Darshan Kaur | Surrey, Canada | Asia Samachar | 3 June 2015
A Vancouver-based volunteer group had gone to Nepal to help after the quake. Among them was Surinder Singh, the granthi sahib at Sukh Sagar Gurdwara, Canada.
By Darshan Kaur
The destruction from the recent Nepal earthquake hit Giani Surinder Singh. The images over television disturbed him.
“As it is, most of Nepal’s population live below the poverty line,” he thought. “Now, the country will be further crippled. Thousands of lives have been lost and the devastation has made over 2 million people homeless.”
So, when there was a call to go to Nepal and lend a helping hand, Surinder from the Khalsa Diwan Society, New West Minister division in British Columbia, Canada, did not think twice.
The mission was driven by the Vancouver-based Sikhi Awareness Foundation (SAF). It is a Canada-based non-profit organization involved in community work in Punjab, India. It believes and follows the Sikh principles of selfless service to humanity.
“SAF informed me a team from Vancouver will be going to Nepal to build temporary shelters for the displaced victims in remote villages and they needed volunteers,” he tells Asia Samachar.
The Vancouver team was joined by SAF volunteers from India. Besides, putting up temporary houses, they distributed tents, food and water to displaced people. They worked with five Nepali engineers on the ground to construct the dwellings.
The damaged infrastructure meant that most of the relief materials from India had to be taken across by road to Nepal.
Surinder feels the mission has been meaningful not just for him but for the Nepalis affected because SAF is carrying out its relief efforts in remote areas where no other aid agency or team has gone.
It took SAF volunteers almost nine hours to walk from Kathmandu to Rasuwa district in Central Nepal. There, they distributed food and tents to survivors.
“In nearby Kavrepalanchowk district, 110 homes were demolished. With the help of the villagers, SAF has managed to re-build about 70 – 80 temporary shelters so far.
“My two weeks in Nepal were special. I was privileged to do a different kind of sewa for humanity…outside my regular Granthi duties. An opportunity I will seize, the next chance I get”, expressed Surinder.
SAF founder Shamandeep Singh says: “While in Nepal…any act of sewa the volunteers performed, from making langgar to building homes, we recited Waheguru jaap.
“The concept of selfless service or sewa is what our Gurus have taught us and we remember them when we carry out such work. We even had a Nishan Sahib in the village.”
Touched by SAF’s efforts, on the last day of their mission, the villagers asked SAF to leave the Nishan Sahib flying high in the village as a reminder of the support and sewa done by the Sikhs.
SAF’s Volunteer Team #2 was in Nepal from May 12-28, 2015.
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