Sewa volunteers swung into the rescue and relief work just 3 hours after the devastating earthquake on April 25 and started distributing drinking water, rice, Chevda, snacks and tarpaulins as an immediate relief in many places of Nepal.They were the first responders in many districts like Bhaktapur to help find survivors. They also worked in tandem with Nepalese govt. rescue team in helping them in clearing dead bodies and providing immediate medical help including baby delivery(see story on following page). A team of Doctors from Arogya Bharati, National Medicos Organization & many other groups, joined the rescue/relief with medicines and medical kits that have saved many lives.
The relief material were distributed in all of the 12 worst affected districts of Nepal, with over 90% buildings destroyed in some cases.The volunteers tried to reach far flung villages in some of these districts which are located at high altitudes like 10000+ feet to provide relief material to the people in distress. There had been a demand for Tarpaulins for protecting the families from rain/wind/sun and foodstuff like rice, yellow/black gram, biscuits, milk powder etc, which were distributed by Sewa volunteers through supplies received by air/road/rail routes. HSS led organizations successfully deployed more than 1600 local volunteers for the rescue & relief operations and reached more than 300 villages/560 wards in those districts.
The deadly earthquake and powerful aftershocks had created a great sense of panic in the residents of the affected regions. Hundreds of thousands of houses were destroyed or left unviable, creating huge demand for tarpaulins/tents for immediate shelter. Sewa volunteers worked incessantly to arrange for shelters of the affected people, even in the most remote regions of Nepal. Some times, they had to face people's ire when they ran short of tents/tarpaulins, but sewa volunteers through the trust that they generated among local people, were always able to convince and ensure shelter for all. With the impending monsoons, there was a need for a temporary shelter which can withstand heavy rains. For that, Sewa organizations are working with Nepal govt. for a working mechanism in order to provide zinc/tin sheets and other materials for temporary shelter.
Stories that inspire….
Bharat — Reason to Smile
I met a team of 8 Doctors representing Arogya Bharati, Haryana state who had an experience to share. The bus carrying these Doctors was headed towards Jalbire, a village close to China border. However, the bus came to a halt due to a landslide. The doctors with the kits of medicines decided to walk rest of the distance to Jalbire, only to find that there was an emergency case awaiting them. A pregnant lady was undergoing labour pains and there was no one to attend. The local Doctor at Public Health Center had directed the lady to Kathmandu hospital as being a complicated case. The Team of Doctors swung into action and operated the lady inside the ambulance itself to deliver a baby boy successfully. The new born was named "Bharat" in consultation with the family and father of the boy. It proved to be a moment of joy for the whole village and a time to celebrate amidst devastation.
Sugreeva — The Inspiring Hero
Handling dead bodies is the last act that anyone would like to do, but when there are hundreds of dead bodies to be handled during the calamity, no one would dare to touch. It was the similar story for couple of days at the Teaching Hospital mortuary. Police personnel deployed there preferred to look the other way as the bodies arrived. Yet, a young man stood constantly through the week after terrible earthquake, handling every dead body arriving, embalming as many as one can, packing them with sheets, helping the relatives of the dead to identify their near & dear who had died, or whatever came his way. The hospital doctors and staff were so impressed that they even offered to employ him which he simply declined. He received an award from Hospital due to his extraordinary service.The trauma of handling dead bodies is enormous and yet this young man never complained, no murmur, just performing his duty without expectation of name, fame, money, absolutely nothing. His dedication to the cause is unique, and makes him a true “Karmayogee”. When a journalist inquired where he received the training in handling dead bodies or embalming them, he responded that he had never done this job earlier. This was the first time he performed this. He is an activist like many others and is presently a full timer for Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) in Bihar. He might have handled close to 250 bodies in total within a week, a sort of records. This young man is Sugreeva, a true hero.
Trust begets Trust
Natives of Charghare Gavisa, Nuwakote district resorted to public agitation on the road. The protest stopped the traffic on the road for hours. The villagers had not received any relief material for almost 9 days after the earthquake.A group of volunteers who were travelling along the route and had to stop, met the protestors and calmed them down with a promise that they would be back with relief within 24 hours.The villagers were delighted to find the group back in village next day morning with relief material. A pracharak of HSS, Teerthraj Khanal, led this group and distributed the material. The district Superintendent of Police Sobodh Ghimire applauded the efforts by talking to Teerthraj on phone and guided him to more such places.One of the beneficiaries in Charghare Gavisa, Nuwakote was a widow with 9 children who had to take shelter beneath a Banyan tree. All 10 of them lived with little food for almost 9 days. The lady and her kids returned to village after some persuasion and receiving the relief material.
INAUGURATION OF 5TH COMPUTER CENTRE OF SEWA INTERNATIONAL IN UTTARAKHAND
On 27th May, 2015, the fifth branch of Sewa Path was inaugurated by C S Chauhan, the Deputy collector of Rudraprayag at Shri A P B Government P G College. Sewa Path (with 10 PCs right now) in association with the College aims at providing computer training to B.Ed and other students on a very nominal charge. Initially, the Centre has facilities in basic courses. However, advance courses and job oriented courses are on prospective agenda.The Deputy Collector in his inaugural address lauded the efforts of Sewa Path and College and encouraged the students to get maximum benefits of this facility. The Principal of the College, Shri P S Jangwan, who was instrumental in opening of this Centre advised the students to get benefit of the facility. Shri Devendra Padiyar deliberated upon activities and efforts of Sewa International, Uttarakhand in Rudraprayag and Chamoly districts in the aftermath of Uttarakhand flood. Shri Prahlad Pushpwan presented Sewa’s memento to the Deputy Collector on behalf of the Organization.
NEPAL EARTHQUAKE : RSB TO JOIN HANDS IN REHABILITATION
Rashtriya Sewa Bharati (RSB), which is coordinating the relief operation in Nepal on behalf of various like-minded organisations of Bharat after the devastating earthquake of April 25, has decided to join hands with the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS) in rehabilitation of the victims in Nepal. Though 12 districts are the worst hit, presently the rehabilitation work will be taken up in six districts only. This work would be done with the help of various like-minded organisations in India.“Since the rainy season is to begin in Nepal within one and a half months, the immediate challenge is to provide shelter to the victims who are forced to live in open. Keeping it in view we have decided to provide tin shades to the victims in six districts. As the people already have wood and stones to be used as pillars in houses, the tin shades will provide a roof over their head. This work is going to begin shortly,” said Shri Shyam Parande, International Coordinator of the Sewa International, while talking to Organiser in New Delhi on May 19. He said the help in rehabilitation would depend upon the resources that they collect from the donors. “If we get more help the number of the districts to be covered may increase,” Shri Parande added.Shri Parande pointed out that the rehabilitation plan has been devised in two phases. Under the first phase, the tin shades would be provided and under the second phase some school buildings and community centres would be built. He said the Sewa International in association with some local organisations in Nepal would also help in making arrangements for education, because most of the school buildings have collapsed.Shri Parande who was in Nepal for a week after the earthquake said more than 1,600 swayamsevaks of the HSS and other organisations were pressed into relief activity across the affected districts of Nepal. The other organisations which worked with the HSS in Nepal include the Jan Kalyan Pratishthan Nepal, Pashupati Shiksha Samiti, Pragyik Vidyarthi Parishad Nepal, Vishwa Hindu Parishad Nepal, Janjati Kalyan Parishad Nepal and Sewa International Nepal.Rashtriya Sewa Bharati president Shri Surya Prakash Tonk also briefed the mediapersons about the help extended by the organisation in Nepal. He pointed out that over 15,000 people are feared to have died in Nepal and loss of property is still uncalculated. It is indeed painful for a country with two crore population to bear the brunt of such a magnitude. He said Bharat and Nepal share millennia old cultural, historical and social relationship and it is quite natural for Bharat to extend a timely helping hand in toughest moment of Nepal. People across all states of Bharat, rising to the occasion, collected relief material to be handed over to Rashtriya Sewa Bharati on massive scale. He said till May 19 relief material weighing more than 200 metric tonnes was dispatched and 30 tons more was to be dispatched.He said many temples, mutts and the heritage buildings of archaeological importance have also been destroyed in different parts of Nepal including Kathmandu. Some buildings include Patan Krishna Mandir, Patan Darbar Square, Basantpur Hanuman Dhoka Darbar Square, Bhaktapur Darbar Square, Taleju Mandir. The loss of historical and culturally important Bhimsen Dharahara nine-storey tower is probably the worst loss. Twelve districts of Nepal including Kathmandu, Bhaktapur, Lalitpur, Dhading, Kabhrepalanchok, Nuwakot, Rasuwa, Dolakha, Gorakha, Ramechhap, Sindhupalchok and Lamjung have been the worst hit. In some of the districts, 90 per cent houses have been destroyed.Meanwhile the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh also thanked the people of Bharat for rising to the occasion and sending relief material on massive scale through the Rashtriya Sewa Bharati, which delivered the material on time and continues to send even now.
SWAYAMSEVAKS CLEAN THE PREMISES OF HISTORIC VIRABHADRESHWARA TEMPLE
RSS swayamsevaks cleaned the premises of historic Sri Virabhadreshwara Temple near Maaranagere in Tiptur of Tumakuru District on May 17 as a part of the Sewa Sanghik. The initiative of the swayamsevaks was appreciated by one and all. In the photo the swayamsevaks are seen cleaning the premises.
SEWA BHARATI TRAINING CAMP IN CHENNAI
Sewa Bharati’s annual 10-day training camp began in Chennai on May 9 with 94 trainees. DAV School Principal Smt Geeta inaugurated the camp by lighting the ‘kuthuvilakku’. Smt Kalpana is the Vargadhikari. Shri Duraishankar, president of Sewa Bharati, Uttar Tamil Nadu and other Sewa Pramukhs were also present at the function.
VIDYA BHARATI SCHOOLS IN ODISHA EXCEL AGAIN
Saraswati Shishu Vidya Mandir schools run by Sikhya Vikash Samiti affiliated to Vidya Bharati, continued to perform exceptionally well in Metric Examination in Odisha. A total of 13,939 students from Saraswati Shishu Mandir schools appeared in the Board Examination 2015. Vidya Bharati schools recorded pass percentage (99.57) is much higher than the overall pass percentage in the State—82 per cent.
The Sikhya Vikash Samiti organised a felicitation programme in Bhubaneswar to honour the students, who secured highest marks in the exam. On this occasion, Dr Banchhanidhi Panda, president of the Samiti said the holistic and value based curriculum, an edifying atmosphere, strong teacher-student relationship and strict monitoring system are the main reasons for the success of the Saraswati Shishu Vidya Mandir schools.
MASS MARRIAGE BY KALYAN ASHRAM
It was a wedding ceremony with a difference. The wedding of the couples who were already living as husbands and wives were solemnised at this ceremony. There are many reasons why they did not officially tied the knot till now, the poverty and social backwardness are the prominent reason. The wedding ceremony was organised at Birsa Shishu Shiksha Kendra, Salbari compound in Siliguri on May 10 by the Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram, Uttar Bang Prant. Kalyan Ashram national president Shri Jagdev Ram Oraon highlighted the necessity and sacredness of wedding in the social system. A total of 101 pairs got married following Hindu rituals by performing yajna. Every pair was gifted with some items needed in the daily life. Local MP Shri SS Ahluwalia inaugurated three insurance schemes of Central Government.
TRANSFORMATION THROUGH SEWA
Sadanai Sangamam, a conclave of sevavritis, was organised by the Sewa Bharati at Padmanabhapuram in Kanyakumari district on April 17. A total of 5,150 sewa workers, including 4,850 women and 300 men involved in various sewa activities attended the Sangamam.
Addressing the gathering, RSS Akhil Bharatiya Sewa Pramukh Shri Suhasrao Hiremath said the swayamsevaks today serve the society in the field of education, health, culture, social harmony, village development, etc. Out of 1,52,000 sewa projects carried out across the country, around 10,400 projects are being run in Tamil Nadu alone. “Through sewa we could see a rise in education, culture, economy, self-esteem and morality of socially backward people,” he said.
Swami Vivekananda’s thought of ‘Nar Sewa, Narayana Sewa’ is practically visible in the country today. Kanyakumari district has 1,940 villages and a total of 6,597 sewa projects are run in 1,550 villages of the district. Applauding these sewa activities, Shri Hiremath appealed to the workers to reach all the nook and corners of the district in coming days. Shri Vellimalai Swami Pujya Saidanyananda gave a call to check conversions. Shri Balachandran from Moogambigai Medical College, Dakshin Kshetra Sewa Pramukh Shri Padmakumar, Rashtriya Sewa Bharati organising secretary Shri Sundarlakshman, Sewa Bharati State president Shri Ramanhathan, BJP State joint organising secretary Shri Kesava Vinayakam, Prant Pracharak Shri Senthilkumar, Shri TS Vaikundam and Shri Kamaraj were also present on the occasion.
HOSTELS IN BORDER AREAS OF UTTARAKHAND
Uttarakhand Daivi Apada Peedit Sahayati Samiti has decided to set-up a series of hostels in border districts of the State. Bhoomipujan for such a hostel was performed in Kedardhar on April 9. Similar hostels are to be set up in Pithoragarh, Chamoli, Uttarkashi and Rudraprayag districts, which are near China borders. The hostels will be opened in different phases. These hostels will act as a catalyst of change in the border areas. They will help in rural development work and also putting a check on migration. RSS Kshetra Pracharak Shri Alokji, president of Uttarakhand Daivi Apada Peedit Sahayata Samiti Shri Dinesh Gupta and many other important personalities were present on the occasion. The work on building the hostels has already begun in Naitvar Belt, Purola, Dharchula and Tons Valley.Apart from hostels, health centres, work on local development and social reforms would also be taken up. RSS Prant Pracharak Dr Harish Rautela said the youth staying in the hostels would act as sentinel of the nation. He said since migration is high in border areas, the hostels would keep a watch on the activities there.