Sunday 5th of October 2014, marked thousands of volunteers gathered worldwide to take part in International Sewa Day and experienced the joy of giving in the truest sense. This year National Hindu Students’ Forum (UK) had over 1200 student volunteers that took part across 45 University campuses in different varieties of sewa projects. Collectively within this academic year as an organisation have racked up over 4000 hours of sewa and this is just the beginning. From Plymouth to York, NHSF members were taking part in sewa activities whilst wearing their blue Sewa Day t-shirts with the tag line “I am the change”.
By participating in this collective endeavour, volunteers had sowed the seeds of Sewa so that acts of kindness and public service are performed more often in the years to come. Sewa Day was the catalyst and the start of the “Sewa Life”. The ethos of NHSF (UK) is that sewa should be a way of life and be part of our daily routines. NHSF (UK) believes that Sewa is an act of selfless service that is done without having expectations and giving back to the community.
The principles of each project that was organised were:
• Help relieve hardship and poverty
• Bring a little joy to others
• Help the environment
In North Zone, Leeds University dedicated the day doing activities with young carers at Bernados, whilst Sheffield spent the day pampering and spending quality time with vulnerable women at Ashiana Sheffield. Manchester spent the day undertaking a variety of activities including planting trees, maintaining public gardens followed by running a soup kitchen. Bradford, Huddersfield, Hull, Liverpool, Northumbria and York all spent time at their local mandirs giving a little back to the local Hindu community.
Central Zone undertook a variety of projects, with Birmingham City University and Nottingham University doing sewa for the body by undertaking yoga sessions. Leicester University spent their day collecting tins of food which they later donated to a homeless shelter. Spending time with the less fortunate was Keele, Coventry and DMU. Nottingham Trent went out to a school to run workshops on sewa and learning, whilst Loughborough help set up their freshers fair and later cleaned the whole students union.
In the South of England, University of West England went to local supermarkets to help pack bags and University of East Anglia went to their local Gurudwara. Plymouth and Reading spent their day with the elderly and helping to keep them entertained by doing various activities. Brighton took part in a local food drive. Kent Medway and Kent Canterbury combined together to help out at a local mandir and soup kitchen.
In the capital, London Zone, St Georges, KCL, Imperial, Roehampton and Westminister all went to their closest care homes and spent some quality time with the elderly. SOAS spent the day at a homeless shelter. Hertfordshire and Queen Mary University went to their local mandir to help out, whilst Greenwich went to a local school. Kingston had a toy collection and made gift boxes.
“In unity lies strength,” is one of the ethos which NHSF (UK) lives by, through these various sewa projects thousands of students unite to a make a huge difference to the lives of others.
‘Individually we are one drop…together we are an ocean’