Khalsa Aid turns 21. What makes Ravi proud?

Founder Ravi Singh reflects on the humanitarian relief agency's journey since 1999 when it ventured out to assist refugees in Kosovo

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Khalsa Aid provide new carts (rehiris or thelas) to Hindu and Muslim victims of Delhi progrom in February 2020
By Asia Samachar Team | BRITAIN |

Khalsa Aid turns 21 today. And in that period, they have worked all over the world to soften the blow on the poor, step in to make a difference for refugees and communities with chronic water problems.

Looking back, the founder of the first humanitarian relief agency powered by the Sikh community says he is head over heels with his community for standing tall with him over the years.

“My Sikh community makes me so proud that they do not judge people. The don’t say to us why you’re helping Muslims, Christians or Hindus. They fund us, they donate to us,” Ravinder Singh said in a message on the social media.

Since 1999 when the London-based organisation was formed, Ravi, as he is popularly kown, said the organisation has also helped in creating ‘humanitarians’ in the people that had thrown their support in way or another.

“We do not differentiate between religion, race, colour. We respect every faith, every people. We see God in everyone who’s hungry, we see God in everyone who’s thirsty, we see God in everyone who’s needy. We don’t judge them by their faith or their religion. We see every child as our own child,” he said.

Khalsa Aid is an international NGO that aims to provide humanitarian aid in disaster areas and civil conflict zones around the world. The organisation is based upon the Sikh principle of “Recognise the whole human race as one”, according to its website.

It came about when Ravi was struck by the plight of the refugees in Kosovo in 1999. That was also a significant year in the Sikh calendar as the community was commemorating the 300th birth anniversary of the Khalsa.

But it was no walk in the park. For a start, there were no social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter. And the idea of running a disaster relief was still novel within the community.

Ravi Singh from Khalsa Aid with students in Mosul – Photo: Khalsa Aid

“The first 10 years was difficult. It was running around, trying to explain to people why we’re doing it….Thing changed after the Haiti earthquake,” he said. The January 2010 earthquake had claimed some 250,000 lives and injured another 300,000 people.

Moving forward, he said the NGO will remain guided by its principle of recognising the whole human race as one.

“Respect everyone. Everyone deserves dignity. Refugees didn’t not chose to be refugees. They are refugees because of circumstances. When we help refuges, we do not see them as Muslims or Christians or Sikhs. We just help them as people,” he said.

On a personal note, he noted that does not have ‘greed for money’.

“I’ve got an all American car, which I love, but doesn’t work half the time, it’s broken, but personally we don’t have greed. We just get on with it. We love what we do. And that’s what makes us different,” he said.

 

RELATED STORY:

Khalsa Aid founder Ravi Singh in Mosul (Asia Samachar, 30 April 2019)

Ravi, does publicity get to your head? (Asia Samachar, 17 Aug 2016)

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