Sewa or selfless service is an integral part of the Hindu faith and the diaspora community the world over. As such, several diaspora groups and organisations continue to arrange events and initiatives to provide the community with opportunities to engage in sewa and for the younger members to learn more about the practice.
One such organisation is the Sewa UK. Known for its tireless efforts to help the community and society in India and in the UK, Sewa UK has been a great promoter of the message of sewa.
After the record-breaking success of Adventure4Sewa Yorkshire 3 Peaks, with over 800 participants and raising over £10,000, Sewa UK’s drive to bring more events continues. Here are some initiatives lined up in the coming months.
Since its inauguration in 2012, Cycle4Sewa has become one of the most anticipated Sewa events of the year. Held in East London, it brings together people of all ages from across the country to enjoy a day of cycling whilst participating in the act of sewa. The day is packed with a variety of cycling challenges starting with the individual event – where participants complete as many laps of the track as possible in a 2-hour time frame – followed by the Team event, consisting of 5 cyclists per team, collectively completing laps of the track in one hour to battle it out for the coveted Cycle4Sewa shield.
The money raised from this nationwide virtual event and in-person London event goes towards Sewa UK projects which promote catering for people with disabilities in India.
A collaboration between Sewa UK and National Hindu Students Forum (NHSF), this unpaid summer internship connects dynamic individuals from diverse backgrounds with NGOs in India and the UK.
Youth4Sewa cultivates and develops the spirit of sewa and inspires individuals to work for the wellbeing of humanity. Projects are available in health care, education, environmental awareness, women’s empowerment, rural development, social upliftment and much more. Through selfless service, the interns engage in a transformative experience.
The interview, orientation days and mentoring are a key part of the Y4S journey, creating a platform that nurtures individuals through personal challenges whilst facilitating group learning along the way.
Apart from the initiatives lined up for 2023, here’s taking a look at some of Sewa UK’s recent and ongoing work in the community.
The construction of specialised dental unit in Chitrakoot, India has already begun with Sewa UK aiming to provide free or very affordable cleft and palate surgery for children born with the defect.
The drive will be supported by all the donations received from the Rickshaw Run challenge in December 2023.
With a mission is to encourage doctors and dentists from the UK with specialist skills to volunteer for sewa work in India, Sewa UK hopes that doing this kind of voluntary work will in time become a norm.
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Over the years, Sewa UK has undertaken a tremendous amount of work keeping sustainability at the core. Some of their Sustainable Sewa initiatives include:
· Funding programmes that provide sustainable support through rehabilitation and help to rebuild devastated communities through education and healthcare related projects.
· Building unique schools/centres to help children suffering from intellectual disabilities, cerebral palsy, autism etc. by providing facilities and environments to support their specific needs.
· Divya (Arunodaya) School and Treatment Centre in Gadag, Karnataka – a residential school, which provides quality education for 120 children with disabilities.
· Supporting vocational training centres to help the children gain valuable skills that will help them in earning a livelihood.
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Sewa in Europe
Sewa UK is active in helping where possible throughout the continent. Some of their recent efforts include:
· Sewa UK & Sewa Europe worked with volunteers on the ground in Ukraine to get the furniture – donated by Cheniere Energy, London - delivered to various institutions, organisations, orphanages, hospices and centres across Ukraine affected by the war.
· Responding to a request by Shina Alege, the Nigerian Ambassador to Ukraine, Sewa International helped evacuating 467 African students, including 367 from Nigeria, and another 100 from Namibia, Zambia, and South Africa, from Sumy, the northern region of Ukraine bordering Russia.
· Sewa International volunteers in Europe have helped more than 3,200 individuals flee Ukraine amid airstrikes and reach safety.
· Sewa volunteers continue working with another 3,680 people who have registered for evacuation through the Sewa helpline.
· Working closely with Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS) volunteers, Sewa units in Ukraine, Finland, Poland, Romania, Hungary, and Denmark continue to assist stranded students and others seeking help
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*Info: Sewa UK