Sewa Day 2015: Hindu community brighten up Bradford
Over 150 volunteers painted the streets of Bradford purple last weekend as the annual Sewa Day celebrations once again brought out the best in people.
Now in its sixth year, ‘sewa’ is a universal concept, which involves performing an act of kindness without expectation of reward.
On Sunday 4th October, volunteers gathered at the Lakshmi Narayan Hindu Temple, on Leeds Road, Bradford, to discuss activities for the day ahead and take inspiration from the site.
Donning their classic purple jumpers and t-shirts, the team were dispatched to various projects across Leeds and Bradford, where people were given a chance to give something back to their local communities.
From tidying neighbourhoods to planting flowers, and collecting items for the refugee crisis to working in day shelters, dozens of activities were carried out throughout the busy day.
Paresh Rathod is the Sewa Day co-ordinator from Bradford. Having taken part in the project in recent years, he said he was delighted to see so many people join in this year’s day of action.
“The turnout on Sewa Day was fantastic,” he said. “Over 150 volunteers took part in some wonderful projects that demonstrated how people can join together to put a smile on the faces of each other.
“Sewa is not about giving cash donations, just giving up something more valuable - your time. Seeing the joy on some of the faces was priceless.”
Through their selfless actions, volunteers aim to fulfil the principles of Sewa Day which include: relieving hardship and poverty, bringing joy to those who have little, and helping the environment.
At the Lakshmi Narayan Temple and Sai Centre, in Lidget Green, volunteers sorted through over 700 tins of vegetables, 60 packets of pasta and rice, 40 boxes of coffee and tea, around 150 duvets and pillows, as well as 40 bin bags full of clothes.
Once completed, the huge bounty of goods were taken to St Mary Centre, off Barkerend Road, for the local Curry Project and the Horton House day shelter.
Elsewhere, volunteers turned out at Hill Top Primary School, Harold Park, and The Rosebank Conservation area, in Leeds, to help make planters, upkeep outdoor furniture, and prepare the grounds for a community apple day.
Other projects helped include the Friends of Queensbury Cemetery Group, Keighley Fire Service, and the Sudanese Community Centre.
This year’s International Day of Volunteering saw hundreds of thousands of people join in activities throughout the UK, helping to raise millions of pounds of added value for Britain.