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Sewa Pioneers Award 2016 Winners – Schools

Kindergarten Starters, Dubai  – Helping to relieve hardship and poverty, Protecting the environment

This year the school arranged a unique project: pupils were immersed in a short video clip depicting the story of a ten year old Zambian child, Victoria who walks more than 4 miles every day to fetch a bucket of drinking water. After watching the video pupils reflected and came up with several questions based on the video. Subsequent to the tuning in and immersion through reflection and class discussions over a week to create awareness among the students, parents and staff, all the 5300 students, 250 staff members and representative group of 50 parents walked for water on the 6th of October, 2015. They carried a bucket of water each for a short distance without spilling. This raised significant awareness of water challenges amongst the local community, pupils and parents. What the Judges said “Large impact in student consciousness”

Driffield School and Sixth Form, Driffield  – Helping to relieve hardship and poverty, bringing a little joy and protecting the environment

Over 5 projects were organised by the school working with the Limes residential home, taking pupils out of the school and directly volunteering in the community. Highlights including bringing a mini fair to the home, clearing grassy areas and polishing furniture. However one of the most rewarding moments for students was actually spending time with elderly residents and having the opportunity to reflect on their own relationships with elderly people outside of this week. Many students have now taken their own initiative to visit the home on a regular basis. What the Judges said “This project seems to have taken the concept of Sewa one step further and embedded the principles in the ongoing life of the school.”

West Lodge School, Pinner – Helping to relieve hardship and poverty and protecting the environment

A week of activities saw over 700 students and adults taking part. West lodge has encorporated Sewa Day in to its annual calander and the guiding principles are embedded in the schools Ethos. The entire school collected for Harrow food bank an 2 choirs visited local care homes. Each class set organised its own Sewa project ranging from king thank you cards for people that help them, making bird feeders for the environmental area, making biscuits for the local fire station and delivering them, planting bulbs in the raised beds by the new school building, making bird food for the local park and litter picking in the local park. To ensure Every Day is Sewa Day is adopted the school collaborated with the Knit Aid charity to send a large blanket and scarves to the charity for distribution to refugees in Calais, this will be done regularly. What the Judges said “Great to see children made decisions. Gets them thinking about issues in society and how they can help in their own ways”

Kenmore School, Harrow – Bringing a little joy

The school organised 2 projects in their first year of taking part in Sewa Day. A collection drive was done for the local Hospice St Lukes, with the school and St Lukes being overwhelmed by the van full of donations received. The second project was making a collective story book. Children in all years at the school wrote a story with beautiful illustrations. These were then collated together and bound into books. The story books were sent to a refugee camp set up in France which contained a library for refugee children. What the Judges said “Encouraging education to those less fortunate – great idea.”

Barham Primary, Wembley – Bringing a little joy

A week of activities that started with an assembly focused on good citizen values. Various projects were completed that week with each child making Sewa pledges which were written on tags and tied to them school playground railings. Through Sewa Day the school has created a strong link with the local nursing home and children performed for them. Over 1000 children and teachers took part over the week and performed acts of Selfless service. What the Judges said “Great to see the focus on educating Children on the concept of Sewa and demonstrating Sewa between students”

St Johns C of E, Stanmore – Bringing a little Joy

St Johns had a week of Sewa related activities across the entire school with over 400 people participating in Sewa Day. A key part of the week was a ‘Big Bake’ and donating delicious cakes to the local church, nursing home and old peoples centre. Parents donated a wide variety of ingredients and other items in order to help towards Sewa Week. Once all ingredients were collected, the children of St Johns C of E School were allocated times in the cooking room, a very special assembly took place and children were given time to reflect during PSHE sessions on the true meaning of SEWA. What the Judges said “Building local intergenerational relationships and understanding”

The Millenium School, Dubai – Helping to relieve hardship and poverty, bringing a little joy and protecting the environment

Over 2800 students came together across over 9 different projects promoting the concept of Sewa and helping not just in their local community but across borders. Highlights include a hair donation drive used to help make wigs for cancer patients in Lebanon through to a walkathon for Breast Cancer Awareness. The school motto is We choose to Care which perfectively matches the values of Sewa Day and the school has put significant focus in to regular volunteering making sure every day is Sewa Day. What the Judges said “Large impact and lots of positvity within local community and internationally.”

St Hildas, Bushey  – Helping to relieve hardship and poverty and protecting the environment

This year St Hilda’s received a prize for the efforts made for cleaning the local environment as part of the Hertfordshire ‘Clean for the Queen’ initiative. Pupils from Nursery to Year 6 not only cleaned in and around the school they also cleaned the local area including the adjacent alley way and nearby parks giving an important message to the children and showing care and kindness to the local community. They also performed at the Beaumont care home and took part in the Happy Art Project. What the Judges said “Great to see the entire school taking part and focus on the local community.”

Sewa Pioneers Award 2016 Winners – Voluntary Groups

Veda London, London  – To relieve hardship and poverty and Bringing a little joy

A huge project which had volunteers from the age of 5 to 40, ‘Food for the Mind, Body & Soul’ was an empowering and inspiring project for anyone who was exposed to it. The number of projects that were encompassed within this ranged from packing care packages for refugees in Calais to grooming horses, cooking meals for 9 homeless shelters to visiting and donating toys to children’s wards in hospitals. This team strengthens by the year and spreading the word of Sewa around London. What the Judges said “Very thoughtful development of the day and wide reach”

Young Lohana Society, Barnet/Garston  – Helping to relieve hardship and poverty, Bringing a little joy and Protecting the Environment

A team of 50 volunteers from the Young Lohana Society from all ages organised three projects including a conservation project alongside the conservation volunteers, sorting through donation bags at Peace Hospice and a food drive for Watford New Hope. The team helped to collect food towards supporting the feeding of around 400 homeless people on Sewa Day. They plan to work closely with Peace Hospice to continue the great relationship. What the Judges said “Seems like a real community effort. Comprehensively thought out.”

National Hindu Students Forum Manchester – Relieve Hardship and protecting the environment

The group of 25 undertook 3 inspiring projects this sewa day: cleaning their local Gita Bhavan Mandir, painting flower beds, gardening and planting seeds and lastly undertaking a homeless talk and drive. Not only did this group spend their day doing inspiring sewa but they created awareness by speaking to those in hard situations. These projects helped everyone involved to understand that every day is sewa day! What the Judges said “Great to see awareness of Sewa and the concept of selfless service being spread.”

National Hindu Students Forum Hertfordshire – Bringing a little Joy and Protecting the Environment

150 students across London came together at Bhaktivedanta Manor, the home of the ISKCON movement for the fourth year for a vibrant packed day of Sewa. The students cleaned the gowshalla, undertook gardening on the grounds, cleaned the temple and farming to ensure potatoes were ready for harvest. NHSF Hertfordshire have organised a week for Sewa activities every 2 months with other Sewa events to keep the sewa going all year around. What the Judges said “The scale was impressive and the effort clear in devising the project and inviting so many to join.”

National Hindu Students Forum Sheffield  – Relieve Hardship and bringing joy to others

Volunteers attended a local homeless shelter in a Church and spent the day interacting with the homeless, whilst preparing and distributing food. A tea and biscuit stall was also organized by the homeless shelter, and volunteers helped, as well as clearing up at the end of the day. Everyone enjoyed the day so much that they made it a fortnightly activity for the remainder of the year! What the Judges said “Delighted to see how the initiative has led to ongoing work together”

National Hindu Students Forum Exeter – Relieve Hardship and bringing joy to others

The project brought together society members, members of the public, university workers and the Hindu chaplain – a group of all ages and races united in the name of Sewa. The team prepared fresh sandwiches with other snacks and drinks in distributed them on the streets to those without a home. This allowed direct engagement with some of the most marginalized members of the society and anything leftover was given to a local food bank. An amazing way to bring people together for a project that they planned to repeat again! What the Judges said “Good to see strong partnerships in the community being cultivated and working together” 8 Schools

National Hindu Students Forum Swansea – Protecting the environment and Bringing a little joy

The team focused on their local environment this year by undertaking a beach clean up. This was the teams first time taking part in sewa day however they leave proud of their town and know that they’ve raised awareness of the impact of litter on the environment. What the Judges said “This was an excellent initiative with immediate public benefit”

National Hindu Students Forum Liverpool – Protecting the Environment and Bringing a little joy

Nineteen volunteers went to the new Liverpool Ganesh temple and helped with cleaning the floor, cleaning the dust off the carpets and vacuum-cleaning, washing the altar dishes and helped build steps for an upcoming Hindu festival. They also did gardening of the rooftop garden at the Liverpool students Union. Having established a relationship with both the Ganesh Temple and the Guild, they are planning to carry out similar activities, and potentially create some new opportunities. What the Judges said “Very good to have students contributing to improving their own environment and building links outside the university. A good foundation from which to develop greater links”