Sewa Day in Schools
Young people are among the most enthusiastic volunteers on Sewa Day. So under the brand identity ‘Sewa Day Schools’, the global volunteering initiative aims to get more school children involved in helping others either within the school or in the local community.
The Sewa Day Schools programme includes a specially-designed schools information pack for teachers; free Key Stage 2 lesson plans for the PSHE & Citizenship curriculum; a school Assembly presentation and guide; case studies of successful schools’ volunteering projects and a video to support its aim. Sewa Day also provides stickers and certificates to help motivate pupils to do more.
Sewa, a Sanskrit word meaning “selfless service”, is a universal concept that more schools are embracing in a bid to build better relationships with their local community. In 2013, 75 schools, and approximately 30,000 pupils, took part in the week preceding Sewa Day, which usually takes place in October each year, and the charity hopes to significantly increase that number in the coming years. The three principle aims for Sewa Day are to alleviate human hardship & poverty, improve the environment and bring a little joy.
The Sewa Day project in schools is a week-long initiative that allows individual establishments to host assemblies, explain the concepts of sewa (“selfless service”), use the free classroom resources provided by Sewa Day and organise activities that enable students to perform an act of sewa either within the school or in the community. The control of Sewa Day within a school is entirely in the remit of the lead organiser – be it a head teacher, a teacher, teaching assistant or a member support staff team – and the only limit is the imagination!
Here are some case studies of what schools have done on previous occasions for Sewa Day.
Barham Primary School, Wembley, London
In 2012 at Barham Primary School in Wembley, London, the school assembly was led by the head teacher to launch Sewa Day projects that included creating a sharing of old spectacles collection box and a poster competition. Teachers followed this up throughout the week using lesson plans provided and discussions based on the three guiding Sewa principles. There was school clean-up initiative throughout the week involving nursery and reception year pupils. Pupils also provided entertainment at the local Copland Nursing Home to the elderly and organised a collection for St Luke’s Hospice.
Total Number of Participants: 900
Total Impact: 900+
Barham’s involvement of the whole school are been recognised with a Sewa Pioneers Award 2013 and Sewa Pioneers Award 2014.
Ealing Tuition Service, Ealing, London
On Thursday 11th October 2012, pupils and staff at the Ealing Tuition Service in London took part in various Sewa Day activities. Pupils in Key Stage 4 worked with the Ealing Council Park Rangers’ Nature Conservation programme helping to clear a public footpath in the local area. The path had become overgrown with scrub and low branches, which has encouraged crime and antisocial behaviour. Key Stage 3 pupils took part in activities in and around the school, helping to clear the area of litter. Pupils also helped plant bulbs and flowering shrubs to improve the overall appearance of the outside area. A further group of pupils are taking part in the Vision Aid Overseas programme – recycling old spectacles, helping to transform eye care services in developing countries.
Total Number of Participants: 16 pupils and 17 staff.
Our Own English High School, Dubai
Our Own English High School, Dubai, undertook a mass Sewa Day tree planting project conducted on Tuesday 9th of October 2012, in support of the One Million Trees Initiative, launched by H.H Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum. The event was jointly organized by the Dubai Police Academy and the Varkey Gems Foundation with a total of 200 saplings planted at the GEMS OOEHS Al Warqaa campus. “This project was a labour of love for all those who were involved in it. We are all very proud of the new campus we moved into just a year ago. But the fact that its sprawling grounds were so bare and brown always rankled with us. So when the idea was suggested that we take part in the ‘A Million Tree ‘ initiative as part of Sewa Day we couldn’t help imagine how beautiful our campus would look with several majestic trees growing on it.”
Total Number of Participants: 50 Primary boys aged 8-10 yrs, 30 Girl Guides aged 12- 17yrs, 20 School prefects aged 15- 17 yrs, 30 Neptune house prefects aged 13 – 17 Yrs, 50 Teachers of senior school, 20 Admin staff and support staff.
Total Impact: 9000 students
Radford Primary School, Nottingham
Radford Primary School in Nottingham decided to make Sewa Day s a whole school project planned over the year to take place in the summer term. Every child and member of staff got involved and chose the activity they wanted to be involved in which included:
- cooking meals and taking them to a homeless soup kitchen,
- going to a day centre and talking, entertaining and taking part in activities together,
- having a coffee morning for OAPs,
- sharing stories and tea party with grandparents,
- a talent show for OAPs and members of the community,
- planting in areas around school,
- designing and painting a large mural for an outside wall,
- helping shoppers at a local supermarket,
- clearing litter in the local area, parks and streets.
Total Number of Participants: 210 and children took part and 25 staff.
Total Impact: 150 – 300