Rosharon Calling

Photos: Navin Mediwala

Photos: Navin Mediwala

HOUSTON: Imagine a community of 200 broken and flooded houses with poor access roads, piles of rotten debris, surviving on backed-up sewage, still filled with undrained flood and rain water at many places and smelling strong mold and mildew every day.  This is Rosharon, a small agrarian Cambodian community in Brazoria County of greater Houston – completely isolated, neglected and severely impacted by Harvey. All of these residents (majority of them being elders) are facing severe health risks. Dr. Harshida Chaudhari, one of the Sewa doctors serving through regular Sewa Medical camps at Rosharon has raised this as a serious concern, “People of Rosharon are living in unsanitary and unhealthy conditions. People have lot of health issues and they are stressed out. There is a high chance of acquiring infectious diseases. This community needs an immediate attention.”

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With extreme challenges in transport access, medical risks and other related issues, lot of volunteering organizations had to back out from Rosharon. As mentioned by Red Cross officials, they were “trying to get supplies and food to a community in Brazoria County” and were “encountering some access challenges”.  Since Sewa volunteers had already reached out to this under-served community, Red Cross team sought help from Sewa International for the delivery of their supplies. Erin Stephens, Regional Mass Care and Logistics Manager, American Red Cross, said, “We so appreciate the services Sewa team has been providing to this community and want to ensure that we can keep supporting your efforts.  Information you may have about the ongoing/new needs of the community would be useful.”

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Sewa volunteers visit Rosharon every day and continue to frontend all relief operations at Rosharon while working closely with other organizations. Sewa volunteers have been actively involved in serving this community and providing food, water, temporary shelter and medical assistance to residents of Rosharon. A lot still needs to be done for this community and more Houstonians need to come forward for their cause.

Sewa Houston team has contributed more than 45,000 volunteer hours till date (after Harvey aftermath) and continues to raise Harvey relief fund. Many organizations and people have joined Sewa for this noble cause. Arya Samaj has been a leading supporter to Sewa Houston though their multiple initiatives and programs. This week, Sewa also gathered support and contribution from Katy India Cultural Show, Meenakshi Temple, Amit Tandon Comedy Show and Gaudia Math.

One of the most touching contributions this week for Sewa was from Seven Jain teenagers who observed Atthai. Atthai is an 8-day fast during auspicious week of Paryushan when one gives up all types of food and survives only on water.  Purpose of these austerities is to test one’s self-restraint, mind control & devotion and help develop strong will, focus and concentration. This year seven young Jain students Diksha Kurwa, Jessica Shah, Jiya Jhonsa, Manushi Shah, Pranav Mehta, Riya Mehta, and Riya Solanki observed Atthai at the end of which their families hosted an appreciation ceremony called Saangi. These teenagers had collected over $16,750 in gifts during this occasion and all seven kids decided to donate all the proceeds to Sewa International. In the words of Jiya Jhonsa : “We decided to donate our gift collections to SEWA, who has been extremely active in helping the victims of Hurricane Harvey in the greater Houston area since the disaster struck Houston.  It was an easy decision to donate to SEWA as me and my family have personally volunteered for SEWA and have seen all of their efforts first-hand (like demolishing/clean-up of  damaged properties, providing hot meals, providing basic necessities like clothes and medicines, etc.).  We are confident that SEWA is going to put this donation from us to a very good use and we are proud to be a small part of this noble initiative undertaken by SEWA”. Sewa team is truly honored and humbled by this noble gesture.

Amit Tandon, a popular stand-up comedian and a Sewa supporter himself, has shared a personal invitation on social media (facebook, twitter etc.) to appeal everyone to support Sewa. As he puts it “I have seen remarkable job Sewa Houston has done. Pls do volunteer for Sewa or donate money. Be a part of this great initiative and be a part of Sewa”.

You can join your neighborhood volunteer group by registering as a volunteer at https://sewausa.org/chapter/houston/houston-overview Or email us at Houston@sewausa.org

For further details contact Gitesh Desai (281) 300-7346 or Achalesh Amar (713) 357-8216
Email: houston@sewausa.org
Web: http://www.sewahouston.org
Phone: 281.909.SEWA

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