Sewa International Design & Development Centreinaugurated

“Many organizations were at the forefront of relief and rehabilitation soon after the devastating earthquake of 2001, serving the affected in whatever way they can, however after a decade a few only are still trying to help out the development of Kutch. Sewa International and Sewa Bharati are among the few who have continued their mission even after a decade and this is the indication of their commitment and perseverance,” exclaimed Chief Minister of Gujarat Shri Narendra Bhai Modi while inaugurating the Sewa International Design & Development Centre, in Jiapar Village, Kutch, Gujarat.

The Chief Ministerarrived right on dot in theremotevillage Jiapar for the inauguration of the newly constructed building of the SIDDC that surprised many. Beating the scorching sun and powerful wind, more than 7000 people had gathered for the inaugural and to listen to the popular leader, women present in dominant number. This Design & Development Centre is already serving more than 400 women drawn from 16 villages, from a rented nearby location.

Sri Narendra Modi was received by Trustees of Sewa International Sri Jay Prakashji, Sri Bimal Kedia, Sri Rameshbhai Mehta, Sri Haribhai Halai and Sri Jadavjibhai Gorasia at the newly constructed premises of the Centre.

After unveiling the plaque and planting a sapling, Narendra Bhai Modi lighted a lamp in the centre. He spent good few minutes observing the activity within centre and having chat with the women trainees and the production team. He could also watch the group of ladies embroidering new patch work for the finished goods before setting off to an eagerly waiting gathering.

Sri Narendra Modi established a direct communication with the gathering through the chanting of “Bharat Mata ki Jai” and said in his typical style in Gujarati “mane yad chne das varas pahelan meyn Narayanpur nu lokarpan karyun hatu” (I very well remember that I had inaugurated this village Narayanpur a decade earlier). He did not miss to pay homage to the founder of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh Pujaniya Dr. Hedgewar by offering flowers and reminding people of Dr. Hedgewar’s contribution to nation building activity. He also took opportunity of reminding people of the changes that have come about in Kutch after the earthquake. Development of the infrastructure, rebuilding and resettlement at the speed not seen before was achieved.

The Chief Minister exhorted the potential strength of Bharat by stating that “this is a country of the youth with 67% population below the age of 35years providing the leverage to this country to excel in world market in this century, provided the youth is empowered with required skills and apt orientation that can empower Bharat for an edge to compete with neighbouring China.He took special note of Sewa International for coming up with the help at the need of the hour in Kutch during earthquake of 2001 and also appreciated the efforts & initiatives taken for rehabilitation in the Indo-Pak border area of Kutch especially for the empowerment of women by training and developing their designing skills in matching the demand of the modern market. His quips that enthused the gathering were “Khusbu Gujarat ki” & “Kutch nahi dekha to Kuchh nahi dekha” (“flavour of Gujarat” & “if one has not seen Kutch, one has seen nothing”) which is an effort to promote Gujarat tourism and opening the gates for handicraft industry of Kutch

Shri Narendra Bhai Modi explicated the initiative of Gujarat government in promoting self help groups of women- and orient, train them to develop in production and marketing skills with professional touch. His government, he informed, has made special provision of funding and promoting this idea through “Mission Mangalm” setting aside Rs 1600cr for the strengthening of SHG movement in the state.

Chairman of Sewa International Sri Jai Prakash welcomed the guests on the dais while Sri Ramesh Bhai Mehta elaborated the Sewa International activity in Kutch post rehabilitation. Prant Sewa Pramukh Sri Ashok Rawal elucidated the rehabilitation program after the earthquake taken up jointly by Sewa Bharati Gujarat and Sewa International. Chief Guest Sri Ashok Bhai Shah and Guest of Honour Sri Babubhai Ahir appreciated the arts & crafts of Kutch and promised to provide marketing platform for the finished goods from this Design & Development Centre. Shri Raghunath Verabally received the felicitation from Sri Narendra Bhai Modi on behalf of India Development & Relief Fund in the absence of Dr. Vinod Prakash, Presidnet of IDRF. Kutch Kala Sewa Trust is the implanting agency in Kutch looking after the activities of SIDDC. President of Kutch Kala Sewa Trust Shri Hari Bhai Halai thanked the honourable guests and the gathering at the end.

Sewa International to launch family services project in U.S.

From Tsunami relief in Ja- pan or fl ood relief in Pakistan to building a weavers’ cooperative in Cleveland, Ohio, or closer home, helping the Bhutanese refugees rebuild their lives in Houston, or improving the life of villagers in Kenya or India, volunteers of Sewa International, have lived up to their motto, serving humanity is serving god. Sewa International USA, a faithbased nonprofit organization, guided by the Hindu philosophy of peace and harmony, helps people, irrespective of their religion, race, color or nationality and helps increase civic engagement of the communities in the United States to volunteer and promote volunteering. Volunteers literally live up to the meaning of the Sanskrit word “Sewa,” “service above self.” Sewa International was incorporated in the U.S. in 2003 and the fl edgling organization has now spread to 38 chapters spanning 20 metros in 25 states. Speaking at the conclusion of the sixth annual conference of Sewa International in Houston recently, President Sree N. Sreenath said the organization donated more than a $1 million to various projects last year. For example, Sewa volunteers have provided more than 80,000 volunteer hours for the Bhutanese rehabilitation project all over the U.S., Sreenath said. Ramesh Bhutada of Houston, director on the board of Sewa International, expressed the confi dence that in five years “Sewa” would become a premiere organization. Based on the growth of the organization in its initial years and enthused by the volunteerism of people associated with the group, Bhutada said “People asset is critical to an organization and we are off to a good start.” Volunteers build an organization, he added. Giving money is considered the lowest form of charity, but giving knowledge or providing selfl ess service with no expectation of a reward, is the highest form of charity and Sewa is a living example of that, Bhutada said. Dr. Radheshyam Dwivedi, chairman of the board, said Sewa is a “charity with a difference. It is inspirational.” At the national conference in Houston, Sewa board of directors and representatives from various chapters decided on future projects and identified 20 “star” projects, both in India and abroad. “As the community needs are multiplying with growing numbers, there is an urgent need to assist families from a Hindu perspective. Sewa is happy to offer Family Services to the community,” Sreenath said. Sewa will launch a pilot program to provide family services. Sewa volunteers have noticed an upward trend in families seeking external help to manage an emergency situation. The experience, cultural understanding and a caring hand is what Sewa seeks to provide through this program. “Because most members of the Hindu community in USA are immigrants, they do not posses the knowledge and are not surrounded by an experienced circle of people to navigate the American system in a crisis”. “Emergencies leave families emotionally exhausted especially when people are away from their extended families. A lack of culturally compatible support system leads families to disastrous consequences,” Sreenath said. “Sewa’s Boston and Houston chapters have taken up the Family Services as a pilot project this year. We are working very closely with Boston based Indian Circle for Caring (http://ouricc.org) to implement this project,” he said. Sewa helps other organizations and one such program in Maharashtra helps in reuniting runaway children with their parents. In Mumbai railway station, on an average 125 children arrive daily and they fall prey to tobacco, alcohol and drugs. Sewa helps the Samatol Foundation in running a rehabilitation camp for the hapless children. This is one of myriad projects of Sewa in 17 different countries. During the public event in the national conference, Sreenath gave away certifi cates and mementos to volunteers from Sewa Houston chapter. Sewa Houston President Manju Gupta, Vice President Vasudev Singh and Chapter Coordinator Suryansh Purwar helped organize the national conference. Sewa can be contacted at (708) USA-SEWA, or atinfo@sewausa.organdhttp://www.sewausa.org.

SANGH IN ACTION – CLEANING DRIVE BY SWAYAMSEVAKS IN A GOVT. HOSPITAL

RSS, South Chennai coordinators approached 100 years old Government hospital at Royapettah in Chennai for taking up a cleaning drive in the premises. On 13 May, 2012 over 180 volunteers of various teams like sports group, IT professionals, auditors, teachers and students assembled in the morning at the hospital from different parts of Chennai. A brief inaugural session was presided by Ma. Sanghachalak Durai Shankar ji, famous actor Damu, Hospital Sergeants Thirumal and Khaleelullah Rahman. Shri Durai Shankar said that sangha inculcates spirit of Sewa through Shakha. Actor Damu was highly impressed by the young disciplined crowd assembled there and exhorted the volunteers to continue serving the society. Six groups were formed to clean a huge sump of 48,000 litres capacity, 5 Over head tanks, 2 wards, open space around the hospital and a little temple. Among the other areas planned for cleaning was abandoned go down in the old hospital premises, area which was filled with food packets probably dumped many weeks was also cleared. At the end of the programme Sewa Pramukh Raman ji briefly spoke appreciating the effort of swayamsewaks and asked them to take the efforts to Shakha level. The RMO who went round the hospital to survey the work carried out was very impressed and said “Only RSS can do such a work with a cohesive team of people from different walks of life”.

Beggar who gave alms to the poor

-Radha Sharma[A story that can put thousands of rich indians to shame for never give a penny for poor people]AHMEDABAD: A beggar on Saturday proved that charity only needs a big heart rather than deep pockets. Khimjibhai Prajapati, 64 and a beggar in Mehsana for a decade, donated clothes to 11 poor hearing and speech-impaired girls at the Shrimati Kesarbai Kilachand School for the Deaf.Rich philanthropists have been a more common sight but it was the first time ever that a beggar had walked into the school to share his savings. It was an unusual sight.

An unkempt Khimjibhai in tattered, unwashed clothes, limped through the school gates on crutches and placed the brand new clothes in the hands of 11 eager girls. He had used his savings of Rs 3,000 to buy the clothes.Khimjibhai begs outside the Simandhar Swami Jain Temple in Mehsana and outside the Hanuman Temple. He lives nearby and asks the devotees for alms.

So why did he give alms to the unfortunate children at the school? Khimjibhai said, “I just need two meals a day and some money to send back to my ailing wife in Rajkot to cure her ulcers and lung infection. Apart from this, whatever I earn I use to buy food for poor, hungry people. Since a long time I wished to do something for girls and I am happy to donate for them”. Khimjibhai used to run a tea stall in Rajkot but escalating prices and shrinking profit margins wreaked huge losses and left him on the streets. His faith in God brought him to Mehsana where he took shelter outside the Jain temple. “Whether rich or poor, one should always try to help the needy,” he says.

Khimjibhai helped an orphanned girl marry some time ago.Bharat Shah, a trustee of the institution that runs the school, said, “I have never seen such philanthropy in the 35 years of career. He just goes on to prove that the true donor is he who has one roti and shares half with the hungry.”One of those who received clothes was Swati Bhagwandas, an orphan who has been at the residential school for years. The 18-year old’s eyes shone with happiness.

HAF DEMANDS FORMAL STATUS FOR HINDU REFUGEES FROM PAKISTAN

The Hindu American Foundation (HAF) has urged the Bharatiya government this week to provide formal legal status to Hindu refugees fleeing religious persecution in Pakistan. According to several human rights organizations, thousands of Pakistani Hindus have sought refuge in Bharat in recent years, but the Bharatiya government has refused to officially recognize them as refugees. As a result, most Pakistani Hindus live on the margins of society in Bharat, without legal documents and unable to access government benefits. Although there has been a steady flow of Hindus crossing the border since the 1990s, rapidly deteriorating conditions in Pakistan have caused a significant increase in migration over the last few years. The upsurge in kidnappings and forced conversions of Hindu girls, in particular, has created an atmosphere of fear and insecurity amongst Pakistan’s Hindu community.

SIKHS IN TURBANS CAN NOW SERVE WASHINGTON POLICE

Sikh police officers in the American capital will be allowed to wear turbans, beards and other religious items while on the job. The new uniform policy announced by Washington DC police Chief Cathy Lanier makes it the first major metropolitan police department in the US to permit Sikhs to maintain their articles of faith. Developed with the Sikh American Legal Defence and Education Fund (SALDEF), the new police policy states that Sikh officers can wear turbans that are the same colour as the uniform that they would otherwise be required to wear, with the department badge that is normally on hats pinned to the front of the turban.

BIHAR FARMER’S 12-YEAR-OLD SON CRACKS IIT-JEE

A child prodigy from Bhojpur district in Bihar has created history by cracking the IIT-JEE 2012 at the age of 12 years and nine months. Satyam Kumar of Bakhorapur village under Barahara block in Bhojpur district got all-Bharat rank (AIR) 8,137 in the prestigious competition. He qualified from Mumbai zone, and is still awaiting his plus two results. Born on July 20, 1999, in an illiterate farmer’s family, he showed his talent from childhood itself. His father Sidhnath Singh and mother Pramila Singh recognized his talent and he was admitted to Central Public School, Patna, in Standard IX at a tender age. But he left his study there midway and went to Kota in Rajasthan to join a coaching institute there. The institute’s director, R K Verma, himself took his test and found latent genius in him. Verma helped finance his studies from Standard 9 to class 12 that resulted in his success in the one of the toughest examinations in the country at such a tender age. Satyam had passed class X board examination from a Kota school. Sidhnath Singh said his family members, Satyam’s teachers and he himself always marvelled at his talent and they felt that the boy would do something extraordinary in his life one day. The success of his son had brought laurels to the family, which was till now in oblivion.

YOGA STRESS RELIEF FOR SOLDIERS

Faced with the highest army suicide rates in at least 30 years, U.S. military officials are examining ways to help treat psychologically wounded soldiers. A study published in the March issue of the journal Injury Prevention found the number of U.S. military suicides rose by 80 percent from 2004 to 2008. The increased risk of suicide is linked to combat service in Iraq and Afghanistan and mental health problems like post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that may occur after exposure to a traumatic event such as military combat, violence or a natural calamity. Research reports that yoga practice can help relieve PTSD symptoms like psychological distress, anxiety and sadness. According to the RAND Center for Military Health Policy Research, approximately 18.5 percent of returning soldiers from Iraq or Afghanistan have PTSD. Now the U.S. military is turning to yoga to help manage combat stress and decrease the risk of PTSD and suicide.

SCHOLARSHIP FOR DIASPORA CHILDREN

The Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs launched a scheme called the “Scholarship Programme for Diaspora Children” (SPDC) in 2006-07, to assist children/wards of Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) and Non-Resident Indian (NRIs) in pursuing under graduate courses in several disciplines in Bharat. For SDPC 2012-13; 100 scholarships are being offered for undergraduate courses in several disciplines including Engineering/Architecture/Technology, Humanities/Liberal Arts, Commerce, Management – BBA/BBM, Journalism, Hotel Managemen etc. The programme is open only to PIOs/NRIs from the specified 40 countries having a larger concentration of Bharatiya Diaspora. For more info seewww.edcilindia.co.in.

UK POLICE BRAVERY AWARD FOR NRI BUILDER

Sukhwinder Singh, a London- based NRI builder who was stabbed to death while he was confronting two muggers who had snatched a woman’s bag in London in 2010, has been given a police public bravery award posthumously. The ACPO Police Public Bravery Awards that were presented in Manchester yesterday recognise outstanding acts of courage. The awardees are nominated by the Metropolitan Police Service. Singh, 31, chased the muggers after witnessing the attack on a 28-year-old woman in Barking, East London. When he caught up with them he was fatally injured by a single stab wound. Acting Detective Chief Inspector, Andrew Kelly, who is leading the investigation, said: “Sukhwinder’s family remain devastated by his loss but are very proud that he has been nominated for this award and of his courageous “.

DURGA VAHINI PLAYED A VITAL ROLE IN UPLIFTMENT OF WOMEN

Women are the base of our culture. To make the country strong, all round development of women is very important for which Durga Vahini, the women wing of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), has played a vital role said North Delhi Mayor Meera Agrawal. She was addressing the valedictory session of a week long training camp of Durga vahini in north Delhi on June 1. The camp was held under the guidance of Shri Ashok Kumar, the state vice president-VHP and was headed by state co-convenor of Durga vahini Mrs Sanjana Chaudhary & Ms. Kushum jointly. The guiding role was played by state head of Marti Shakti Mrs Simmi Ahuja.

HEF USA CONDUCTS TEACHERS APPRECIATION NATIONWIDE

Coinciding with the national Teacher Appreciation Week celebrated during the month of May, the Hindu Education Foundation held the fifth annual Teacher’s Appreciation program called ‘Guru Vandana’ throughout the USA to highlight the importance of the Teachers in shaping the future citizens of the country. Guru Vandana means “Reverence for the Teacher” – it is the thanksgiving from a student to a teacher, expressing his/her gratitude. The Guru Vandana program provides a platform for students to honor their teachers, for imparting knowledge and wisdom to them. This event was organized in collaboration with the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS) USA, in 27 school districts including schools from the Houston, Sunnyvale, New York, and Boston areas. More than 325 teachers from about 125 schools have been honored by their students in the presence of large audiences.School Teachers, Superintendents, Executive Directors and Mayors of the towns have enthusiastically participated in the programs and appreciated the initiative. “They also explained a lot of the culture, and I didn’t know about it so it was a learning experience for me” said Professor Xavier Garza from the University of Houston, Victoria. One teacher response after the event “The thanks is all mine! What a special day. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the honor bestowed upon my colleagues and me. The kids were a joy to watch—so talented and devout. The food was outstanding, and the gifts were too kind. I felt like a million bucks leaving the ceremony on Saturday.” The event and its unique Hindu philosophical theme was to acknowledge the role of teacher in a student’s life. Teachers and other officials also appreciated how Hindu families are helping shape the teacher and student relationship in fostering excellence in education.

SEWA USA RAISES $30,000 FOR EDUCATING CHILDREN

In a very intense and gripping game that weathered repeated interruption from the rains, ‘Newport Nukes’, a team from Jersey City won the “YFS Cricket For Charity – 2012” tournament organized by Youth For Sewa (YFS) volunteers from Sewa International’s NY Metro Chapter on June 2-3. For the second year in a row, Sewa International succeeded in blending enthusiasm for cricket and a desire to help a good cause – educating underprivileged children in Bharat. This year’s event raised $30,000 and had registrations from 350 players from 34 teams. Compared to 2011, both the funds-raised and the participation increased by 20%. Mr. Raj Mukherji, Jersey City’s Deputy Mayor, while presenting trophy and medals said he was very impressed by the participation in the tournament and liked the concept of selfless service portrayed by Sewa and stressed the importance of volunteerism in building a healthy community.

BALAGOKULAM STARTED IN SPOKANE, WASHINGTON

15 parents and 10 children participated the event on June 2. A short introduction for the parents, talk about Balagokulam goals with examples, games, mandal Jodi men Gho, stories, sloka, the prarthana—Guru Brahma Guru Vishna etc. were the highlights of the event.

OBAMA NOMINATES “SRI” SRINIVASAN TO SECOND HIGHEST COURT IN US

US President Barack Obama on June 11 nominated Bharat-born legal luminary Srikanth Srinivasan to the Federal Court of Appeals, the highest ever judicial appointment of aBharatiya-American in the U.S. There are 13 Court of Appeals across the U.S. with 179 judges, and the Washington DC AppealsCourt to which Srinivasan has been nominated is considered particularly influential, with Obama himself calling it ”the nation’s second highest court.””Sri” Srinivasan, as he is popularly known, was born in Chandigarh and grew up in Lawrence, Kansas, before receiving a BA, and later a JD and MBA from Stanford University. Srinivasan has also taught at Harvard Law School.

BEIJING UNIVERSITY TO TEACH GUJARATI

Beijing University is all set to offer a two-year full-time residential program in Gujarati language for those keen to work in Gujarat. By January 2013, the university’s language and culture department will roll out an extensive curriculum covering various aspects of the language. Faculty from colleges and universities of Gujarat are likely to teach the course through an open invitation and interview. Gujarat is eyeing over 10 per cent of the total Chinese investment of $100 billion expected in Bharat in the next five years. Also, some 30 Chinese companies have shown interest in developing a Rs 25,000 crore township in Gujarat.

Yoga Shivir by Bharat Vikas Parishad in Karnal jail

Karnal unit of the Bharat Vikas Parishad organised a yoga camp in the district jail on June 9. Speaking on the occasion, Deputy Commissioner Renu S Phulia said yoga is must for keeping the body and mind fit. She appealed to the prisoners that those who are trained in yoga should teach it to others. Jail Superintendent Shri Sher Singh welcomed the Deputy Commissioner and spoke about the facilities being provided to the prisoners. Some prisoners also spoke about the change that they underwent while staying in the jail. They also promised that they would live a transformed life after completing their sentence.

Strong women make a strong nation—Alkatai Inamda

A 15-day training camp of Rashtra Sevika Samiti, concluded at Saraswati Shishu Mandir, Harinagar in Delhi on June 3. A total of 136 Sevikas from all over Delhi participated in the camp, which had begun on May 19. Editor of Ping magazine Smt Neelam Pratap Rudy, Pramukh Karyavahika of the Samiti Shantakkaji and Sahakaryavahika Alkatai Inamdar were among the prominent personalities who attended the concluding ceremony. According to Smt Maheshlata Bali, many senior Sevika Samiti and Sangh leaders guided the Sevikas during the fortnight long training camp. She also informed the gathering about the daily routine, which was followed by the Sevikas while undergoing training. In her speech Alkatai Inamdar said the concluding ceremony of the training camp is basically the beginning of the Samiti work in the field. “Our shakha is a holy place for building responsible women that the nation needs today. All our activities in the shakha are aimed at imparting samskars. Every woman should think what the society needs today and how she can contribute in it,” she said. “Need of the hour is that we all should work to rectify the imbalance that has been created in various fields of social life. The women should also be empowred so that they can keep their family and society untied,” she emphasised. She further said a weak woman cannot make a strong nation. It is the responsibility of the woman that every member of the family should be a good citizen, patriot and responsible, she said.

Rural development is incomplete without environment protection—Prakash Kamat

“Tree plantation is equally important for rural development as are providing education, health and employment opportunities to the villagers. Therefore, we should generate love for trees,” said the Akhil Bharatiya Gram Vikas Pramukh of Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram Shri Prakash Kamat. He was speaking at a function organised at Khanvel, Dadra Nagar Haveli, on June 5. The function was organised by Dadra Nagar Haveli unit of Kalyan Ashram at Surya Niketan-Mota Randha. People from 12 villages of Khanvel and 41 villages of Randa participated in the function. Prior to the plantation, the saplings of various fruits and herbs were worshipped. Even the villagers who attended the function were also granted saplings in the form of prasad and were requested to plant and nurture them with utmost care and affection.