Mother Teresa once said: “The biggest disease today is not leprosy or cancer or tuberculosis, but rather the feeling of being unwanted, uncared for and deserted by everybody.” A recent report said that ‘loneliness is more deadly than obesity, feeling isolated can disrupt sleep, raise blood pressure, weaken immunity, increase depression and lower subjective wellbeing.’ A study of loneliness in older Britons in 2012 found that more than a fifth felt lonely all the time, and a quarter became more lonely over five years. Half of those who took part in the survey said their loneliness was worse at weekends, and three-quarters suffered more at night. So naturally bringing a little joy is one of the popular project categories for Sewa Day.
In 2013 Wishful Smiles, alongside Navin Kundra, Harrow Sikh Network and City Sikhs Network joined forces, with great support from Barry Gardiner MP on the day, to run projects at a nursing home and a local community centre in Brent. Volunteers served the senior citizens at Kenbrook nursing home by interacting with them and serving lunch and tea. Navin Kundra gave an exceptional performance, engaging and entertaining the elderly along with dancers who danced to bollywood songs to entertain the elderly. Volunteers also held a Question and Answer session for local children at the Brent Sikh Centre.
Sherfield School, Hook
In 2012, Children from Sherfield School in Hook in Hampshire spent an afternoon with the elderly residents from local care homes and delivered to them the flowers which had been donated by students earlier that day for the Harvest Festival. The children spent time with the adults, engaging in conversation for much of the afternoon. Some of the school’s musicians also gave a performance at the nearby Loddon School for young people with disabilities. This might have been a challenging situation for many of our younger pupils but they coped enormously well and were at ease with the children, some of whom who had quite serious physical disabilities.
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