined a seva activity of cleaning the Siddha Hospital campus. They segregated the waste into bio degradable and non bio-degradable ones. They heaped the bio-degradable waste around the trees and used ‘Ghana Jeevamritham’ spray on it for faster degradation. It was a highly satisfying experience for all.
LEARN FROM EXPERIENCE AND MOVE AHEAD
“Before doing any work, one should analyse what will be its impact on the society. Ekal has completed its 25 years and it’s time to analyse what we have done in all these years and how we have to move ahead on this path. Learn from the experience and move ahead,” said RSS Sarsanghachalak Shri Mohan Bhagwat while addressing the concluding ceremony of ‘Parinaam Kumbh’ organised at Golf Ground of Dhanbad to celebrate 25 years of Ekal Vidyalaya.
Shri Bhagwat appreciated the work being done by Ekal volunteers. He said it is the education system, which would lead the country to holistic development. He said Ekal Abhiyan is not just an educational initiative but it is a people’s movement for all round development of the Vanvasis living in remote villages.
The seed of Ekal Vidyalaya germinated at Ratanpur village under Tundi block of Dhanbad. From this village it spread all over the country and then in many countries of the world. Today it is India’s largest non-governmental education initiative, which provides education to children in rural areas. It works on the concept of ‘Ek Shikshak, Ek Vidyalaya’ (one teacher, one school). In Ekal schools local youth teach in regional languages using various methods like story-telling, folk dramas and songs. Apart from education, Ekal also imparts moral education, health care education and farming techniques.
VHP patron Shri Ashok Singhal while speaking at the function said once India was repository of education but today we lack a lot in this field. Ekal schools would prove to be Brahmastra in educaiton and can achieve what we have lost. “Through Ekal, we not only provide education but also try to make India of our dreams. Time has come to recognise our strength and return to the roots. We have to again make Bharat Vishwa Guru,” he said.
Founder of Vatsalya Gram Didi Maa Sadhvi Ritambhara stressed the need to come together like a river for development for Bharat. “Children are the future of Bharat. Through Ekal we can secure their future by providing education and inculcating in them the moral and cultural values. There are many hurdles in the way but we have to overcome them to achieve our goal.” she said.
Global coordinator of Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation USA Ramesh P Shah while talking to ‘Organiser’ said, “I have been associated with Ekal for the last 15 years and feeling blessed after being part of it. We have a five-point agenda Bal Shiksha, Swastha Shiksha, Gram Vikas Shiksha, Sanskar Shiksha and Jagran Shiksha.” He pointed out that they operate around 54,000 Ekal Schools in India, about 1500 in Nepal. Now Afghanistan has also contacted them to start Ekal Schools there.
Shri Shyamji Gupta spoke on the vision for next 25 years and said Dhanbad is like pilgrimage for Ekal karyakartas. Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das, Chairman of Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited Subhas Chandra and many more dignitaries also attended the function.
About 50,000 Ekal workers from all over India and also from overseas countries like USA, Australia, Canada, Dubai, New Zealand and Germany attended the three day event.
The grand procession taken out on this occasion was joined by about 40,000 villagers including women. These people belonged to the villages of Ekal schools. The speakers energised the workers tracing the successful journey of the Ekal. The presentations by various workers highlighting heart touching experiences were highly inspiring.
ENDEAVOUR FOR HARMONIOUS AND PROSPEROUS BHARAT
Our ancestors thought and acted for the welfare of entire universe. That is why our sages and seers, since centuries, have been praying: Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinah, Sarve Santu Niramaya Sarve Bhadrani Pashyantu, Maa Kashchid Dukhabhag-bhawet (let none be sick and deprived in the world). The essence of this prayer is that working for others’ happiness is the best way to be happy in the life.
We have a rich tradition of serving the needy with this feeling. The great saint of Gujarat, Narasi Mehta, called those who feel the sufferings of others as ‘Vaishnava Jan’. The concept of sin and holiness has also been defined accordingly. Sant Tulsidasji has also said, Parahit Saras Dharam Nahin Bhai, Parpeera Nahin Adhmahi.
Amma to inaugurate on April 4
The Sewa Sangam will be organised at Blue Saffire' & 'City Palace' Resort, GT Karnal Road, Alipur, NH1- Delhi) It is expected to witness the presence of more than 3,000 representatives from 700 sewa organisations. It will include more than 500 women workers. An exhibition highlighting the sewa activities of various organisations will also be organised. The Sangam will be inaugurated at 10 am on April 4 by Mata Amritinan damayi Devi. Noted industrialist of Meerut Shri Atul Gupta will be the chief guest. RSS Sarkaryavah Shri Bhaiyaji Joshi will address the gathering at 5.00 pm the same day. On April 5, the Sangam will be addressed by RSS Sarsanghachalak Shri Mohan Bhagwat and founder of Wipro Shri Azim Premji. The concluding ceremony on April 6 will be addressed by RSS Sah Sarkaryavah Shri Dattatreya Hosabale. The exhibition will be inaugurated by Swami Rajrajeshwarashram on April 3.
This is basically the eternal truth. Our ancestors have taught us that sewa should be done with the feeling of duty and worship. Ramakrishna Paramhansa called it Shiv Bhaav Se Jeevsewa, while Swami Vivekananda saw the God in the sick and needy people. He used to say, “I serve God whom the people unknowingly call man.”
This is the reason lakhs of people in the country are serving the needy people recognising them as a form of ‘God’, and that too without wishing any publicity or honour in exchange. Many people are working individually or through some organisation.
Some families are also dedicated to the social cause. Unfortunately, the media today do not provide adequate space and attention to the work of such people or organisations. They give undue publicity to the bad practices or wrong activities undergoing in the society. If we sincerely study the society, we find that the number of good people is more than the bad people. Equally, the number of people who are working selflessly is more than the number of greedy and corrupt. Because the truth does not come out, the atmosphere of depression, despair, apathy and negativity seems to be dominating. It ultimately makes good people inactive. In such an atmosphere there is dire need to bring all the people engaged in service activities at one platform, help them understanding each other and exchange their experience. It will not only boost confidence of the society, but will also lead to right direction.
Therefore, strengthening the work of sewa so that there is harmony in the society and none is exploited is the prime objective of the Sewa Sangam. The Sewa Sangams organised in different parts of the country during the last three-four years have been organised with the same objective. More than 1,35,000 sewa projects are being carried out by 600 RSS inspired organisations in different parts of the country up to village level. There are many other organisations too which render yeoman services. All the sewa organisations are working for betterment of the society and also to make everyone happy.
This Sewa Sangam will prove to be a milestone in the journey of realising the objective of making all the deprived self-reliant, self-respected and full of nationalist feeling. It will be held under the aegis of Rashtriya Sewa Bharati (RSB), an umbrella organisation of sewa organisations active from Prant to village level all over the country.
It is hoped that the three-day event will energise the workers and the feeling of sewa will get strengthened. The endeavour is that the sewa work is collectively expanded to the extent that nobody in urban or rural area is deprived and ultimately the country becomes harmonious and prosperous in the days to come.
On March 2, 2015, Shri Santhanam (55), a farmer from Sriperumbudur, had it all, from hopes to misery to euphoria, in a span of 10 hours. He misplaced a cloth bag with Rs 1.8 lakh cash meant for his daughter’s marriage. The bag had the cash and invitation cards in it; it had slipped from his hand and had fallen on the road. Minutes later, Shri Rambabu (60), living nearby, came to see off his grandchildren to school. He noticed the brown cloth bag on the road, in which he found bundles of currency The man took it to the Tambaram police station and handed it over to the police. Santhanam, who was not sure of where he had misplaced the bag, had approached the police station near his house. On receiving information from Tambaram police, Santhanam went to the Police Station; it was confirmed that he was the owner of the bag and the cash was handed over to him. Rambabu runs a fertiliser store at Padappai, near Tambaram.
Smt Kanthimathi serves food to destitutes battling hunger, poverty and diseases - veg biryani and butter milk - on the dusty pavement opposite an oil store on East Masi Street Madurai (Tamilnadu, Bharat). Kanthimathi, the 64-year-old wife of an ailing tailor, who ran out of business a few years ago, goes on giving. It has become a daily routine for her for the last 12 years. Kanthimathi does not have the means to feed the poor. It was 12 winters ago when she spotted social worker Siva Anbanandan serving food to beggars, street urchins, mentally and physically challenged individuals, the poor and the abandoned. Siva Anbanandan was looking for a cook. Kanthimathi volunteered instantly. Since then, she hasn’t taken a day’s break. Even during illness she prepares the meal and ensures that it reaches the people on time. (She recalls with sadness how on the day Siva Anbanandan died a year ago – in 2013 - , he arranged for rice, sambar and curd. “I served the meal here before going to the cremation ground,” she says). Among the nearby shopkeepers, somebody buys the vegetables, somebody donates rice and oil. And it keeps flowing to meet each day’s requirement. Kanthimathi believes there is God’s hand in arranging the items uninterrupted for so many years. Says Kanthimathi, even passers-by stop to see what is happening and spontaneously donate sweets and fruits; even plates, tumblers and sitting mats.
You cannot find a single cigarette butt, plastic bag lying around in Mawlynnong (Meghalaya, Bharat), a small village 90 kms from Shillong. It was awarded the tag of ‘Cleanest Village in Asia’ in 2003 by Discover India Magazine. Pallavi Pasricha, a journalist, describes the village thus: “I reach here and I am stumped. Not only is this village spotless clean but it’s one of the prettiest ones I have seen in the country. I am greeted warmly and taken to the guest house, my home for the night. I walk on cobbled streets bordered with thatched Khasi huts and go past gardens that are full of colourful flowers. To keep the village clean there is a bamboo basket outside every house. After a 15-minute walk I’m face-to-face with one of the most spectacular natural bridges that’s made by twisting the roots of the gigantic trees. The roots make a pathway across a stream, making it easy for villagers to commute. Another interesting thing the villagers have constructed here is the Sky View, an 85 feet high viewing tower that’s made of bamboo. When I reach on top I get stunning views of not just the village but Bangladesh on the other side. It’s simply gorgeous. I realise that it’s the simplicity and warmth of the people that makes Mawlynnong so special getting there.”
An NGO, My Home India (MHI), has successfully reunited 170 lost children who were abandoned in the city, with their families over the last one year. The NGO is now planning to expand its activities across the country. MHI was founded by Sunil Deodhar, who was formerly a full time RSS worker in North-East states. According to Deodhar, the NGO had searches for abandoned children in and around the city. We found that many children were willing to return to their families but could not do so because (they were unable to contact them). Most children were from Karnataka, UP and Bihar.(We have helped to reunite them with thier families). (So now) they are happily living with their families,” he said. The NGO has focused on children who either run away from their homes or are forcibly pushed into child labour in big cities. Deodhar, a former president of the BJP’s North-East cell, said that MHI has sought permission from Centre to spread their search for abandoned children to other states too. “Our duty does not end after a child is handed over to his parents. We also continuously monitor whether he is happy with the reunion,” he said. MHI also tackles issues of security, law and order, social, economical and emotionalalienation faced by the people of North-East states in other parts of the country.
Punsari village, barely 100 km from Ahmedabad (Gujarat, Bharat), could be a textbook case of development. Closed-circuit cameras, water purifying plants, air-conditioned schools, Wi-Fi, biometric machines - the village has it all. And all of it was done in a matter of eight years, at a cost of a mere Rs. 16 crore. The man behind the transformation is its young sarpanch: 31-year-old Himanshu Patel. A graduate from North Gujarat University, Patel had won the panchayat polls in 2006 at the age of 23. Back then, the village didn't even have proper roads, power or water. The panchayat funds were in deficit. Punsari’s turnaround happened when the village sold part of its land for plotted schemes. The money, deposited in government coffers, is used to fund the village’s welfare schemes. The results are obvious. Recently, a team from the Central ministries of rural and urban development had come to study the "Punsari model". But the young sarpanch is already onto his next projects - a unit producing electricity out of plastic waste and e-rickshaws for garbage collection. At the village school, the number has doubled from 300 students in 2006 to over 600. The classrooms are not just air-conditioned but also have computers and projectors."We have managed to attract more children," said teacher Narendra Jhala. Sarpanch Himanshu Patel says, “The main intention was that we should have an atmosphere of a village, but facilities like those in the city”. It’s just that the village has managed its accounts well and has made optimal use of government schemes.
Born in 1979 in Tumkur district of Karnataka, D K Ravi began his career in civil services as Assistant Commissioner in Gulbarga. He lived a simple life and gained people’s trust. He would go meet them at their homes, sit with them and have food with them irrespective of their status or caste. He worked extensively for marginalized communities and was accessible 24×7. He was transferred 28 times in his career span and collected Rs. 138 crore tax dues in just two weeks. Though he flawlessly performed his duties as an IAS officer, he was a much bigger a person who was doing everything possible to help the poor. He was running free coaching classes on Sundays for poor UPSC aspirants and had resolved to eat at one Dalit family’s home every week. It is said that he was under pressure from his department to slow down on investigations as a lot of big names were involved. It is also claimed that he had received many threat calls from the underworld. Recently he was found dead in his residence under mysterious circumstances. The country will surely miss such an outstanding officer but we hope to see many more Ravis coming up and taking on all the corruption is this country like he did. (Courtesy: Panchaamritam)