Sewa Sandesh September 2017
Swacchata Rally By Sewa Kashi
On the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti 2 October 2017 Sewa International, Ramnagar Varanasi organized a rally for Swacch Bharat Abhiyan at Machharahtta ward, Ramnagar. All the people of the basti especially women and children took part in this rally enthusiastically. The rally was organized under the project ‘Swacch-Shikshit-Kushal Kashi’ with the objective of spreading awareness on cleanliness and motivate people to keep their surroundings clean. The people of Ramnagar supported the program and appreciated the efforts taken by Sewa International Bharat for the development of the Ramnagar area and its residents. SewaInternational Bharat team emphasized on the message of cleanliness and service given by Mahatma Gandhi, Father of the Nation. Under the guidance of Sewa team in Varanasi, the capacity building exercise for the cleanliness drive has been going on. We aim to keep the streets and houses of Ramnagar area clean and make it open defecation free by next year.
Hurricane Irma: Relief and Rescue Operations By Sewa US
Hurricane Irma made a landfall at Tampa, Florida, USA on 11 Sept 2017, the nation was still reeling from the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey in Texas when the tragedy struck with Irma. Sewa USA having done the laudable job of relief, rescue and rehab of those affected from the Hurricane Harvey, started preparing for the Irma well in advance. Sewa USA volunteers developed a huge and effective network through social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp et al. They distributed flyers regarding the safety measures to be taken during, after and before the hurricane strikes. Sewa USA established shelter homes in the houses and temples equipped with facilities to host the affected people. They prepared for the hurricane well in advance. In order to provide shelter homes, the volunteers first identified the host families and prepared them for the task. Then press release was published regarding the list of shelter homes and facilities available to them. The registration desk and hotline numbers were established along with 24/7 helpdesk in various areas in different time zones. After seeking out affected people through various means established and manually, volunteers guided the victims to the shelter homes, where they were provided not only place to live but food, medical supplies and contact with other relatives if possible.
The work of the volunteers was praised by not only the victims but other agencies involved in the relief and rescue including governmental and non-governmental agencies. Sewa USA in a very short span of time has gained the trust and respect of the communities due to their selfless service and respect for the human life and nature.
Solar Power Plants for Underprivileged and Tribal Children in Odisha
The energy choices we make during this pivotal time in the 21st century, will have huge consequences on health, climate, and economy for decades to come. SewaInternational in continuation of the developmental projects in tribal areas of Odisha has installed two 5kWp solar power plants at Taratari Bal Vidya Niketan and Amruta Vanee Sewa Pratishthanam, Balasore, Odisha. These schools provide education in the rural areas of Balasore, with the special focus on underprivileged and tribal children. The 5kWp Solar Power Plant has capacity to operate all major loads including fans, CFL Lights and Computer, Television (if installed in future) in the hostel and school. The 5kWP Solar Power plant is tentatively generating an average of 20 kWh electricity units per day. Sewa International believes that Energy efficiency is a key step to reducing our impact on climate change and creating a sustainable energy in future. This project would help developing an eco-friendly environment and it could develop to become a model project for the energy deficient and remote areas of the country.
Hurricane Harvey: Sewa USA at Work
When nature strikes, the best and most equipped can still be left floundering. Hurricane Harvey, the costliest natural disaster in US history left 200,000 homes destroyed, but the initiative of Sewa USA volunteers have done laudable work in one of the most amazing relief operations.
Hurricane Harvey, the costliest natural disaster in US history, slammed the Greater Houston area on 25 August 2017 inundating homes, roads, and buildings, and affected one in four Houstonians, as rain poured in a deluge for almost a week. Thirty-three trillion gallons of water got dumped on the region! The damage was so severe that more than 200,000 homes were destroyed (50,000 in Houston alone), a million cars wrecked, and metro stations, schools, highways and other public facilities flooded. Hurricane Harvey is being considered the largest calamity in the United States in recent memory. The economic devastation is estimated by the Texas Governor’s office at more than $180 billion, and that it may take five years to rebuild.
Caught in the hurricane were 150,000 people of Indian origin, with one in six, marooned, evacuated or needing rescue. Among them were 247 students from India studying at the University of Houston. Many of these students, motivated by the rescue efforts by Indian-American teams, joined as volunteers, making their first American experience a truly life-affirming experience.
Sewa International coordinated efforts to bring together over 800 volunteers for the critical rescue effort. Sewa volunteers sprang into action even though some of their own homes had been flooded and they and their families had to move into friends’ homes and hotels. A hundred Sewa volunteers from its 41 chapters across the United States joined hands working remotely on the rescue and relief coordinating fund-raising, communication, social media updates, etc.
As the rain and wind abated, volunteers have switched to providing relief to the hurricane’s victims by organizing health clinics, cleaning the flooded homes, and providing hot meals by coordinating work with a network of partner organizations.
Sewa International raised $250,000 in the first 10 days. Volunteers served hot meals; provided food, water, supplies and medical support; arranged temporary housing; and began helping in cleaning up homes of the underserved and economically-challenged minorities – Hispanics, African Americans, Cambodian Americans, senior citizens, and single mothers. Its volunteers actively worked in five different suburbs around the Houston metro area. They delivered 1,000 hot meals a day to various shelters in the first 10 days. With the help of the various local organizations, they provided food and supplies for 5,000 hurricane victims. Ten trucks of water and food supplies were sent to various shelters in Houston and nearby small towns, thanks to the generous community of Indian business owners. In many areas of the city, volunteers reached distressed people much earlier than a big organization like the Red Cross did. In fact, Sewa International has been at the forefront of rescue and relief from the day the hurricane hit. Volunteers worked shoulder-to-shoulder with the US Coast Guard and other agencies in rescue and relief. With a 24/7 telephone hotline and a band of dedicated volunteers monitoring social media, Sewa International pitched in with more than its expected weight.
Generating Livelihoods for Local Tribal People in Tripura
Education forms an important vertical in all the projects of Sewa International. The education projects of Sewa International benefit more than 2 lakh kids across the country. The experience of being associated with kids has been overwhelming and enriching. The innocent and joyous smile of children is the perk like none. But it was heart-breaking to see our Bru Tribal kids struggle with their studies while sitting on the bamboo thatch due to make-shift arrangements in our tutors’ homes (which also serve as Sewa International Bharat’s Remedial Education Centres in Refugee Camps in Tripura), so we thought of re-purposing the ever-visible portable lap desk design as a study-desk for these students. Idea is to generate local tribal livelihoods for anything we do, so preparing the first few wooden samples locally, which costs around Rs.350 but are very comfortable to students and to bring smiles. Small Wins do Count!! This is another step towards the fulfilling journey of Sewa i.e. service.
Soil Health Awareness Camp in Varanasi
Soil functions as a vital living ecosystem for plants. It is important to focus on the health of the soil for the better produce and sustainable farming. Depleting soil quality could be a deterring factor for quality production in times to come.Keeping this in mind, Sewa International conducted a Soil Health Awareness camp on 3September 2017, at Gangapur Village, Varanasi; where more than 100 farmers participated. The knowledge sharing session was followed by plant distribution and a felicitation ceremony for the farmers. They were given ‘Soil Health Certificates’ and saplings of ginger and Tomato plants, which were grown in Sewa International nursery.
The trainers of the camp were Mr. Surendra Singh, Professor Banaras Hindu University and Dr. Nagendra Rai, Indian Vegetable Research Center, Varanasi. The farmers were given pointers on the following:
- Attain correct pH of soil and build up the quality of soil to improve cropping.
- Save the vegetable crops from various bacteria and fungus.
- Methods to improve the soil health
- Maintain Proper soil drainage, tips on vegetable farming, and ways to increase their income.