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Bollywood star Vivek Oberoi helps raise £7k for Sewa Day.
On Tuesday 2nd July 2014 Sewa Day Ambassador Bollywood star Vivek Oberoi participated in a Q&A by Gurinder Chadha OBE where he spoke of his heartfelt life experiences, endorsing women empowerment and his continued support for Sewa Day. The event, organised by Women Empowered, raised £7000 for Sewa Day and was supported by Sterling Media and Sun Mark Limited. There were over 120 attendees including entrepreneurs from the world of business, politics, sports and society including international cricketers, Monty Panesar and Muttiah Muralitharan, the world record holding bowler.
Vivek spoke of his heartfelt life experiences, endorsing women empowerment and his continued support for Sewa Day, an initiative to remind us that charitable giving is not always about donating money, it was, many a times about donating time – the concept of selfless service that generations of Indians (and many others under a variety of names) have known as ‘sewa’ was being revived to a mass audience. Each year since, on one day in the year people come together to “do sewa” for others. Last year, four years from inception Sewa Day projects were being held in 25 countries with over 320 projects and a staggering 75000 people taking part.
Best known as an award winning actor in films such as Company, Saathiya, Shoot Out at Lokandwala and Krish 3, Vivek’s philanthropic work is understated but overwhelming. He has been awarded the Red & White Bravery Award in 2006 for helping rebuild a village which was severely hit by the Tsunami. He delivered 6 truck loads of relief to villages and adopted a Tsunami damaged village; he runs a school project near Devi offering education to underprivileged girls who have been abandoned by their families; he supports the Cancer Patients Aid Association and Banyan which rehabilitates homeless women with mental illnesses and many more. He has been recognised by FORBES Asia for his charity work. He is one of only 4 Indians on the list and the only Bollywood star and also the youngest. He has donated over $3m, helped raise over $25m but has also given something just as valuable if not more and that is his time.
About Women Empowered
Reena Ranger, Chairwoman & Founder of Women Empowered (WE) welcomed the guests to the event explaining that WE is a wholly social initiative which aims to empower women (and men) to make the best of their individual skills and talents aimed at Engaging, Encouraging, Empowering and Enabling women(and men) to do whatever that special thing is that makes a difference to their lives as they see it. She went on to say, “the satisfaction and humility of doing good is reward enough with the added benefit of benefiting others –we make a living by what we get but a life by what we give. People such as Mr Oberoi, who have dedicated so much of their time towards helping those less fortunate, are a source of great inspiration to all of us.” Reena Ranger, on behalf of WE presented the trustees of Sewa Day with a cheque for £5,000 to help them to continue their work. Another £2000 was raised on the night bringing the total to £7000 raised by the WE community.
Manoj Ladwa, Founder and CEO of the MLS Chase Group and Sewa Day trustee addressed the audience and said: “Sewa is that special thing that will never come back to us once given. Vivek Oberoi, by pledging to be an ambassador further enforced his mission to support the cause. Sewa Day does not choose social activities, it is your choice and could be as simple as speaking for a little time with someone who was lonely.”
Arup Ganguly, Chairman of Sewa Day said: “We are honoured and delighted to announce that Vivek Oberoi is going to serve as an Ambassador to Sewa Day. Through his public profile and activism, we hope that many others join hands with us on Sewa Day this year on 5th October, all over the world. On behalf of Sewa Day, I would also like to add my thanks to Reena Ranger & Women Empowered for their continued championing of our cause.”
Vivek Oberoi touched the audience with heartfelt stories of his mother who he described as the epitome of Sewa, as she selflessly dedicated her efforts to caring for cancer patients and terminally ill patients daily. He reflected and endorsed the notion of women empowerment, attributing his own empowerment to his mother. Speaking of his own experiences and what awakened him to selflessly engage in sewa, he said: “I was going through a difficult point in my life, then one day my mum said I should come with her to the memorial hospital and I saw children dealing with cancer and my problems seemed ridiculous and so small in comparison. That kick-started my journey and I realised there was so much to do in life.”
Mr Oberoi spoke in the tone of a true philanthropist, while endorsing the message of Sewa Day, “I try to reach out and tell people that this (Sewa) is incredible. I think Sewa Day is a great platform and that it should be a celebration of humanity. It’s the most satisfying feeling. Let Sewa Day on October 5th 2014 be the beginning.”