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Sewa Pioneers Awards 2015

Sewa Pioneers Award 2015 Winners – Schools

GEMS Wellington Academy, Dubai Silicon Oasis
Helping to relieve hardship and poverty
The school hosted a winter appeal for the children of Syria, forming a partnership with Red Crescent to collect blankets, warm clothing and tinned foods. The appeal went out across the school and the local community with the response being huge. In addition there were themed days throughout the week – Sharing Sunday, Message Monday, Teamwork Tuesday, World Wednesday and Thoughtful Thursday. On Message Monday each child in the Primary Phase wrote an act of kindness pledge on a special luggage tag. Their pledge had to be one act that they could complete to bring joy to others.

GEMS Our Own English High School, Fujairah
Helping to relieve hardship and poverty, bringing a little joy
The school organised a creative project where pupils held a training camp for elderly people including staff and support staff on how to use computer technology, the latest mobile phone applications, social media and other technical advancements. This project was created by the students and they took the initiative to ensure it was a resounding success, also learning how difficult it can be to train someone for the first time. This immediately improved the lives of the beneficiaries.

West Lodge Primary School
Helping to relieve hardship and poverty, protecting the environment and bringing a little joy
The school organised an entire weeks’ worth of activities under the banner Sewa Week. The children in each class came up with ideas for their own Sewa projects and took ownership from the start through to leading the activities. Examples include decorating biscuits and making welcome cards for the new Reception children. Year 1 also made bookmarks for a local nursing home. Year 3 made mini storybooks for children in a local hospital and collected old football kits for War Child. Year 4 made treats (cookies and cakes) for local emergency services and delivered these by hand (local police and fire stations).

Driffield School and Sixth Form
Helping to relieve hardship and poverty, protecting the environment and bringing a little joy
Students from all year groups came together to help out at a local skate park, Skateopia, that attracts hundreds of young people every day. The skate park is central to the local community providing a safe place for young people to get together outside of school. By helping a centre that in turn helps hundreds of young people allowed the pupils to really understand the importance of giving time.
The volunteers cleared grassy areas which had scrap pieces of metal and wood lying around. They also painted the ramps which had not been painted for years. The students also conducted questionnaires, which gave knowledge to the skate park owners.

St Hilda’s School
Bringing a little joy
This was the first year St Hildas participated in Sewa Day. Twenty four pupils came together to perform a Christmas music recital at Bushey Beaumont residential home. The pupils were unprepared for how much of an impact this simple act of kindness would have on the residents. It really brought home to them the fundamental ethos behind SEWA. One gentleman was so moved that he shed a single tear during the performance. The residents enjoyed the performance and this project enabled the school to build an ongoing relationship with the local home.

Sewa Pioneers Award 2015 Winners – Voluntary Groups

OM Group
Helping to relieve hardship and poverty and bringing a little joy
OM Group volunteers arranged a wide variety huge range of projects in Luton, amongst them a truly unique project. Volunteers spent the day helping at Appledown Dogs Kennel giving attention to rescued dogs, taking them for walks and carrying out maintenance on the grounds to make them more dog-friendly and pleasant for those visiting their potential new pets.
Thirteen volunteers took part, ranging in age from 13 – 50 years.

Asda Feltham
Helping to relieve hardship and poverty
A team of 15 volunteers from Asda Feltham alongside Sikh Welfare Awareness Team (SWAT) organised a vibrant project, which created huge impact despite such a small number of volunteers. Asda staff joined SWAT for one of its regular Sunday evening slots to feed the homeless. The team helped to collect food and fed nearly 400 homeless people on Sewa Day. They continue to work closely with SWAT and have a great ongoing relationship.

Atma Vignani Dada Bhagwan Foundation
Bringing a little joy
Thirty one volunteers consisting of the group’s kids club, co-ordinators and parents served food, drinks and entertained elderly people at James Court, a retired sheltered housing community in Northwood. The foundation has been running projects for years and once again organised a great project making a real difference to the residents at the home.

Shree Swaminarayan Temple Stanmore and Country Park
Helping the environment
Entire families and volunteers of all ages came together to help around the temple grounds; gardening and clearing the area. A great feature of this project was the amount of first time volunteers who, having experienced performing Sewa, have come back to the temple and volunteered for other projects. Everyone joined in and had a blast of a time doing even the most menial jobs. The enthusiasm of the sewaks (volunteers) themselves was infectious!

Ashiana and Sai Centre
Bringing a little joy
An empowering project for anyone who was exposed to it; the team helped to raise awareness and reduce stigma associated with learning disabilities by encouraging and providing volunteering opportunities to our service users. The team served and entertained elderly residents of the borough, helping them to integrate within the wider community.