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News Media: Boston, MA
Written by: Dhanu Senthilkumaran
A wise man once said, “The best way t o lose yourself is to find yourself in the service of others.”
Today, Hopkinton High School students residing in Legacy Farms adhered to this motto by conducting a winter food drive in partnership with the non-profit organization: Sewa International. Sewa’s mission is to serve humanity in distress, aid local communities, and promote volunteerism. The volunteers from Hopkinton include; Shubhanjay Khanal, Dhanu Senthilkumaran, Vasishta Malisetty, Suneet Pathangay, Aaditya Saini, Krutarth Parmar, Divyansh Srivastava, Aditya Sathishkumar, Aryan Shah, Hemankit Vallurapalli, and Parth Tare. Over a two-week timespan, volunteers went door-to-door across their community, handing out flyers and collecting any non-perishable food items to deliver to food pantries across the state. Due to the pandemic, times have become extremely difficult for many people. Food drives, like the one happening in Legacy Farms, are a selfless way to take charge of this growing issue in society. Lead volunteer Shubhanjay Khanal has led multiple projects with Sewa International for the past year.
“My mom Shova Khanal Sharma has been a part of the organization for the past five years. Seeing her help others in need inspired me to also volunteer. A little effort goes a long way” he says. Khanal also helped motivate his friends around the community to help out as well. He is currently undergoing his first internship program with Sewa and is excited about his future with the organization.
First-year volunteer Aaditya Saini also had positive things to say about his experience. “When I heard about the winter food drive going on, I wanted to do everything in my power to help others in need. Food is a necessity everyone should have access to, so when Shubhanjay told me about the opportunity, it was a no-brainer to volunteer for Sewa.”
Youth volunteer, Suneet Pathangay was deeply enlightened from his time volunteering for Sewa. “The volunteer program opened my eyes to the world I live in today. It taught me to not take the little things in my life for granted. I realized how privileged we are to have a roof over our heads and three meals to eat every day” he says.
When asked about what the volunteer program entailed, Khanal explained, “We split up into groups and handed out flyers, spreading awareness about the food donations, across the entire Legacy Farms neighborhood. We then collected the non-perishable food items and inventoried them. Finally, we distributed the items amongst three sections to be shipped off to three different food pantries.”
The boys explained how gratifying it was, knowing that their hard work and dedication would help feed individuals in need. They also talked about how working alongside their peers made the process that much easier.
“Working alongside our friends was a lot more comfortable and easier. We were all able to have a good time, while also being productive and getting things done. The food drive brought us all closer together and we are very grateful for that.”
The volunteers concluded stating that their project was not limited to spreading awareness about the food crisis occurring around the world, but to also encourage other kids around the community to take action and lend a helping hand.
Boston, Massachusetts (Jan 9, 2021): Sewa International’s Boston Chapter organized its annual fundraiser and the Nrityameva Jayate dance competition on January 9, 2021 via Facebook Live and YouTube. With more than 100 performances by over 200 participants from 25 dance schools, the 2020 program was able to raise over $20,000 to benefit communities via Sewa’s “Feeding the Hungry” and COVID relief programs.
The dance program was organized to promote volunteerism and create awareness about Hindu culture highlighting the principles “The Whole World is One Family,” and “May Everyone be Happy”. Nrityameva Jayate means “victory to the art of dance”. While maintaining social distancing, this dance competition brought participants together to unite for the common goal of serving the community.
Inaugurating the event, the chief guest Ms. Vandana Sharma, well-known art designer, winner of the prestigious A-Design Award, and a philanthropist supporting organizations serving the underprivileged, lit the diya or lamp. The show began with a melodious rendition of the invocation mantra by students of Bala Sewa Satsang, a program led by Sewa International volunteers to inculcate Sewa Sanskars (duties) and social responsibility among children. Students from leading dance schools in New England in the age groups of 6-9, 10-12, 13-17 and adults participated in the competition. The emcees included long time Sewa volunteer Geetanjali Virmani along with Neha Kaushal and Manjari Kaulgud.
Various Sewa projects like “Feeding the Hungry” and “COVID Relief” were showcased throughout the program. Appreciating Sewa’s work, acclaimed Bollywood playback singer Shaan made an appeal to the entire Indian diaspora to help the underprivileged by donating towards Sewa’s projects. Special guest Dr. Mona Khaitan, a professor of accounting in Mass Bay Community College and a long time Sewa supporter, spoke about the need to serve the community, and encouraged the audience to donate generously towards Sewa initiatives. On this day, Sewa International was also recognized by Consul General of India in New York on the occasion of Pravasi Bhartatiya Divas for exemplary support and contribution towards the Indian American community. The Deputy Consul General of India, Satrughna Sinha, offered words of encouragement to participants and Sewa volunteers.
The judges panel comprised the best of New England, North Carolina, India, and Germany and included dance experts and teachers Jasmine Shah, Seema Tewari, Ranjani Saigal, Jeyanthi Ghatraju, Shweta Bhaskar, Pallavi Pundir, Jayashree Mohapatra, Jayashree Bala Rajmani, and Meera Mani. Two other dance masters -- Ekta Jain and Hema Iyengar -- helped shepherd the judicial process.
While the COVID-19 pandemic put a stop to live participation, the resurgence of community spirit offered hope that things will soon get better.
By: Nirzari Kapadia & Manjari Amol Kaulgud
Bala Sewa Satsang is a weekly activity for children hosted by Sewa International Boston chapter. It commenced in March 2020 with an objective to impart Sewa sansakars and a sense to develop social responsibility among children through learning and recitation of the mantras and shlokas from Hindu scriptures. Bala Sewa satsang is a great platform for children to promote creativity and independent thinking among themselves. It is also a unique way for children to learn social skills in an interesting, fun-filled and exciting manner while paving their way to become not only social leaders, but also caring and positive contributors to the world they live in.
In Sewa Satsang, we do not feed information into the minds of children. Instead, children learn to assimilate thoughts through the teachings of ancient scriptures and Hindu cultural heritage. This provides an opportunity for character-building and ultimately assists them in becoming an asset to the society.
The slogan of Sewa Satsang is "Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinah" meaning "Let everyone be happy" and “Ekam Sat, Viprah Bahuda Vadanti” meaning “Truth is one, it can be called and experienced in multiple ways”. One key value that is imparted in children is that serving humanity is serving Divinity (Nar Sewa Narayan Sewa).
In recent interviews with parents of regular attendees of Bala Sewa Satsang, they expressed their thoughts and the development seen in children by virtue to this project.
Many thanks to Neha Kaushal Ji mother of Siya Jagdale (8th grader) for the interview below:
Q. According to you, what is Bala Sewa Satsang and what is its objective?
A. The Bala Sewa Satsang group was created for kids. There are several initiatives on Sanskrit language, mantras and games, coordinated for kids to bring them closer to their heritage and culture. This has helped the kids living away from their roots to get oriented and learn more about Hindu values and ethos. Mantra recitation, storytelling, shlokas, songs, youth sessions and discussions on various topics like yoga and spirituality have assisted in imbibing the right values and principles in children.
Q. How frequently do these meetings happen?
A. Weekly every Saturday from 7:00pm EST to 8:00pm EST.
Q. Have you seen any change in your daughter since she started attending the Bala Sewa Satsang?
A. Yes, my daughter has become conversant with many of the shlokas and songs taught in these sessions. She has increasingly become an active contributor to the discussions rather than just a listener and resonates with the beliefs and values imparted during the learning.
Q. Does your daughter look forward to the meetings or do you need to coerce her to attend?
A. My daughter absolutely looks forward to these sessions. She is on a schedule now, and in anticipation of the Satsang halts all other activities 15 minutes before it starts. It has had a profound impact on her thought process and aided her development.
Our sincere gratitude to Gagan Salwan Ji father of Jaskirat Salwan (3rd grader) for his response below:
Q. Do you think this program is beneficial to youth and how has your daughter benefited from this program?
A. This is a fantastic way to connect the younger generation and our kids to Hindu Dharma. We as parents, are always preoccupied in our own lives and often miss imparting these basic values to the next generation. But the Bala Sewa program has profusely helped in connecting our children to Hindu culture. At home, while we pray to the almighty and chant prayers, the essence of the underlying values often remains unexplained. Bala Sewa has helped bridge the gap between mere recitation and understanding of these core values. Kids are inquisitive by nature and any learning comes with a plethora of doubts. The learnings during the Bala Sewa program have successfully helped satiate some of these curiosities. There have been occasions when we, as adults have had new learnings from the sessions. My daughter is extremely social and a reasonably fast learner. Of late, I noticed her trying to recite as few of these mantras by herself. I feel the program is a guiding light in her quest to hone her devotional skills. She has also picked up a few Sanskrit words in the process, which enhances her language skills.
I have a pair of twins as well, and it delights me to no end when I see them learning from Jassi. She is fast becoming a role model for her siblings. I have noticed her reciting these shlokas and discussing the lessons with her grandparents. Needless to say, her grandparents are overjoyed to see their granddaughter connect to Hindu culture and learn family and social values. I truly believe, this will help her on her journey to become a responsible and caring individual.
Our heartfelt gratitude to all the participants of Bala Sewa who have manifested their Satsang learnings into some beautiful drawings. The enthusiasm and the outpour of creativity in the children is commendable and we truly appreciate and applaud their efforts in the Sewa family.
Shiva by Jaskirat Salwan(3rd Grade)
Ganesha by Adi Amol Kaulgud (Pre-primary)
Krishna by Siya Jagdale (8th Grade)
Shiva by Siya Jagdale (8th Grade)
Narsingh by Siya Jagdale (8th Grade)
Ganesha by Anish Gupta (5th Grade)
Ganesha by Arnav Gupta (9th Grade)
Aum by Abishek Kumar (8th Grade)
Ganesha by Akash Kumar (11th Grade)
Ganesha by Arya Sharma (Pre-primary)
Krishna by Arya Sharma (Pre-primary)
Source: Nashua Telegraph
Photo Credit: ADAM URQUHART
NASHUA – The Nashua Soup Kitchen & Shelter received a sizable donation. Tuesday that will go toward supporting their Nashua Meals for Kids program. Volunteers with SEWA International’s Boston chapter visited NSKS to deliver a $2,315 check. Since the pandemic hit, the India Association of Greater Boston (IAGB) has worked closely with SEWA to raise funds for various causes. President of IAGB Sanjay Gowda said one of those fundraisers was to raise funds for local food pantries and homeless shelters. Nearly $12,000 was raised, which is being distributed to a number of pantries.
“I’m glad that everybody’s coming together and helping,” Gowda said. Priti Shokeen is a volunteer with the SEWA Boston Chapter and explained that SEWA is a Hindu-based nonprofit organization with a mission of doing family services as well as volunteer development and disaster relief programs. Tuesday’s donation to NSKS was one of those disaster relief programs. “Here we were able to collect about $11,575 and we distributed that among five different food pantries in the area,” Shokeen said. Krishna Mangipudi is on the NSKS board of directors and said SEWA does a lot within various different communities.
“In addition to that, they also collected PPE’s (personal protective equipment) very early on during the COVID thing and so some of the PPE’s went to Greater Nashua Dental Connection,” Mangipudi said.
In a letter dated May 21, Executive Director at The Greater Nashua Dental Connection Lisa Woods thanked SEWA for their donation of masks, face shields, goggles and adult and children cloth masks. Even during the pandemic the dental facility remained open.
“With the generosity of funders like you, we continue to thrive as a nonprofit, not federally funded dental facility, even in these challenging economic times,” Woods wrote. NSKS Executive Director Michael Reinke said that Tuesday’s donation will benefit the Nashua Meals for Kids program, which started three years ago this month. The program began by offering frozen meals at one school in Nashua when teachers made NSKS aware that kids were coming into school in the morning having not eaten any dinner the night before, or in some cases. This program then popped up in response and has since grown.
Once the pandemic hit, the program expanded and is now at eight different city schools where these frozen meals are given out every Friday. Reinke said in addition to that, NSKS is also giving out several thousand pounds of fresh produce on Friday’s to those schools and other locations. “We’re in a total of 16 mobile pantries all around the community in addition to what we’re giving out here (2 Quincy St.) and so all of that benefits the kids,” Reinke said.
Adam Urquhart may be contacted at 594-1206, or at email@example.com.
By : Nirzari Kapadia
The economic impact of COVID-19 is projected to be severe. It is expected that thousands of low income families will be affected by this pandemic. School Administrations and Soup Kitchens are coming forward to help the needy. But they are facing severe shortage of food and essential supplies.
Sewa4Community is a fundraiser by Sewa International’s Boston Chapter and 15 other community organizations in New England. They share a common motto of “Service to Humanity is Service to Divinity.”
Through this joint initiative, they support the food pantries, soup kitchens, and homeless shelters in New England and also make sure that the staff has sufficient food supplies to meet the rising demand.
Keeping in mind the social distancing guidelines, an online fundraising campaign was started. In less than a month, it has raised more than $11,000 donated by 187 kind donors. The food pantries of New England are the direct beneficiaries of this fundraiser.
Similar fundraisers were started by Sewa International and other local organizations in USA including New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Illinois, Georgia and Pennsylvania. So far $80,000 has been raised and is expected to rise further in near future.
Sewa International owes its success to the selfless service of its volunteers and the generosity of the donors helping the community during this pandemic.
Link to the fundraiser organized by Sewa International - Boston Chapter : https://www.facebook.com/donate/541390096522512
By : Nisha Sinha
Three close-knit friends in Massachusetts, have been working to help Sewa International make masks for health care workers in the current Covid-19 pandemic. They are in their 60s and have been making optimum use of their age and time.
Mrudula, Bhavini and Neela have been friends for almost 30 years. They are retirees but have been busier than usual in the last 2 weeks. They have no time for boredom in the self-quarantine.
Mrudula popularly known as Mrudula Ben is a retired family physician. She and her husband, Harish Patel, have been a part of Sewa USA’s Boston Chapter for 8 years and have been doing fundraisers through various community programs. She got the message out to her friends and they have been crafty enough to make the facial masks.
When she came to know about Sewa’s mask project, she couldn’t just sit back and do nothing knowing all that is going on. She immediately decided to spread the word. Sewa is full of praises for her for being the catalyst in bringing the seniors on board for the mask project.
Mrudula Ben has a word of encouragement for those who want to help in making masks, “At a time of pandemic, the fear and doubts are real, but with proper precaution, we can make a real difference in the lives of people.”
They received an overwhelming support from the local Sewa volunteers. The fabric and sewing machines were delivered at their doorstep. Sewa also provided the sewing pattern and materials needed to make these masks.
Sewa International has a great team of volunteers like Kiran Komaragiri who is putting her time and skills to a great cause. She came forward to help the mask stitching team by conducting online sewing sessions.
She said, “I learnt to be patient to others during my training as a fashion designer and I made sure when the opportunity came, I passed on my skills. This is for a big cause.” Kiran is also a part of the HopTown Legacy volunteers' group.
Eventually the seniors were able to put their skills together with the supplies and standardized written and video instructions to make the masks. While the masks look easy, it does involve a process in order to make them properly.
Bhavini Patel has never made a mask before, but she was determined to challenge herself and learn the art of sewing through video tutorials.
She said, “I had to pay more attention to the details like the pattern and measurements. The online sessions helped me a lot. Overall, it has been a great learning experience.”
The three friends hail from different walks of life and have been volunteering together for many projects but this turned out to be an emotional journey for them.
Bhavini is happy to extend her expertise in times of crisis. For her what matters most is that it is being put to good use for all across the society.
There has never been a dull moment for her at home. Her husband has been helping her in washing, sanitizing and ironing the fabric before stitching. She is full of praises for her husband’s support. “It has been a great team work in making mask.” She said.
Neela Shah has been a pro in sewing for many years. She fondly recalls her memories of sewing some amazing Halloween costumes for her son. Even though she has never made a mask before, she was confident in following the online instructions. She has made approximately 70 masks for Sewa and there many more are in process.
She is touched to see families coming together under the same roof for a noble cause. “It is refreshing to see young people giving their time and energy to community service. I feel proud to contribute through Sewa.”
She is full of praises for Sewa’s volunteers. “They are flexible, have a good attitude, and very committed towards the cause. I am impressed.”
In case you are feeling anxious about the social distancing, Mrudula Ben has some words of encouragement, “Solitude brings creativity. Instead of feeling hopeless about the situation, challenge your limits and learn a new art. I am sure you can put it to use for a good cause.”
Neela Shah echoes her friend’s thoughts, “There is no need to feel bad about the quarantine. If you want to work, you can put your valuable time and mind to good use. Never give up.”
Sewa bows to the undefeated spirit of these seniors and their great camaraderie. They are leading by example of serving the community in distress. If you have the passion to serve the community, look for the ways and means to put your talent and heart to good use. The Covid-19 has made the current social environment gloomy but there is always a silver lining in every cloud.
By - Nisha Sinha
In the current Covid-19 crisis, social distancing is taking a toll on our community. Physical distancing is hard and may negatively impact the society. But, in this pandemic, Sewa International USA's Boston chapter is taking a step forward to bolster our community through its volunteer work.
The rapid spread of coronavirus has left the healthcare workers with severe shortage of face masks. Sewa recently launched its DIY mask project. Through its strong network of sewing enthusiasts, Sewa is determined to help the healthcare workers in the frontline of this pandemic.
Currently Sewa has delivered close to 750 masks to 8 of the leading hospitals in Massachusetts.
Sewa has distributed free masks to the employees of Spice Hut, a popular Indian grocery store in Framingham. As the consumers struggle to grapple with Covid-19 and social distancing, these employees are still committed to provide the supply of essentials to its consumers.
Ideation of DIY masks
It all started with a brief conversation between two volunteers. They were discussing how this pandemic is growing exponentially and the healthcare professionals are directly impacted by it. Driven by Sewa’s mission of serving humanity in distress and providing an aid to local communities, they decided to take a step further and launch the project DIY mask.
They pitched the idea to the National team and got approval to roll the project. The next step was to form a core team of self-motivated volunteers who were willing to contribute their time and talent towards the project. In no time, a team was formed and work was distributed right from collecting the fabric from the stores, arrangement of sewing machines, dividing the work of cutting and stitching the fabric and delivering the final products to the healthcare centers. Currently there are total 52 volunteers working on the project.
Social distancing doesn’t mean social isolation
Following the nationwide guidelines of social distancing and the rules of stay-at-home, Sewa volunteers found a way to connect virtually and implement the DIY mask project. It is a common understanding that not everyone can do everything. But with a united effort we can make a big difference. Instead of in-person, a virtual session was scheduled to teach sewing.
The volunteers learned the basics of cutting the fabric, taking the right measurements, and sewing the elastic with the fabric. Within the first few days when the project started, the volunteers were able to sew almost 100 masks.
As the project gradually progressed, this also led to the realization amongst the volunteers that they have the time and virtual space to build and improve relationships in a new way.
Guidelines for the DIY masks
There are guidelines of carefully handling the mask sewing kit and delivery the final product. Sewa volunteers are following the hygienic procedure of handling the raw materials.
The collection team must wear gloves while picking the fabric from the stores.
After collecting the fabric, it is washed and sanitized with utmost precaution.
The sanitized fabric is packed in a sealed bag and dropped at the doorstep of various volunteers who are responsible for sewing.
The sewing team handles the material with utmost precaution while cutting and stitching. Hands are washed and sanitized and stitching is done in a clean place.
After the masks is ready, it is packed in a sealed bag and left at the doorstep and the collection team is informed.
The collection team comes and picks the sealed bags of masks from the doorstep.
At all times, the volunteers engaged in pick and drop of the materials should wear a mask and gloves and follow all the guidelines of social distancing.
Encouraging children in Volunteerism
Confusion exist about how long will this crisis last. In the midst of the pandemic, school closures and widespread social disruption, families are learning to adapt to this novel crisis. Parents find this as an opportunity to encourage children in community service while working from home. It is heartening to see young children lending a helping hand in cutting and measuring the fabric.
Committed in community service:
Amid this unprecedented time, it is incredible to witness the commitment of Sewa volunteers. Our healthcare workers are overwhelmed with sick patients, and limited resources to protect themselves. Sewa is continuing to inspire many people who offer to help the community. While maintaining social distancing and united in their mission, Sewa is determined to fulfill its three-fold mission of serving the community in distress, aiding the local community and promoting volunteerism.
Nine Volunteers of Sewa International volunteered at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Ashland, MA on March 7th.
“Restore” are stores that sell donated home items at a fraction of the retail price and utilize the proceeds to build shelter for underserved and underprivileged people of local communities.
The volunteers performed different tasks assigned to them by the Restore management like helping customers shop, organizing and restocking the store. Volunteers found the experience very enriching and motivating and look forward to volunteering at ReStore again in few weeks.
ReStore Ashland sent following letter of appreciation to Sewa International - Boston chapter.
Dear Sewa International,
“Well done, good and faithful servant”
I would like to take this opportunity to express my thanks and appreciation for a job well done! Thank you so much for your labor of love with the Ashland Habitat for Humanity ReStore!
Your willingness to use your gifts and abilities has strengthened the mission and its capacity to raise much needed funds to support it!
For all your time, effort and hard work please accept the thanks and appreciation from Habitat for Humanity, its leaders, staff and myself. You have truly been a blessing toward working to eliminate poverty housing!
With sincere gratitude,
Nicole M. LeBlanc
Habitat for Humanity
Boston chapter members who volunteered:
Attended by more than 1,000 people from Massachusetts and neighboring states, the “Nrityameva Jayate 2019”, annual fund raiser organized by Sewa International, was a huge success again this year. The event was held at Keefe Technical school in Framingham, MA on November 17, 2019, which has continued to expand since its inception several years ago. Sewa raised $ 20,000 from the event. The program received overwhelming support from the community. Funds raised will be used for service projects such as Feeding the hungry.
This year’s event was organized to promote volunteerism among the youth and create awakening among people to serve those in need. 400 students from 10 leading dance schools of the New England area made a financial contribution to Sewa International and participated in a dance competition with impeccable performances of Classical, Folk and Bollywood dance forms captivating the audience for six hours.
The program opened with a melodious rendition of invocation mantras by Ms. Smritha and ‘deep prajwallan’ (Light of lamp) by judges for the event. The emcee Ms. Yogita Miharia and Ms. Priti Shokeen welcomed the audience, participants, dance Gurus and distinguished Judges. The Emcees kept the audience engaged and appealed to them to generously donate to Sewa International for supporting various service projects.
The program was arranged in four age groups. Ten teams participated in the age group 6-9. Each one of these teams were a delight to watch. Sewa volunteer, Abhinav Mishra, talked about “Sponsor-a-Child” program of Sewa. He explained to the audience, how the program works to benefit the underprivileged children in various parts of Bharat and encouraged the audience to come forward and donate for this cause. The program continued with the classical dance for age group 10-12 followed by age group 13-18. After this the winners of the age group 6-9 were announced by the Judges.
Following this, the folk category in the age group 13- 18 and Bollywood dance age group 10-12 and 13-18 were a real treat to the audience. In between, Ms. Geetanjali Virmani and Dr. Radhika Dixit, both long time Sewa volunteers, made an appeal to the audience to support various Sewa projects. Another local Sewa project “Feeding the hungry” was highlighted by sewa volunteer Dr. Pramod Pandey and a youth sewa volunteer, Arya Virmani. They both urged the audience to get involved and engage with this project by donating and volunteering at various meal centers where Sewa has been actively working for last several years. The “Diwali Food Drive” was also, mentioned and people were encouraged to donate non-perishable food, to be distributed at various food pantries in the New England area.
This was followed by high-octane dance performances by the adult age group which mesmerized the audience with their talent. The program ended with a vote of thanks by the emcee who expressed gratitude to every attendee and participant in the event for supporting the Sewa’s cause. She invited the audience to join the Sewa team and become an active part of this historic movement.
The audience and participants appreciated the efforts by all the Sewa volunteers to execute a flawless program. Some of them were heard saying “this is one of the best programs they have attended this year”.
After its hugely successful Nrityameva Jayate event in 2016, the Boston Chapter of Sewa International hosted a similar event at the Keefe Technical School in Framingham, MA on November 5, 2017, for its fifth annual fundraiser. Over 825 people attended the event which raised over $45,000 to be used for various community service projects of Sewa International such as rehabilitating victims of Hurricane Harvey, Irma, and Maria, feeding the hungry, yoga for humanity and education of underserved children.
The Nrityameva Jayate’17 program was organized to promote volunteerism and create awakening among people to serve those in need. 286 Students from 19 leading dance schools of the New England area participated in a dance competition with spellbinding performances of Classical, Folk and Bollywood dance forms captivating the audience for seven hours. In addition, 15 students of music enthralled the audience with musical performances. The program received overwhelming support from the community.
The program began with a melodious rendition of invocation mantras by students of Poorna Chandrika School of Music and ‘deep prajwallan’ (Light of lamp) by judges for the event. The buoyant emcee Ms. Yogita Miharia welcomed the audience, the chief guest; Dr. Udit Batra, dance & music participants, the dance Gurus and distinguished Judges. She kept the audience engaged and appealed to them to generously donate to Sewa International for supporting the service projects. Ms. Taejasvi Narayan, and Ms. Raji Jakkam introduced to the audience each of the 41 entries in the event.
The program was arranged in four age groups. While distributing prizes to event’s youngest participants in the 6-9 year’s age group, Shri Ashwani Garg, VP of Administration in the national team of Sewa International, explained to the audience how the act of Sewa is a Yagna and thanked each dance participant and audience for contributing their ‘Ahuti’ (offering) in this yagna. He also thanked Mahadev Group, a financial advisory practice of Ameriprise Financial for their continued support to Sewa International. Shri Srinivas Bachu, President of the Telugu Association of Greater Boston, and guest of honor for the event, distributed prizes to winners in the 10-13 year’s age group. He talked about the importance of community service. The performances by participants in 13-17 year’s age group invited great applause from the audience. Ms. Priya Rathod, Director of Nursing Services at Amrit Sabha Adult Day Care Center and Guest of honor for the event, distributed prizes to the winners in this category. She shared with the audience how Amrit Sabha has had a long-standing partnership with Sewa International and conveyed her deep appreciation for the work done by Sewa’s volunteers.
This was followed by high-octane dance performances by the adult age group which mesmerized the audience with their talent. During the concluding ceremony, Sewa volunteer Mr. Subba Raju Datla talked about Sewa’s rescue, relief, and rehabilitation efforts to aid victims of Hurricane Harvey, Irma and Maria. He introduced the chief guest of the event Dr. Udit Batra, CEO MilliporeSigma a Life Sciences company of Merck KGaA. Dr. Batra congratulated all the Sewa volunteers for organizing such a successful event and explained that Sewa means performing service without expecting anything in return. Dr. Batra presided over the concluding ceremony and distributed prizes to the winners in the adult age group.
Sewa also hosted Rangoli and Henna (Mehandi) competitions during the event and several people participated in them. The program ended with a vote of thanks by Sewa volunteer Dr. Pramod Pandey who expressed gratitude to every attendee and participant in the event for supporting the Sewa’s cause. He invited the audience to join the Sewa team and become an active part of this historic movement.
EVENT PICTURES (courtsey Subroto Mukherjee Photography )
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