Sewa Fundraiser Highlights Virtue of Service


Sewa Team with Keynote speaker H.D. Chambers

HOUSTON: After staying in a refugee camp in Nepal for 15 years, Sudarshan Luitel, a Bhutanese refugee, came to the U.S. in 2009.

Seven years later, successfully studying at the Texas State University, the former refugee showcased his transformation.

He spoke with an accent, but spoke in English clearly, and attributed his success to the help provided by Sewa International in terms of free vaccination, school supplies, tutorial help for studying English as a Second Language and finally, a college scholarship.


Sewa Fundraising Team

“Your donations can help transform refugees like me,” Luitel told over 500 people gathered at the Sewa International’s Annual Fundraiser at Sri Radhakrsihna Temple Auditorium in Houston on Sept. 25.

The event with inspiring speeches, scintillating performances and mouth-watering spread catered by Bhojan, drew people of diverse backgrounds with the common thread being their commitment to Service or Sewa .

The chief guest and keynote speaker, Alief Independent School District Superintendent H.D. Chambers, spoke passionately about the work Sewa International does to serve the refugee and immigrant students of Alief ISD.


Sadhavi Ritambhara Ji speaking at the HELP 2016 fundraiser

He said “the challenges my school district faces with students speaking more than 91 languages are many ” and emphasized how “without the help of non profits like Sewa Houston it would not be possible for school districts to educate these students.” His comments underscored the importance of the work Sewa does through School districts and its independent programs like ASPIRE tutorials.

“America is more of an idea. Every community is a microcosm of the USA. For the country to prosper there must be support from the communities. If communities do not hlp each other, the country will crumble,” Chambers said. Alief community is a contributor to the concept of America, he said.

Nearly 60 percent of Alief ISD students live in apartments. In this context, Sewa also helps refugee students who live in these apartments. Chambers said the challenge is to make apartment dwellers live like a community and he admonished Sewa to help build communities in apartments and help those students assimilate into the culture.

People, faith-based organizations and schools are three pillars of the society and building a community begins with a family and building from within. And here comes the contribution of Sewa, Chambers said.

Sewa President Sarojini Gupta drew loud applause as she shared with the audience the numerous strides Sewa has made in the past year.

“This past year has been a year of progress and growing partnerships” Gupta said. She added that “Sewa served over 75 kids through the entire school year, took two field trips with the support of Brays Oaks Management District and tutored over 200 kids in Alief ISD summer schools. We also served over 70 pre diabetic and diabetic people through our Stop Diabetes Movement yoga camps.”


Sewa Youth volunteers with President Sarojini Gupta

Also present at the event were various beneficiaries of Sewa programs and speakers like SDM participant Dr.Satyanarayan Chilukuri, and noted scientist Dr.Sen Pathak.

Dr. Chilukuri spoke about yoga as a complementary medicine and how Sewa programs helped provide good health and living in harmony with nature. A practicing doctors for 50 years, Dr. Chilukuri encouraged everyone to practice, yoga as it has immense impact on good health and wellness. Yoga will liberate us from unnecessary medications, he said.

The evening’s highlight however was the speech given by Sadhvi Ritambhara Ji, who stressed on the importance of service and the long standing virtue of donating.

She reiterated that Sewa does exactly that, serving humanity without any prejudice of cast, color or religion.

With the support of its speakers, well wishers, the emcee of the evening Dr. Ratna Kumar, Director of Anjali School of Dance, Sewa was able to raise $168,000 against its target of $150,000.

The evening’s entertainment comprised live dance performances, Saraswati Vandana performed by Neha Pendse and troupe from Aradhana school of dance, Chinese dance by J.H school of dance and Flamenco performance by Flamenco Houston.

On behalf of our entire team Chapter Coordinator Kaushik Chatterjee and Project Coordinator Kavita Tewary thanked all Sewa Volunteers and donors who came out and made the fundraiser a big success.