Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Sewa Sandesh
August 2015
A series of landslides triggered by overnight heavy rain left at least 50 people dead, 23 missing and more than 500 displaced in West Bengal’s Darjeeling District on July 1. The landslides at 25 places in Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong sub-divisions also washed away portions of highways, including a bridge, cutting off the road link to the region. 22 deaths occurred in Mirik, where 13 people were also reported missing. The remaining 17 died in Kalimpong, Lava, Sukhia and Gorubathan areas. Twenty persons were reported injured and 15 missing at 8 Mile and 11 Mile areas in Kalimpong. About 300 people shifted to relief camps organised by the administration. Union Minister of State Shri Kiren Rijiju and MP Shri SS Ahluwalia visited the affected areas. The Sangh Volunteers rushed to the affected areas as they got the news of landslide. About 60 workers under the banner of Uttar Bang Sewa Bharati joined the relief activity. They provided eatable items, milk powder, biscuits, water, tarpaulin, blankets, clothes, rice, flour, etc to the victims. Bastuhara Sahayata Samiti from Kolkata also dispatched relief material. A team of doctors from Siliguri under the leadership of Dr Mani Lama also rushed to the spot.

Nepal Earthquake caused massive damage to 500K houses & 7000 schools, which meant that innumerable school kids(~1 million) lost their study/school materials also in the rubble. On his  visit to Nepal, Shri Shyam Parande, International Coordinator, Sewa International found that the need of School Kits was much more than anticipated and it could really help kick-start education process in the country. It was thus decided to almost double the existing lot to a total of "65,000" school kits, of which now 34,000 kits need to be procured and sent to Nepal .A press conference to announce the same was hosted in Nepal Reporters Club on Aug 5. SI's partner organisation HSS Nepal's District Coordinators(pracharaks) have been working in close contact with Nepal Government's LDO/CDOs in order to select schools in the remote and least accessible areas which have been most affected and need most assistance. SI has received hundreds of applications from affected schools requesting School Kits drive to be conducted. Its Nepal team is working overtime to painstakingly ensure that school kits reach to most needy kids in affected areas only. To ensure that, SI has decided to only supply kits to the schools who provide it with the list of most deserving(low income) students. School kits assembling process at Bhairwah has received unprecedented support from local community where students from nearby schools have been coming over in the evening everyday to help with the mammoth task of assembling 31000 kits. 
School Kit Drive reaches Gorkha district, one of the most quake-affected regions of Nepal with the help of SI's partner organization, Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh NEPAL. Students of Sai Global School, Bhairwah, were seen engaged enthusiastically in the back-breaking work of assembling school kits, displaying in a true sense of how sewa must be performed. Completely self-less and without expectation of any returns, only for the benefit for the quake-affected brethren. Kudos to their sewa spirit!!
Sewa International's Yuva For Sewa program intern, Amruta Houde, just completed her 2 months(June-July) internship in the North-East India. She truly had a transforming effect on the people in N-E, especially adolescent girls(12-18 years) for whom she conducted mental and physical health awareness programs.
Born & brought up abroad and with all the luxuries bestowed on her, she really had no real connection with the miseries that are common place in India. But, she still felt her responsibility & commitment to contribute to her nation's growth by helping the most vulnerable. She continues her journey to Uttarakhand where similar programs will be conducted for adolescent girls.
Sewa International Design & Development Center is being supported by Ministry of Textiles, Govt of India. The modern tailoring and cutting machines were inaugurated by local Member of Parliament Shri Vinod Bhai Chavda in the presence of Shri Ramesh Bhai Mehta, Chairman Sewa International and Shri Sanjay Hegde, Treasurer Sewa International on 24th June in Jiapar, Kutch, Gujarat.                                                                                            
Delhi unit of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad has been in forefront of extending help to the Hindu refugees from Pakistan. Bhagini Nivedita Sewa Nyas, a VHP inspired Trust, provided school uniform and books to 150 such students on July 24. Speaking on the occasion general secretary of the Trust Shri Mahavir Prasad Gupta expressed happiness that no matter it took many years, the children of Pak Hindus are now able to go to school. These children have been staying in Delhi for the last five years but were not able to seek admission in the schools. But now they can study. Some VHP volunteers have been teaching to them for some time. Janakpuri unit of Bharat Vikas Parishad provided stationary to the children. Shri Ishkumar Chadha, Shri Bhushanlal Parashar, Shri Brahmdatt Bhardwaj, Shri Ashwini Kumar and Shri Ramdhan were also present on the occasion.   
A total of 921 delegates from 338 villages attend two day Gram Vikas Varga at Bagalkote, north Karnataka
The two-day Gram Vikas Sangam was organised at Bagalkote in north Karnataka from August 15 to 16. A total of 921 delegates from 338 villages of north Karnataka attended the camp. The unique conclave was organised by Gram Vikas Vibhag, RSS north Karnataka. RSS Akhil Bharatiya Vyavastha Pramukh Shri Mangesh Bhende addressed the workers at the concluding ceremony. Kshetra Pracharak Shri Shyam Kumar was also present. On August 15, the camp for comprehensive rural development was inaugurated by veteran organic farmer Shri Tammannappa Budni. At 7.45 am, the National Flag was hoisted, participants offered salutes to the tricolour. RSS Akhil Bharatiya Gram Vikas Pramukh Dr Dinesh and Prant Sanghachalak Prof Khageshan Pattanashetty spoke on the occasion. Various sessions were organised for entrepreneurs Training session, success stories on rural development, videos of sewa activities, inspiring social projects, few personalities who are successfully heading rural development projects, special initiatives like ‘my village, my dream’ were introduced to the participants.
  • Meet Shri Ishwar Singh Bargah, 48, of Bhilai, Durg district (Chhattisgarh, Bharat). After having worked as a gardener in a Society that runs educational institutions  in Bhilai, Ishwar  rose to become the Principal of another college being run by the same group - setting an example for people coming from lower and underprivileged sections of the society. 48-year-old Ishwar now has a doctorate in education. Ishwar’s  journey of endurance began at the age of 19, when after finishing school education in Ghutiya village and Baithalpur, he came to Bhilai in 1985 looking for a job to support his family. He lived with extended family and joined a salesman job in a cloth store at a pay of Rs 150 per month, through which he managed to apply for BA. Almost two months later, with his uncle's connection in Kalyan College in Bhilai, he started working there as a gardener, then as parking stand keeper, and then as supervisor of ongoing construction work of the college building, on daily wages. Alongside, he continued to study and graduated in BA in 1989. Ishwar then joined in the college as a craft teacher. He used to work during night hours as watchman in the college to attend classes during day time. Considering his capabilities enough for teaching, college authorities appointed him as an assistant professor in the college which is run by Chhattisgarh Kalyan Shiksha Samiti. While continuing his job in the same college, he also completed MEd, BPEd and MPhil there. And later he was recommended by Samiti members for their newly set up college, the Chhattisgarh Kalyan Shiksha Mahavidyalaya in Aheri where he joined as principal on deputation in 2005
    • A private tourist bus with 37 passengers from Ernakulam (in Kerala) to Tirupathi (in Andhra Pradesh) met with an accident near Ambur, Vellore District, on August 26 morning. Swayamsevaks of RSS immediately plunged in rescue work; they co-ordinated efforts to reach their relatives of the accident hit; they augmented quick medical help in addition to other services.  A small boy died in that accident. Around 15 persons were admitted in Ambur General Hospital and 21 injured persons were admitted in Vellore General Hospital.  Around 50 Swayamsevaks were in the relief work at Ambur and Vellore GH.  Shri Raman, Vibhag Pracharak organised the relief work.  Shri Rajendran, RSS Kshetra Karyavah, Shree Jagadeesan, Sah Jilla Sanghachalak and activists of Hindu organisations also met the injured persons consoled them. 
    • From Ahmednagar district it comes the story of another 'Mountain Man', who like the more famous Dashrath Manjhi, took on the task of cutting hills to build roads. Shri Rajaram Bhapkar, 84, a former teacher at Gundegaon village in Ahmednagar district (Maharashtra, Bharat) has cut through seven hills in last 57 years to make 40-km roads. "At the time of Independence, there was not even a 'paywat' (walking trail) connecting Gundegaon to adjoining village," Bhapkar, who has studied till seventh standard, said. When Bhapkar was working at Kolegaon; people from his villages had to cross three villages to reach there. Bhapkar remembers asking government authorities to build a road cutting across the 700 meter high Santosha hill. With no help forthcoming, he embarked on a journey of grit and determination, which 57 years later would result in seven roads, altogether 40km long, linking his village to the adjoining villages. Earlier, the route to Kolegaon via Deulgaon was 29 km long. The distance became just 10 km after Bhapkar, through sheer grit, cut through the hill and made a kuchcha road. He paid wages from his pocket to those who accompanied him in the road work. "In 1968 not even a cycle could pass through the earlier walking trail. Now, big vehicles ply on this road," a villager said. Bhapkar completed the road in 1997. He said he spent his entire post retirement earning and pension to fund the road work. Besides working with spade and shovel, he also hired heavy duty excavator machines for expediting the road work.
    • You might have spotted differently-abled people seeking alms. But have you ever come across any such person using the money so generated for charity? Meet Shri R Selvaraj (73) of Karaikudi (Tamilnadu, Bharat) who begs for a living but gainfully utilises the money by buying stationery for disadvantaged school students in the neighbourhood. Since 2006, after he gave up his job as a cycle mechanic, Selvaraj has been rendering this service by begging. “I’ve been helping disadvantaged students from 1968 after I witnessed children from poor families struggling to get educated due to financial problems”, says Selvaraj. He, however, adds that he never appealed to anyone after telling them that he has helping students. “Though I board buses with difficultly, I do it for the children. If a student wants a bag, I try to get it and surprise him or her with it. When I do such an act, it gives me immense satisfaction,” said Selvaraj, an Economics graduate. Through social media and by talking to people, he has got some benefactors. One such person from Chennai has been sending Rs 500 every month without fail for the last two years after learning about Selvaraj’s service. Swayamsevaks of Chennai, active in social media, have in a big way appreciated (1) The Editor of The New Indian Express, Chennai (2) Reporter Vignesh who thoughtfully did the Selvaraj story (3) the kind-hearted Selvaraj and (4) the nameless benefactor of Chennai.  This, to spread the good word, encourage the media to come out with more such good news and enthusing readers to respond to good news to begin with.(Courtesy: Panchaamritam)
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