Monday, September 19, 2005

HSS and Sewa International relief work covered by media

Source: Indo Link

Sewa Intnl's tie up with IIT alumni !
Source: Hindustan Times

"SEWA (International) lives up to its name "

Source: Inside Bay Area

Fremont resident and volunteer Gaurang Desai said Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh and Sewa International, two Hindu organizations, are collecting donations of money, canned foods, cookies and crackers, plus sending volunteers to Houston to serve in local shelters and assist the Red Cross

Source: Rediff

In addition, various other organisations throughout the US have risen to this occasion. Sewa International USA and Hindus of Greater Houston are also coordinating volunteer services with the Hindu temples, and Indian-American organisations.

Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh has urged all Hindus in America to rise to the occasion and has appealed its hundreds of volunteers in all 90 chapters of HSS to help through collecting donations, canned foods, cookies, crackers, medical supplies and blankets.

India Development & Relief Fund volunteers in Baton Rouge, LA, are working with American Red Cross and local voluntary organisations to assist in relief efforts.

SOURCE: Rediff

Hemendra Pal, a volunteer with Sewa International USA (a service project
of the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh) spent Labour Day afternoon at the Second Baptist Church in Woodway, Houston, undergoing training lessons to serve food to people displaced by Katrina.

We have requested each Indian organization to take up the type of work they are already doing," Kannappan says, examples being the Indo-American Charity Foundation that is an umbrella body for collecting donations from the desi community, and Sewa International that is doing volunteer coordination

Last week Shah, a financial adviser with investment bankers Morgan Stanley Dean Witter and the secretary of Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation of USA (a charitable organisation committed to eradicating illiteracy in India), was among 20 volunteers who spent six hours at the Astrodome sorting used and new clothes to be given to the evacuees.

The next day, the volunteers, most of whom work with Sewa International, handed bottled water to a fresh batch of people arriving from Louisiana at the George Brown Center. They accompanied men and women to restrooms, passed out toothbrushes, and ran errands. Monday evening, they were back at the Astrodome, folding clothes.

The long weekend over, Shah was back at work, but hopes to volunteer on weekdays from 8 pm till midnight. "I happen to be here. I am inspired by the people who are coming from New York and as far as California to serve."

His daughter Sonal Shah, co-founder of Indicorps and India Abroad Person of the Year 2003, was among many pouring in from various parts of the country to help in any way they can; she arrived in Houston from New York Friday night, with two of her friends from Philadelphia.

The scene at the Astrodome, where about 3,000 volunteers were serving last week, was overwhelming. "It is a big stadium with the centre full of cots," Shah senior says.

According to Shah, unlike the reported chaos of the New Orleans Superdome, this one was crowded but clean, and food and water were available in plenty. Things became more orderly when the clothes were laid out on hangers like in big stores. The evacuees could take, without needing to ask, what they needed. There was police presence only at the entrance.

Shah says he found mostly African-American evacuees at both shelters; a few Spanish, Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese-speaking people were present at the George Brown Center. "We could not find any Indians," he says.

One would expect the evacuees to be angry and excited, but they were instead calm and appreciative, Shah said. Some were still sleeping.

Volunteerism may be a novel experience for first-generation South Asians, but the younger generations in America are clued in to this mindset. Like among those helping the evacuees was Anjali Desai, who has spent the last two years in India volunteering for Indicorps and for the NGO Manav Sadhna, at the Gandhi Ashram in Ahmedabad in Gujarat. Desai, who just returned from India and has some time on her hands, attended the 75-minute training.


At 11:02 AM, Blogger Asiavists said...

This is an absolutely wonderful website. I can not thank you enough for your coverage. Best, Charles (

At 7:00 AM, Blogger TheDevilIsInTheDetails said...

For the next hurricane map rita ; the easy way to keep going.


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