The New Jersey Arya Samaj Mandir Incorporated completed its Second Humanitarian Mission to the lesser fortunate children of Guyana during the months of July-August 2006. Pt. Suresh Sugrim (President, New Jersey Arya Samaj Mandir), along with Bahen Usha Singh, Bahen Devi Gossai and Bahen Sandhya Sugrim, was in Guyana to execute this year’s mission which was done at a cost of $8 Million Guyana Dollars. This years mission was much larger than the 2005 Mission as it expanded in such a way that a larger number of children benefited. The Mission as usual collaborated with the local Arya Samaj bodies – the Guyana Central Arya Samaj and the Berbice Central Arya Samaj.
The organization started this year’s mission with fund-raising efforts in the USA during Feb-July 2006. Funds were raised primarily through donations mostly from American-Guyanese and Americans. The highlight of this years fund-raising drive was its first ever fund-raising concert called ‘Arya Swaranjali’. This concert took the form of an evening of bhajans, songs, and Indian classical dancing. According to the President of the New Jersey Arya Samaj Mandir Inc., “We had an immense turn out and lots of support from the Guyanese-American Community.” Many talented overseas based-Guyanese performers supported the event. These included – Pt. Prakash Gossai, Pt. Ramdular, Pt. Rajin Balgobind, the Natraj Cultural Dance Group and also from Guyana, Dr. Ramesh Sugrim. Due to the tremendous support received from this concert, the organisation plans to make this an annual event.
Second Year of the Humanitarian Mission
Since the Humanitarian Mission to Guyana will now be an annual event in the mandirs calendar, a secretariat for the Mission was set up in Guyana by the Berbice Central Arya Samaj that will process requests for assistance from families and children in Guyana. Applications were invited from children and families all across Berbice by means of advertising on TV and by word-of-mouth. Families and children, who were interested in benefiting from the mission, were encouraged to fill an application form – stating their immediate needs and to include a description of their family situation. Approximately 1,000 applications were received including applications from families with disabled children. The secretariat underwent the task of processing all the applications in a very short period of time. The Mission placed special emphasis on visiting some of the homes of the applicants so as to ascertain how to provide for their specific needs. The Humanitarian Mission is interested in improving the standard of living of these children by providing most of the necessities that they need to function as normal children that come from a home with parents. The Mission sees it as its duty to have these children feel as if they have families of their own to love and care for them as their own children. We are particularly interested in providing the children with articles for schooling and education (such as stationery, footwear, school-bags etc).
Outreach to Orphanages
In keeping with the Mission’s hope of improving the standard of living of the children in orphanages, we continued to work with various orphanages on the Corentyne Coast, as we did last year.
On Saturday August 19th, both sets of children from the Canaan Children’s Home (Port Mourant) and the Camal Home: Home for the Homeless and Battered Women (Albion) came in for a treat as they received school supplies. In addition, the Canaan Children’s Home was presented with a medicine chest, mattresses, bed-sheets, electrical appliances, cookware, bicycles and toiletries. The bikes were given to Damion and Rudolph – children of the Canaan Home. At the Camal Home the bedrooms were repainted and donations were made of beds, vanities, a double-door refrigerator, cookware and other items.
This year the Mission expanded its outreach towards the West Coast of Demerara by collaborating with the Prabhu Sharan Orphanage at Cornelia Ida, which is run by the Cornelia Ida Arya Samaj Temple. The mission donated four bunk-beds and a microwave amongst other things to the orphanage. Discussions were held towards future help and cooperation between the two organizations.
Outreach to the Lesser Fortunate Children
On Sunday August 20th, the mission came to a climax as a Grand Distribution Exercise was held at the Port Mourant Vedic Mandir. There, 1,500 families got assistance in the form of school supplies (note-books, school-bags, footwear for school and other stationery etc). Approximately GUY$5,000 was expended on each child. Present at this function were the Prime Minister of Guyana, the Honourable Samuel Hinds and the Chairman of Region Six – Mr. Kumkaran Ramdass. They both addressed the gathering of more than 3,000 persons and both lauded the efforts of the New Jersey Arya Samaj Mandir Inc.
At this function also, ten children – whose schools were located at distances from their homes – were selected from villages along the Corentyne Coast to receive bicycles. They were Lachman Sankar of Letter Kenny; Paramsook of Seawell; Ajai Baldeo and Mahesh Nankoo, both of Port Mourant; P. Seeram and Andrew Hing, both of East Canjie; Kapildeo Sawh of Skeldon; Yashodra Singh of Alness; and Nadia Hunte and Yoganand Seenarine, both of Williamsburg.
At this function also, a separate fund which is operated by the Berbice Central Arya Samaj – The Sugrims Memorial Education Fund – presented bursaries to 10 successful deserving applicants. They were: Sankar Family of Letter Kenny, Nankoo Family of Port Mourant, Sawh Family of Skeldon, Pooran Family of Tain, Hing Family of No 2 Canjie and Kannia Family of No 78 Village.
The Humanitarian Mission has also set up some food vouchers for the physically challenged persons along the Corentyne Coast. These were distributed later in the week following it’s Grand Function on Aug 20th. In addition, a system will be established whereby transportation costs for the less fortunate would be funded by Humanitarian Mission 2006.
Rehabilitation of Children’s Playground
In collaboration with the Berbice Central Arya Samaj, the Mission rehabilitated the children’s playground in the Rampoor area of No. 78 Village. With the assistance of students of the recently concluded Guyana Central Arya Samaj’s 50th Hindu Youth Camp, everyone worked together to clean and weed the area, install a new double swing, a new see-saw and two new benches, rehabilitate the old see-saw and plant flowers around the area. Banners were designed by the female students and placed on the fences. The Mission will also be painting the entire area and all the play equipment.
We appreciate your kind Support
The Humanitarian Mission is committed to providing a better standard of living and to make a positive impact in the lives of under-privileged children. They are our most treasured assets and they are the future. We hope that our presence in Guyana and the contributions made to the lives of these children will continue to expand. When we educate our children we are educating the adults of tomorrow and hence make them better citizens of the world.
The New Jersey Arya Samaj Mandir, Inc., the Board of Directors, the members, our care-givers and supporters express gratitude to all those who supported this year’s mission, to all those who made contributions (financially or otherwise) and to all of those who worked tirelessly in executing the mission. Special mention must be made of the Guyanese-Americans, the American People, our TV and Radio Hosts, the Guyanese and US Media and the Guyanese People.
For newspaper articles that covered the 2006 Mission please go to the News & Articles Section of this website.
Photos from the 2006 Humanitarian Mission
Left – Donation of US$1,000 to the Mission from Bahen Tackoordai Samaroo of the USA. Right – Discussions with Pastor Vernon D’Oliveira of the Canaan Orphanage.
Left – Discussions with Chairman of Region 6 – Mr. Kumkaran Ramdass.From left to Right – Mr. Ramdass, Dr. Ramesh Sugrim and Pt. Suresh Sugrim.
Right – Mission Secretariat at work processing applications for assistance. From left to right – Pastor Errol Insanally, Pt. Kamal Dhanesar and Bahen Gomattie Dubaria.
Left – Bahen Gomattie Dubaria creating database of applications.
Right – Pt. Suresh with His Excellency, the Prime Minister of Guyana,
Honourable Mr. Samuel Hinds.
Left – Painting the interior of Camal Home for the Homeless, Albion.
Right – Children of the Camal Home.
Left – Mrs. Carmen Kissoon, Director of Camal Home,
with the children grateful for the bunk-beds donated by the Mission.
Right – Amongst the items donated to the Camal Home included a new refridgerator.
Left – Pt. Kamal Dhanesar (President, Berbice Central Arya Samaj) presents
the bicycles to Mr. Sydney Kennard of the Canaan’s Children Home, Port Mourant.
Right – Pt. Suresh in discussion with administrators of the Canaan’s Children Home.
Left – Items donated to the Canaan Home – toiletries, cookware, school supplies, bedsheets etc. Right – The children of the Canaan’s Children Home, Port Mourant.
Left – The children of the Prabhu Sharan Orphanage, Cornelia Ida, West Demerara.
Right – The Prabhu Sharan Orphan