Sewa International Releases $10,000 for Coronavirus Prevention and Relief Efforts
Houston, TX (March 15, 2020) – To strengthen its coronavirus prevention and relief efforts, Sewa International has released $10,000 to run its helpline and coronavirus awareness campaign.
“A team of 20 physicians is helping Sewa in providing free advice through Sewa coronavirus helpline. Over 400 volunteers in 20 major cities in the country are working tirelessly to put up a formidable community response at this difficult time,” Swadesh Katoch, Sewa’s Vice President for Disaster Relief, said.
“Local businesses and medical professionals are offering their services to the community most times pro bono through Sewa International. Sewa volunteers are providing multiple services including offering and delivering free food, and help for the elderly in grocery shopping, doctor’s visits, etc., and help to those who are faced with travel and visa issues. We are also offering family therapist calls for helping parents deal with children, anxiety, and stress,” Swadesh Katoch added.
“Sewa is also helping people with COVID-19 like symptoms to meet with doctors. In a few cases our Family Services volunteers are working with friends and family of the patients who are in self-quarantine or being tested for COVID-19. Sewa is running a daily Facebook Live campaign to spread awareness about preventing the infection,” said Swadesh Katoch.
Working with Indian Consulate
Sewa teams from various chapters across the country are working with Indian Consulates to help families obtain visas to travel to India in emergency situations. Sewa is also publishing FAQs on the Sewa website – www.sewausa.org -- to answer questions about visa and travel restrictions,” Sewa’s Director for Disaster Relief, Achalesh Amar said.
“Sewa has created a task force to handle various economic and social issues that may arise due to this pandemic. As many schools in the US are temporarily closed, parents from the under-privileged neighborhoods are being asked by the school administration to visit schools to collect their children’s food stamps. We are working on finding out how to help in such situations,” Achalesh Amar said. “Sewa Disaster Relief Team is also planning to conduct webinars to spread awareness on how to prevent the infection. We are also publishing videos from qualified physicians on the subject,” he said.
Indian Foreign Students affected by University Closures
“There are over 250,000 students from India studying in US universities. More than 300 US Universities have closed including some who have moved instructions to a virtual mode, and even shut their dorms. Sewa has fielded calls from Indian foreign students from such universities who are finding it difficult to cope up emotionally, health wise, and financially,” said Prof. Sree Sreenath, President of Sewa International, who himself is an academic at a major research university in the state of Ohio. “We even had a couple of concerned parents call us from India,” he said.
Sewa Helpline Numbers
Sewa’s coronavirus helpline numbers are the following:
About Sewa International
Sewa International, a leading Indian American nonprofit organization, has extensive experience in disaster recovery (rescue, relief, and rehabilitation) operations having responded to 25 disasters in the US and abroad. In 2017, after Hurricane Harvey struck the Houston area, Sewa volunteers helped in the rescue of nearly 700 people, and have served thousands of affected families since then. Sewa raised over $3 million for Hurricane Harvey recovery, including a grant of $400,000 from the Houston Mayor’s Fund, and a $500,000 grant from the American Red Cross. Sewa continues to rebuild houses, and greenhouses, which serve as a means of livelihood. Sewa has also provided case management to affected families more than two years after Hurricane Harvey struck Texas. Sewa International has also rendered relief in the wake of hurricane Maria in 2018 and Hurricane Imelda in 2019. Sewa teams in the San Francisco Bay Area continue to build and donate tiny homes for those rendered homeless in California Camp Fire of November 2018.
Among its other accolades, Sewa International has been recognized by Charity Navigator – the premier nonprofit rating agency – as the number five among the “10 Highly Rated Charities Relying on Private Contributions.” Sewa has for the last three years continuously scored the topmost-rated 4-star from Charity Navigator, and has earned perfect scores for its Financial Health and Accountability & Transparency – one of the handful 11 in the international category among over 23,000.
Sewa International Activates Hotline for Corona Virus response in USA
Houston, TX (March 08, 2020) – In the midst of growing concerns about the spread of Corona Virus ( COVID-19) in various parts of the country, Sewa International convened a meeting of community leaders from across the country to prepare a framework of response to the crisis. Achalesh Amar, Director Disaster Relief said, “Plugging into resources offered by different government agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), various departments of county and city governments, a taskforce was set up to come up with a comprehensive approach to the pandemic. Based on the recommendations of the taskforce, Sewa International is activating a hotline/helpline for non-medical advice at 281 909 SEWA (281 909 7392) for the Midwest, 708 872 SEWA (708 872 7392) and 302 330 SEWA (302 330 7392) for the Northeast, and 203 872 SEWA (203 872 7392) for Western United States”.
Swadesh Katoch, Vice President for Disaster Relief, added, “The biggest concern among the Indian American community was about schools as every school district is responding differently to the evolving situation, and most parents are not aware of the relaxation in attendance norms. The panic related to buying and stocking up masks, sanitizers, toilet paper, and food items also came up for discussion”.
"We are especially concerned about the vulnerable population with weak immune systems, such as seniors, the sick, or very young children. We are circulating WhatsApp messages with helpful information on how to prepare and take precautions. Various chapters in the US are directed to help local communities with up-to-date information as Corona Virus related cases get confirmed in a particular area," said Prof. Sree Sreenath, President of Sewa International.
Sewa International is also taking the initiative of conducting regular webinars and distributing flyers with concise information from various sources. These flyers offer information about the difference between flu and COVID-19, preventive measures, and techniques to reduce anxiety. The first webinar in the series will be conducted on Wednesday, March 11 by a qualified physician from California.
Sewa International, a leading Indian American nonprofit organization, has extensive experience in disaster rescue, relief, and rehabilitation operations having responded to 24 disasters in the US and abroad. In 2017, after Hurricane Harvey struck the Houston area, Sewa volunteers helped in the rescue of nearly 700 people, and have served thousands of affected families since then. Sewa raised over $3 million for Hurricane Harvey recovery, including a grant of $400,000 from the Houston Mayor’s Fund, and a $500,000 grant from the American Red Cross. Sewa continues to rebuild houses, and greenhouses, which serve as a means of livelihood. Sewa has also provided case management to affected families more than two years after Hurricane Harvey struck Texas. Sewa International has also rendered relief in the wake of hurricane Maria in 2018 and Hurricane Imelda in 2019. Sewa teams in the San Francisco Bay Area continue to build and donate tiny homes for those rendered homeless in California Camp Fire of November 2018.
Among its other accolades, Sewa International has been recognized by Charity Navigator – the premier nonprofit rating agency – as the number five among the “10 Highly Rated Charities Relying on Private Contributions.” Sewa has for the last three years continuously scored the topmost-rated 4-star from Charity Navigator, and has earned perfect scores for its Financial Health and Accountability & Transparency
The World Health Organization has classified the coronavirus outbreak as a global health emergency, and governments around the world are taking action to control the virus from spreading.
The illness caused by the virus, COVID-19, has claimed the lives of tens of thousands around the globe and has sickened hundreds of thousands of people in more than 100 countries, including China, Italy, Spain, and the United States.
A number of highly-rated charities have created funds to support communities around the world affected by the outbreak. Please consider supporting one of these trustworthy organizations today. Your support will help individuals and communities battle the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. and around the globe.
Interested in funding response and recovery efforts for those affected and for responders? The Center for Disaster Philanthropy, a charity that has earned a 4-star Charity Navigator rating and is also a trusted philanthropic partner of Google, has a COVID-19 Response Fund. This fund allows donors to give now to support preparedness, containment, response and recovery activities.
Relief Supplies: Health & Medical
Funding Local Organizations
Education & Awareness
Relief Supplies: Community Support & Services
Partnering with medical teams to combat COVID-19. Organizations featured are based on their overall Charity Navigator score. To view all charities supporting this cause, click here.
Save the Children
IMA World Health
Howard Brown Health Center
Medical Teams International
Heart to Heart International
Relief Supplies: Health & Medical
Providing much-needed medical supplies to hospitals and health facilities. Organizations featured are based on their overall Charity Navigator score. To view all charities supporting this cause, click here.
Matthew 25: Ministries
Convoy of Hope
Providing much-needed assistance across multiple areas. Organizations featured are based on their overall Charity Navigator score. To view all charities supporting this cause, click here.
Alight (formerly American Refugee Committee)
Preemptive Love Coalition
Partnering with local organizations to ensure communities across the country have the resources and support they need. Organizations featured are based on their overall Charity Navigator score. To view all charities supporting this cause, click here.
United Way of Washtenaw County
United Way Worldwide
International Community Foundation
United Way of Hall County
Raising awareness of ways to prevent COVID-19 and how to cope with the stress it's causing. Organizations featured are based on their overall Charity Navigator score.
Sewa International, Inc
Prevent Child Abuse America
Supporting the safety nets of our society and protecting the most vulnerable. Organizations featured are based on their overall Charity Navigator score. To view all charities supporting this cause, click here.
Memorial Assistance Ministries
Central Pennsylvania Food Bank
EUCLID, Ohio — The head football coach at Euclid High School challenges his players, in the weight room and the classroom.
“Our whole thing is GFGF. Generosity, family, grades and football,” said Jeff Rotsky.
Rotsky said he earned two degrees from Case Western Reserve University and understands the value of education in the game of life.
Players are required to attend study table to help with grades, but some were still struggling with academic success.
When a friend mentioned a tutoring program offered by the non-profit organization Sewausa, Rotsky took the group up on the offer. Tutors visit the school at least twice a week, sometimes more.
Kenyohn Smith was one of the players who needed extra help.
Smith said he was getting “Fs in physical science and English. When I started going to tutoring — boosted my grades up."
SEWA International is a nonprofit organization working in 20 countries around the world. The group helps with disaster relief, community development and family and child welfare. In Cleveland, the group started a program called ASPIRE which gives kids extra help in academics.
“Through one-on-one tutoring, the students get help with homework and tests," said Business Owner, Sunil Narahari who also tutors. "We have seen tremendous development and improvement in these kids."
“We had 20 or our 29 seniors offered scholarships this year,” said Rotsky.
Phillip Patterson is one of them; he’s headed to Lake Erie College in the fall. He wants to become a principal.
“I like kids, I feel like I can influence kids because I know what kids like me have been though,” said Patterson.
The program is currently in Euclid and Garfield Heights. Because of the success of the program, next year there is a plan to expand the program to five schools tutoring 500 students.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent re-election wasn’t met with the same breathless optimism as when he swept into power in 2014.
Some blame stalled progress on economic reforms and worries about his Bharatiya Janata Party’s Hindu nationalist bent.
Still, his sound victory at home and his acceptance by the Indian diaspora in the United States show that a majority remain broadly favorable toward Mr. Modi, who came into office promising a new, responsive government and undertaking an ambitious program to raise India’s global profile.
That optimism will find an outlet next month during a visit by the prime minister to Houston. He will be in the U.S. to attend the United Nations General Assembly and speak at the body’s climate change summit. It’s unclear whether Mr. Modi will meet with President Donald Trump, who rankled India in June by removing preferential tariff treatment on $5.6 billion in goods.
The “Howdy Modi” rally Sept. 22 is organized by the Texas India Forum and is being promoted by a variety of Indian-American organizations around the country, including 10 groups in Georgia.
Below are the groups registered as supporters for the event:
Indian Association of Greater Athens Athens iagathens.com/
Vedas World Inc Atlanta www.vedas.us
SEWA International – Atlanta Atlanta sewausa.org/atlanta
Hindu Friends of Atlanta Atlanta
United States Hindu Alliance Atlanta www.ushaonline.org
Overseas Friends of BJP – Atlanta Atlanta ofbjp.org
The Gandhi Foundation of USA (GFUSA) Atlanta gandhifoundation.us
Ekal Vidyalaya USA (Atlanta Chapter) Atlanta www.ekal.org
Indian Friends of Atlanta Atlanta www.ifaworld.org
Indian Professionals Network Atlanta ipnatlanta.info
See more about how Atlantans connected with Mr. Modi during visits undertaken during his first term here: Atlantans Inspired by Indian Prime Minister Modi’s Washington Visit
Learn more about the event at www.howdymodi.org.
Fani’s Wrath — Destroyed Homes Cyclone Fani, that hit India’s east coast on May 3 with a speed of almost 200 miles per hour has claimed 60 lives in India so far. The cyclone has affected 15 million people in the states of Odisha and West Bengal and at least 3 million people have lost their homes and livelihood. The cyclone has damaged more than 500,000 houses, killed 3.4 million cattle and uprooted millions of trees.
Fani’s Fury & Trail of Destruction
Cyclone Fani, that hit India’s east coast on May 3 with the same deadly force as a category 4 hurricane has claimed 49 lives in India so far and forced more than a million people out of their homes. The cyclone has affected 15 million in the states of Odisha and West Bengal and as per initial estimates at least 3 million people have lost their homes and livelihood. The cyclone has increased ocean water flow into Asia’s largest brackish water lake, Chilka, increasing threat to marine life.
Torrential rain, gushing winds and razing ocean have damaged more than 500,000 houses, killed 3.4 million cattle and uprooted millions of trees. The cyclone also destroyed power and telecom infrastructure across Odisha’s costal districts and has left a trail of damaged homes, schools, and businesses.
Sewa International’s partner on the ground, Utkal Bipanna Sahayatha Samithi (UBSS), is operating shelters in Odisha and has served freshly cooked meals to more than 8,000 victims. UBSS has distributed 9.4 tons of flattened rice (chuda), 1.89 tons of sugar candy (gur), 5250 packets of dry food and 415 cartons of cookies (biscuits).
More than 2,000 UBSS volunteers are working in coastal towns and villages of Bhuvaneshwar, Puri, Khorda, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapada, Cuttack and Jajpur districts. They are working with local people to clear roads of debris and removing fallen trees for vehicle movement. They are also working on distributing food and other material.
Sewa Relief Efforts
Sewa International volunteers visited Puri and adjoining areas in Odisha on Saturday, May 4, to assess the damage caused by Cyclone Fani. Sewa International is operating 13 shelters in the three worst-affected districts -- Puri, Khordha, and Cuttack. Utkal Bipanna Sahayata Samiti (UBSS), Sewa’s partner organization and a nonprofit based in Odisha, is coordinating the relief efforts. Sewa volunteers are serving freshly cooked meals in the shelters and distributing drinking water and food packets to people in need. They are also serving the cyclone victims in Bhubaneswar, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapada and Jajpur.
Food & Medicines
UBSS is distributing essentials such as food, medicine, tarpaulin sheets to cover damaged roofs, solar lights, ready-to-wear clothes, school supplies, candles, mosquito repellents and match boxes. It has so far distributed 42,200 tarpaulins and 7500 pieces of Polytene. UBSS is planning to open more shelters and distribution centers.
The village well-known for handicrafts, Raghurajpur (known for woodcraft, palm leaf paintings and stonework) of Puri, and many fishing villages are in complete disarray as artists lost their homes and tools and fishermen have lost their fishing nets and boats. In West Bengal, many weavers have lost their looms.
Villages in Dark
Contacting volunteers on the ground has been a challenge as the telecommunications and electric infrastructure damaged by the rains are yet to be restored in many places. Many villages in Puri may not get electricity for months to come. Water supply is also affected in many places.
Sriram & His Friends and Their Robotics Dream
Sriram, a high school student sent a message to UBSS volunteers about destruction in his hometown, Kakatpur. He met with a UBSS volunteer in December 2018 and had shared his plans to build a robotics team in his school. But Cyclone Fani has derailed his plans for now. Sriram and his friends need help to get back to school and keep their robotics dream alive.
Help Cyclone Fani Victims - Donate to Sewa
www.sewausa.org/donate (In “Donate For Project” dropdown, Select “Cyclone Fani on Eastern India Coast”.)
Donate through Check:
Make check payable to “Sewa International” and mail to:
P O Box 820867,
Houston, TX 77282-0867
Atlanta, GA (February 20, 2019): Sewa International condemns the terrorist attack that killed 45 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel and injured many others on February 14, in the Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir.
“Sewa prays for the brave men who lost their lives, and offers strength and support to the loved ones of the departed. We also pray for the speedy recovery of people who were injured in the attack,” Sewa President Professor Sree N. Sreenath said.
Quoting from the Bhagavad Gita (2:20), Prof. Sreenath said, “na jaayate mriyate vaa kadaachin naayam bhuthva bhavithaa na bhooyah/ ajo nithyah saasvato'yam puraano na hanyate hanyamaane sareere”. “The Spirit is neither born nor does it die at any time. It does not come into being or cease to exist. It is unborn, eternal, permanent, and primeval. The Spirit is not destroyed when the body is destroyed”.
Cruel And Cowardly Attack
Sensing the mood and anguish of Sewa supporters, Prof. Sreenath said, “Many of our volunteers, donors and supporters are in great grief and cannot fathom the cruelty and cowardice of the terrorists who planned and carried out this heinous attack, and in this hour of grief we thank those who are standing in support of Indians and Indian-Americans”.
“We thank the US government for asking Pakistan to immediately end support and safe haven to all terror groups operating on its soil and supporting India in this sad moment,” Prof. Sreenath said.
Sewa volunteers and donors have begun to raise money to support families of the slain and those injured in the attack. Prof. Sreenath urged donors to contribute via the “Bharat Ke Veer” fund created to support families of Indian security personnel (https://bharatkeveer.gov.in).
Sewa International (www.sewausa.org) is a 501 (c)(3) Hindu faith-based charitable nonprofit that works in the areas of disaster recovery, education, and development. Sewa has 43 Chapters across the USA and serves regardless of race, color, religion, sex, age, disability or national origin. The Sewa movement works with communities in need and is active in 22 countries, including USA, Canada, The Caribbean, India, and the UK.
Atlanta, GA ( February 05, 2019): As part of its long-term program to rehabilitate flood-affected people of Kodagu district in the southern state of Karnataka in India, Sewa International is organizing a wide-ranging training program to help people find jobs or start a business.
“We are partnering with industry experts to prepare unemployed youth from Kodagu get jobs in corporate, government or non-profit sectors in India, ” said Swadesh Katoch, Sewa International’s Director for Disaster Relief and Bhutanese Empowerment project.
“Sewa has invited applications for this training from people of all educational backgrounds. We will formalize training modules and locations based on the response we receive. While in training, needy candidates will receive help with their food and stay,” Mr. Katoch added.
Repair School Buildings:
Thanking the state administration led by Karnataka’s Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy and Kodagu district administration for their support in Sewa’s rehabilitation efforts, Mr. Katoch mentioned that Sewa volunteers are also working on repairing school buildings and computer labs damaged in the 2018 floods.
Recalling how hundreds of Sewa volunteers helped evacuate families and provided food and shelter to affected people in Houston, TX when Hurricane Harvey hit the city in 2017, Mr. Katoch said, “Sewa has built a great reputation for helping people affected by natural disasters. City officials, general public, and the US media have appreciated our efforts”.
Highlights of Proposed Training* for Unemployed Youth
* subject to registration response
Gitesh Desai ji, President Sewa Houston Chapter, won the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman award at the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas held at Varanasi on Jan 23, 2019 for Community Service and Leadership. The award was presented by Ram Nath Kovind, President of India to 28 eminent NRIs and two organizations of the Indian diaspora for their achievements in various fields. Please join us in congratulating Gitesh ji on this occasion.
Gitesh ji is a very dedicated karyakarta and led the Sewa Houston Chapter during Hurricane Harvey recovery. His own home was inundated and the first floor completely destroyed and he had to leave his home in the middle of the night during the disaster. This did not deter him from leading the Sewa Houston team from the motel where he had to spend over a year as his home was restored. He is also active politically and has served on many boards locally and nationally.
Photo: Gitesh Desai, receiving the Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas (PBD) Award from the President of India on January 23, 2019. Looking on is Sushma Swaraj ji, External Affairs Minister of India. PBD was held from January 21-23, 2019 at Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh.
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Sewa International is a tax-exempt, 501(c)(3) non profit organization registered in Georgia.
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