NHSF (UK) Serve and Nominate
The National Hindu Students’ Forum (UK) have been hit with an online virus, it has been slowly targeting each of the 46 affiliated chapters along with many of the national committee members. The virus is like no other, emerging from NHSF Manchester, who started the ‘Serve and Nominate’ craze, the social media videos have been widely circulated with chapters getting involved in various Sewa activities.
Over 18 chapters have been nominated and the list has grown since the initial video was uploaded to social media sites around three weeks ago. NHSF Manchester President, Hersh Thaker who thought of starting the craze said, “The idea came to me whilst casually surfing Facebook after seeing somebody use their nomination to buy a bottle of water for a stranger. I shared the idea between a few committee members and after discussing exactly what we would do, two days later we went into town and filmed it. The purpose was really for it to go viral and have “serve and nominate” videos popping up on peoples’ timelines. We kept the video simple for a reason, we wanted beauty to be in the content and not the editing.”
“Iswarah Sarwa Bhutanam Itruddesha Arjuna Tishtati”
The same God who is present in me is also present in other human beings.
Hersh states that “It’s absolutely fantastic and I’m so proud that all of the chapters have taken it on and created so many outstanding videos. Each day I seem to come across a new video on my timeline. It is also great that the NatCom Sewa Team got involved. I’m hoping once (or even before) we’ve exhausted NHSF chapters, other societies and organisations will take on the idea and keep it alive”.
The National Committee Sewa Team has most recently been nominated by a chapter, NHSF Sewa Coordinator, Himanshi Patel welcomed the ‘Serve and Nominate’ videos by proudly saying, “It is absolutely fantastic and inspirational to see so many universities serving the community and spreading Sewa via nominations to other universities.”
With chapters proactively conducting Sewa activities on a regular basis, the academic year 2013-2014 has seen a huge boost in number of activities which NHSF (UK) chapters are carrying out, leaving a lasting legacy on the British economy. Sewa week, an initiative which has seen chapters dedicate a week of their academic year to Sewa has become well established over the years. During sewa week this year, chapters have actively carried out activities based on the seven sewa themes such as serving the local communities at Mandirs, feeding animals and visiting elderly care homes.
NHSF (UK) thrives with proactive students like Hersh who have left home to go to University and go that extra mile to conduct extra-curricular activities in order to bring happiness to the lives of others. You can see the original NHSF Manchester Serve and Nominate video here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ezApO1cYTi0
Bhakti through Sewa
‘Strive constantly to serve the welfare of the world; by devotion to selfless work one attains the supreme goal of life. Do your work with the welfare of others always in mind.’
– Chapter Three – Bhagavad Gita.
Over the past 6 months, NHSF (UK) chapters have shown their bhakti through sewa. From hundreds of students that participated in Sewa day, right through to those that donated blood and registered to be organ/bone marrow donors, it has been an amazing year thus far.
The start of the year was a particularly selfless one for chapters in many ways. On 6th October, over 30 chapters all united in projects to give time to their communities to make a difference, rather than money. Sewa day is an amazing initiative which can encompass every type of sewa, be it sewa for the environment, for others or for animals; and therein lies the beauty of it. One of the primary aims of sewa day is to bring a little joy to others, which was undeniably achieved.
This Sewa Day NHSF Plymouth got their aprons on and prepared sandwiches and cupcakes for the Shekinah Mission soup kitchen while NHSF Sheffield volunteered at their local charity, Roundabout, by painting and gardening at one of their local youth housing residences. One hundred students from eleven London universities engaged in a range of sewa activities at Bhaktivedanta Manor to give back to the Mandir at the heart of the Hindu community in London. The list of sewa activities undertaken by chapters extends far with the benefits being received by hundreds across the UK.
For the second year running, National Blood Donation Day was put into full force. Rather than a single day of donating blood, many universities spent a number of days promoting and donating and the results were phenomenal. Currently there is a shortage of donors from the South Asian community, making this initiative of even greater importance. Hundreds more students are now on the register so that donating blood is an even quicker process. Whether it was their first time or fifth, students banded together to donate blood and therefore give the most precious gift – the gift of life.
‘There is a real need for more blood and bone marrow donors from the South Asian communities to step forward. The NHSF (UK) initiative is a great way to get students thinking about how they can save or improve people’s lives.’
Theo Clarke – NHS Blood & Transplant
For the first time a nationwide collection of clothes for the homeless was organised in preparation for the particularly harsh winter that we have found ourselves battling against. In the festive period where we have the comfort of warm clothes, piping hot food and plenty of presents; there are many that line the streets in sleeping bags tormented by the freeze that takes over. It was with this in mind that clothes were collected at chapters in order to share the warmth this winter. Throughout the UK, over a hundred homeless people benefitted from food donated and clothes given, smiles were shared and small bouts of happiness distributed.
The NHSF (UK) National charity nominated by all NHSF chapters is Divya Seva Foundation. A UK registered charity committed to empowering and working with disadvantaged children, orphans, the elderly and the destitute to provide them with better education, healthcare, clothing and an improved community life. Laxmi Parmar, a bright and ambitious young girl from a small village in Gujarat, India was the inspiration for Divya Seva Foundation. Laxmi was born without any arms and has had to manage all her daily activities with only her legs. Despite her disability she remains intent on completing her education, writing all of her notes and taking her tests using only her feet.
Sewa is a beautiful way for each and every one of us to show our bhakti to our Lord, and it’s something that we can integrate in our daily lives. Be it a smile to someone frowning or helping those that aren’t as fortunate as us. As Krsna says in the Bhagavad Gita ‘If one offers me with love and devotion a leaf, a flower, fruit or water, I will accept it’ (9.26), let us offer our hearts in selfless service.