- Blood-Organ and Stem Cell Donation
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- Pioneers Awards
The inaugural Sewa Pioneers Awards were held on Wednesday night at the House of Commons. In a jam packed room, Sewa Day volunteers from around the world were honoured for donating their time to help their fellow man, for their community spirit and for their creativity. It was like Pop Idol meets the Proms! In attendance were politicians, pop stars, media celebrities, school teachers, socialites, priests, students, doctors, bankers, community workers – folks from every walk of life. A real cross-section of society. No surprise really as Sewa Day is implicitly all about social cohesion.
Truth be told, when the idea of an award scheme was first mooted, it didn’t sit too comfortably with us. It seemed to go against our ethos of putting our heads down and just getting on with it. As one speaker said last night, “people who promote and take part in Sewa Day aren’t natural self congratulators”. We were also uncomfortable with highlighting one project versus another as we appreciate every single effort that is put into Sewa Day by everyone – as far as we are concerned, everyone’s a winner. However, we realised that this was a chance to showcase what we do and hopefully inspire others to follow our lead and pick up the mantle. Just as we have successfully used social media tools to engage would-be volunteers, we realised that we need to take every chance to bang our drum. After all, building a mass movement for positive social change is the ultimate agenda here.
So, the Sewa Pioneers Awards programme was set up in 2013 to recognise the outstanding social service projects that create a positive impact on local communities and act as a catalyst to inspire further selfless action in others. Submissions were invited in November 2012 from voluntary groups and schools projects. The un-envious task of sifting through the hundreds of projects around the world, choosing our finalists and whittling these down to our final 10 winners (a monumental task given the complexity, breadth and depth of the projects) was given to our three nominated judges: Lopa Patel (Editor-in-Chief, Redhotcurry.com), Jon Aarons (Snr MD, FTI Consulting) and Nupur Singh (Head of HR, Tata Consultancy Services). After a mammoth effort, the below mentioned recipients were chosen.
The atmosphere at Wednesday’s awards ceremony was electric. You could slice through the excitement in the air. Inspiring speeches by Karen Giles of Barham Primary School, Meetpal Singh of Exemplaris, pop star Navin Kundra, BBC Radio celebs Sunny & Shay and a tub thumper of an address by Steve Pound MP added to the occasion. To quote our friend Mr. Pound, “there are quite a few members of the House (of Commons) who could learn a thing or two about sewa (i.e. service to the community) from the folks at Sewa Day”.
So, the winners are (drum roll please)…..
The winners of the school section:
• Ealing Tuition Service, UK
• Our Own English High School, Dubai
• Barham Primary School, UK
• Radford Community School, UK
• Kindergarten Starters School, Dubai
The winners of the voluntary groups section:
• Reachout Now, UK
• Food for Life, Hong Kong
• Exemplaris, UK
• St. Philips Centre, UK
• Om Group, UK
A hearty congratulations to all our award recipients. Your devotion and dedication to your communities are an inspiration to us all.
It’s just left for me to say thank you on behalf of the team. Our thanks to all Sewa Day supporters, partners, sponsors, friends and families who share with us that common desire to foster stronger global community cohesiveness and promote the ideal of selflessness. Thanks in particular to Lopa Patel, Jon Aarons, Nupur Singh, Gavin Barwell MP, Bob Blackman MP, Mike Freer MP, Barry Gardiner MP, Steve Pound MP, Virendra Sharma MP, Gareth Thomas MP, Baroness Sandy Verma, Cllr. Vidhi Mohan, Cllr Julian Bell, Cllr. Muhammad Butt, Cllr. David Parry, Vascroft Ltd., Elite Visions, Unesta, The Chinmaya Mission, Arvind Jobanputra & Co, Sewa International, Dixit Joshi & Family, Mayank & Jigna Patel, Amnesty International, UNESCO, Big Issue, Guardian Teacher Network, Lloyds Banking Group, Navin Kundra, Sunny & Shay, Farzana Baduel, Reena Ranger, Mona Remtulla, Nat Puri, Hasina Momtaz and Sheena Bhattessa.
Last and by no means least, the biggest thanks go to You, the volunteer.
However, before we all start engaging in a mass back slapping session, let’s remember the job is only half done. There’s plenty of work still outstanding. Plenty of suffering left in the world. We want the word “Sewa” to become as common place in everyday vocabulary as that other “four-letter” word……”yoga!” With your help we truly believe we can achieve this. Join us on Oct 6 this year for Sewa Day 2013.
Come on. Be the Change!
Chairman – Sewa Day