A ladies group in Manchester has taken on the task of uniting as many diaspora members as possible to battle isolation, depression, and stress together.
Amita Tandon’s new group Health and Sewa, which currently operates through a WhatsApp group chat, draws inspiration from the Hindu teachings of Sewa – or selfless service.
Tandon notes that although people are part of several groups and group chats across social media nowadays, isolation and mental health conditions resulting from the isolation continue to persist.
“Everybody needs company and everybody needs opportunity to socialise for their mental health, especially because of what we have gone through in the pandemic,” explains Tandon of why this initiative is important to her.
On being asked why she named the group “Health and Sewa”, Tandon elaborates: “The ‘Health’ part of it gives us the opportunity to go out and socialise together, laugh, or just have a chat and a give a listening ear, and that helps to look after our own mental health.
“The ‘Sewa’ part of it would be offering sewa or selfless service to then help those who may be in need for any reason, so that you can give something back to the community and also feel good about doing so.”
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At first, Tandon was not sure of the kind of response she would get, but she soon found that the reaction was overwhelmingly positive, and a lot of people showed a keen interest in taking part. So far, the group has more than 40 members and is fast expanding.
They already have several ‘Health’ activities and ‘Sewa’ initiatives lined up in the coming weeks and months.
“At some point, I would actually love if we could also do some sewa for the elderly in the Hindu community – those who are in care homes, hospitals or even stuck at home due to health,” Tandon says, while discussing future plans and hopes for how her group could help the wider community.
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“Kirtans, bhajans or even reading the ‘Gita’,” answers Tandon when asked about what sort of ‘Sewa’ activities they would hope to do with the elderly.
During the course of her conversation with iGlobal, Tandon stressed the importance of being able to see and interact with other people from the community, even if it was for a short period of time. For Tandon, the “Health” side of activities could include anything fun and interesting; as long as it helps people to unwind and connect with others in meaningful ways.