Talent show raises $11,500 for Sewa projects in India : sewa bharathi, sewa international
By Girish Naik
Washington DC: Over 300 people attended the “Talent for Charity” cultural program organized by Keertana Pariwar at the Durga Temple in Fairfax Station, Virginia, on March 12. The program raised more than $11,500 for Sewa International’s development initiatives in India.
“We are very happy to see such a great turnout at the event and even more excited about the funds we could raise for Sewa projects in India,” said Sheela Rao, one of the organizer from the Keertana Pariwar. Rao also mentioned that Keertana Pariwar has organized this event for the ninth year in a row to support different charities. This year’s event saw the highest turn out as well as the largest amount of funds raised.
The program included 24 different cultural performances by more than 50 performers. The performances ranged from bhajans by children to energetic Bollywood dances. The audience supported all the performers with enthusiastic cheering and listened intently during a brief information speech about Sewa International.
“Our goals are to involve Indian community in volunteering as well as giving back to needy in India,” said Seema Naik, Washington DC Sewa International chapter volunteer.
“For us, Sewa is not a slogan but a lifestyle,” Naik said. “It’s a lifestyle that includes care and concern for others; it allows us to give back to our community, and ultimately leads to our own well being and moksha.”
At the end of the program, retired professor, veteran community activist and a member of board of directors for Sewa International, Dr. Radheshyam Dwivedi, accepted the total donation of $11,500.
Dr. Dwivedi emphasized the international nature of Sewa International’s work and also expressed solidarity with Japanese people in this hour of tragedy for Japan. He encouraged the audience to donate for the disaster relief in Japan through Sewa International as well.
Among the three beneficiary projects is an economic empowerment project for women in Kutchh in the state of Gujarat. This project, which was started after the massive earthquake in January 2001, assists underprivileged women in making and selling handicrafts. Handicrafts made by these women were displayed at the event.
“This service project quadrupled the monthly income of these women from Rs. 500 to Rs. 2,000,” Naik said. “It is not only a means of livelihood for them, but also gives expression to their time-honored skills of creating great artwork.”
Investing in women is one of the best initiatives a less developed country can take, as women reinvest 90 percent of their incomes in their families, according to a study by the World Bank. Women spend the majority of their earnings on their children’s education, food, health needs, and other basic necessities.
The other two projects supported by the event were the Aruna Chetana, a school for children with disability and the Katherine & Lobo Blind School in Mangalore for blind children run by Sewa Bharati, both in the state of Karnataka in India.
Sewa International USA is a Hindu faith-based service organization, whose mission is to help humanity in distress, serve local communities, and promote volunteering.