At Port Mourant – New Jersey Arya Samaj hosting Berbice suicide forum

 

guyanachronicle

 

From left are Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Human Services Ministry, Patrick Findlay, Pandit Suresh Sugrim and Chief Probation Officer, Forbes Munroe

February 11, 2014

Written By Telesha Ramnarine

THE Humanitarian Mission of New Jersey Arya Samaj Mandir Inc. is inviting the public to attend its ‘Let’s Talk Initiative on Suicide Prevention and Spirituality’ today, at the Corentyne Comprehensive High School, Port Mourant, Berbice.The United States (U.S.) based organisation has been working in Guyana since 2005 and is collaborating with several key stakeholders on this project.

Among them are the Ministry of Labour, Human Services and Social Security, the Region 6 (East Berbice/Corentyne) Regional Democratic Council (RDC), the Regional Education Department, the New Amsterdam Hospital Administration, Law Enforcement Officers, faith-based organisations, the business community and Rotary and Lions Clubs.

President of the international voluntary organisation, Pandit Suresh Sugrim has announced that there will be handouts and flyers on suicide that will be distributed to the audience, to help educate and spread awareness of all aspects on suicide and spirituality.

The programme is scheduled from 11:00 hrs to 13:00 hrs.

Sugrim, along with Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Human Services Ministry, Mr. Patrick Findlay and Chief Probation Officer, Mr. Forbes Munroe hosted a press conference, at the ministry on Cornhill Street, Georgetown yesterday, to talk about the initiative.

No secret
Findlay said it is no secret that the country has been inundated, lately, by a rising spate of suicides, of which Berbice has, again, taken the lead.
He said Minister Jennifer Webster will be present at the event today and she welcomes the hosting to which she is giving her wholehearted support.
Munroe observed that suicide is as a result of a feeling of hopelessness and noted that his department has taken measures to get out into the society and meet with various groups in an effort to address the issue.

Meanwhile, Sugrim said spirituality is needed to combat the problem.

“As long as the person is spiritual, that person will not turn to suicide. Every one of us will hit rock bottom from time to time, but committing suicide is not the solution. God gave us the gift of life not for us to take it but for us to enjoy it,” he remarked.

He said, for today’s occasion, they will be bringing together approximately 200 children from various high schools.

The New Jersey Arya Samaj Mandir Inc, Humanitarian Mission, is a non-profit and cultural entity which facilitates victims of gender-based violence and gives assistance to people who are in dire need of the basic necessities, such as food, clothing and shelter.

Moreover, the social and charitable works are the basic hallmarks of Hinduism and the Arya Samaj Movement. Hinduism is not only based on rituals, but teaches the principles of ‘sewa’ (service) to humanity.

Reform movement
This organisation of Arya Samaj was established in 1785, by Maharishi Swami Dayanand Saraswati, as a Hindu reform movement with the aim of services to the unfortunate and needy human race, such as orphans, poverty and disaster struck victims, widows that are facing difficulties, domestic abused women and children, irrespective of their ethnic origin and backgrounds.

Guyana was rendered aid by that New York based organisation in July-August 2005 and has a branch, managed by the Berbice Central Arya Samaj, which seeks to assist the children in the orphanages there, as well as countrywide.
Many children benefited from the initial mission receiving basic necessities. The New Jersey Arya Samaj Mandir, Inc. continues to work diligently as they proceed to help improve Guyana.

Religious leaders step up fight against suicide in Region 6

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FEBRUARY 22, 2014 · BY 

Religious leaders in Region 6 recently moved to stem the tide of persons taking their own lives in the region through an initiative that saw young people talking with their peers, parents, social workers and the religious leaders themselves.
The ‘Let’s Talk’ meeting was recently hosted by Humanitarian Mission of Jersey Arya Samaj Mandir Inc, in collaboration with the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security, the Ministry of Health, the Education Department of Region 6, religious organisations and stakeholders under the theme ‘Suicide Prevention and Spirituality.’ Berbice is said to be the suicide capital of Guyana and for the year so far there have been nine suicides and 77 attempted suicides.
The event saw students from across the Corentyne district gathered at the Corentyne Comprehensive High School. They were educated on what should be done in cases of suicidal thoughts. There was a period for interaction, but few participants made use of the opportunity. However, Pandit Suresh Sugrim head of the humanitarian group told teenagers that was an opportunity to see the faces of social workers and religious leaders in the Corentyne area. He told the students that if at any time they needed to speak on issues that would impact their lives they could contact anyone of the persons present.
Some of the participants at the meeting

Meanwhile, religious leaders told the students that a possible way to end suicide is by having a sound spiritual life. They pointed out that religion condemns the act of taking one’s life.

Additionally, the leaders, especially Pandit Kamal Danhesar, called on the Ministry of Education and communities to set up anti-suicide groups in the schools and the community. He explained with such groups, affected persons can access counselling and guidance along with emotional and physical support. “If we can work together we would be a great force to fight this human disaster,” Danhesar said.
First Lady Deolatchmee Ramotar addressed the gathering and pointed to the need to return to the days where communities helped to raise the children. She added that religious organisations need to do more to help because they have a very significant role in the communities. She suggested that they interact with the youths and adults of the communities.
She also called on parents to have understanding and confidential relationships with their children. “We have to encourage the habit and culture of talking to each other as members as a family. We have to have that relationship that we can talk about any issue,” she urged.
A few of the social workers and religious leaders who were introduced to the students. Also in photo is First Lady Deolatchmee Ramotar and Dr. Bhiro Harry.

Ramotar noted that often misunderstandings resulted from disagreements between parents and children with regard to “romantic relationships,” which on numerous occasions resulted in the child committing suicide. The First Lady pointed out that while parents should advise their children, at the same time they should accept their choices.

She shared alarming statistics on suicide. She related that according to the World Health Organisa-tion, globally one million people take their own lives each year. She also stated that in Guyana the majority of suicide victims are Indo-Guyanese and most take their lives by ingesting pesticide.
Surinamese Ambassador to Guyana Nisha Kurban-Baboe, who was also present, called for a collaborative effort to fight suicide in the neighbouring countries, while noting that her homeland also has an alarming rate of suicide.
Kurban-Baboe said there should be a rigid system with regard to accessing pesticides. She noted that with such a system access would be minimised and restricted to farmers.
Minister of Human Services and Social Security Jennifer Webster emphasised to the teens gathered that life is precious. She urged that if they noticed the “symptoms of suicide in a peer [they] should be a brother or sister to the victim.” The youths were urged to speak out and seek help for persons who are considering suicide.
Webster also called for more sensitisation programmes on suicide and other social issues in schools and the region.
Dr Bhiro Harry spoke on behalf of the Ministry of Health.

Community rallies behind project of ‘hope’

indo carib world

 

Some of the artistes on stage at the Vedic Cultural Centre at "An Evening of Hope 2" fundraiser. (Adit Kumar pix)
Some of the artistes on stage at the Vedic Cultural Centre at “An Evening of Hope 2” fundraiser. (Adit Kumar pix)

By Adit Kumar
The turnout two Saturdays ago to the fund raising concert for the Port Mourant Humanitarian Village has confirmed that this project has warmed the hearts of the community at large. Snow-covered surfaces, sub zero temperatures and a forecast of 10-15 centimetres more snow to come did not have much effect on attendance. The enthusiastic crowd braved the weather to fill the hall at the Vedic Cultural Centre in Markham to lend tangible support for the event appropriately entitled “An Evening of Hope 2”.

Guyana Consul General Sattie Sawh, who commended the audience for their strong show of support for the project now in its second year, said “it is an event that stirs us to be committed to a worthy cause.” Citing her government’s appreciation for the project, the diplomat added, “This Humanitarian project will have tangible benefits for all, and the Government of Guyana is truly grateful for assistance in the social sector. Let us continue to support this and other charitable causes. Let us keep our country on the forward-moving path.”

MP John Mc Callum, in his brief address, said he is moved by the compassion showed by the Guyanese community in Toronto towards the less fortunate in their country of birth. He praised the Vedic Cultural Centre, which recently donated $10,000 to the Philippines Typhoon Disaster Relief, for its ongoing humanitarian efforts. Jennifer Sohan, one of the singers on the program, commented, “The fact that you are here despite the weather shows that you care.”

The jubilant crowd was treated to top class entertainment with old and new filmi songs, well choreographed dances and rib tickling comedy by stand-up comedian, Mark Trinidad, who poked fun at the society. Geeta Bisram from New York and Sandhya Sugrim from New Jersey enthralled the audience with their melodious voices. Equally captivating were popular Toronto singers Karan Persaud, Nadia Maharaj, Jennifer Sohan and local Elvis, Robert Pooran, who all wowed the audience with their renditions. When emcee Pt Joe Jaglall introduced the accompanying band, The Caribbean Angels of Toronto, he pointed out that most of them were young people who wanted to make a difference to the world by lending their talent to charitable fund raising events such as this one.

The Port Mourant Humanitarian Village for which the fundraiser was held is a combination of an Empowerment and Skills Development Centre, a home for seniors citizens and a shelter for victims of domestic violence and abuse.
The Empowerment and Skills Development Centre is nearing completion and is expected to commence operation in April this year with classes in sewing and literacy. An appeal is out for donation of equipment to facilitate training in other areas such as such as welding and fabrication, joinery and woodwork, information technology, food and nutrition, catering, hollow blocks production, and basic electronics. Graduates of the centre are expected to use their newly acquired skills to earn a living thereby taking them out of the cycle of poverty and dependency.

Funds generated from the Toronto Chapter of the project will be set aside for the construction of the home for senior citizens. About $20,000 was collected last year and a challenge thrown out for 50 families to raise $1000 each. Six families committed to do so at the concert with the momentum building. Pt Suresh Sugrim, International Head of the Project, gave an update of its background and its progress. He thanked the audience, the donors, the Toronto Chapter and the Vedic Cultural Centre for their support.

Presently in Guyana Pt Sugrim is spearheading a workshop on how to curb the high rates of suicide in that country, especially in the Berbice area which already recorded nine suicides for the year and 77 attempted suicides. The workshop was done in conjunction with several key stakeholders in the country including the Ministry of Labour, Human Services and Social Security, the Region 6 (East Berbice/Corentyne) Regional Democratic Council (RDC), the Regional Education Department, the New Amsterdam Hospital Administration, Law Enforcement Officers, faith-based organisations, the business community, Rotary and Lions Clubs among others. Over 200 students gathered at the Corentyne Comprehensive High School, Port Mourant, Berbice last week to share their ideas on the suicide scourge affecting their community.

 

For more information on the Port Mourant Humanitarian Village Project and/or to donate visit www.njaryasamaj.com or contact Pt Dave Ramoutar at 416-918-4038, Pt Joe Jaglall at 416-464-3338, Jai Singh at 416-282-8306, or this writer at647-866-1926.

 

 

An Evening of Hope 2

 

Dear Brothers and Sisters of Humanity,

Greetings and Namaste!

I hope that all is well with you and your family. I am reaching out to you, on behalf of The Humanitarian Mission of New Jersey Arya Samaj Mandir, Inc., (HMNJAS), in collaboration with the Guyana Central Arya Samaj, to support the establishment of a Humanitarian Mission Village Project at Lots 21-26 Area Q, Ankerville, Port Maurant, Corentyne, Berbice which will be constructed on a 1.6 acres of plot of land leased from the Government of Guyana.

This project encompasses the construction of a benevolent home for seniors, victims of gender-based violence, orphans and a skills development centre. The turning of the sod ceremony for the project was held on Saturday, March 24, 2012 at the above address. It was attended by a wide cross section of the community including members of the international and local diplomatic core, government officials, donors and supporters. The establishment of the Humanitarian Mission Village came about after considering the high rate of school dropouts, teenage pregnancies, acts of gender-based violence, rape, suicide and poverty in Guyana. In addressing these social challenges, it is the Mission’s firm belief that the only way to break the vicious cycle of poverty is through empowerment and education equipping individuals to be self sufficient. The establishment of this village will lift the project to another level and take us closer to achieving our long term goals. We are convinced that handouts are simply temporary – we are interested in enacting lasting and meaningful change.

Our organization has been working assiduously in Guyana since 2005. Through the benevolence of people like yourself and others who have contributed to our efforts within the community we have been able to bring relief to many. Our highest priority is to serve the less fortunate, be they children, seniors, abused women or men, or others who are in dire need and to help them to get out of the cycle of poverty and deprivation through the power of education/empowerment.

We chose this location in Berbice because of the high incidence of social issues there that have been destroying families and the social fabric and the lack of adequate facilities to address the current situations. The Humanitarian Mission Village will serve people of all faiths, regardless of their ethnicity and religion, to address the glaring needs that we have identified.

This is a huge undertaking that cannot be adequately handled by just a few people or one organization – on the contrary, we need a large, united effort. We are therefore pleading for your support and kindly asking you to make a donation towards this worthwhile venture that will empower and educate the less fortunate. No contribution is ever too small or too big and every drop of water makes a mighty ocean. “We cannot all do great things, but we do small things with great Love.” Mother Theresa We assure you that 100% of your donations will go towards these charitable activities/programs as all the officials of the NJASHM are volunteers who receive no monetary compensation for their work. Your donation is also tax-deductible.

Donate by mail: Send a check made payable to: Humanitarian Mission of NJASM Humanitarian Mission of NJASM P.O. Box 5119, 191-193 Woodlawn Avenue, Jersey City, NJ 07305

For additional information, please visit our website at www.njaryasamaj.com

Thanking you in advance and looking forward to your kind support and partnership in serving the less fortunate by educating and empowering them in Guyana.

Let our service to humanity be our religion, our action, and our character, in our dedication of God’s love to serve humanity. I remain the humble servant for the poor.

Sincerely,

Pandit Suresh Sugrim

Humanitarian Mission of NJAS, Inc.

 

 

Mandela has left us richer than anything money can buy

 

December 6, 2013 | By Admin

Mandela has left us richer than anything money can buy

Dear Editor,

 

The world has lost a great freedom fighter and statesman with the death of South Africa’s first black President Nelson Mandela. All is not lost, however, for he has left us with a great legacy and left us richer than anything money can buy. He lived his life by virtues of truth, honesty, knowledge, caring and sharing with peace.

 

We are indeed saddened by his passing but he lived a great life, touching the world with his genuine love, kindness and compassion, having taught us much, so let’s celebrate his life. Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live.

 

Mandela died at his home in Johannesburg, South Africa, at the age of 95. The world has lost democracy’s most loyal friend and advocate for freedom and justice.

 

Mandela was the 20th century’s icon of freedom and liberty. He inspired us to believe that no obstacle is too large, no walk is too long, and no enemy of freedom is so powerful, that we should ever consider giving in. He has lived a life not only for himself and the people of South Africa, but the entire world. He has lit the candle for the world to see freedom.

 

His life will surely become one of the most epic stories in world history, of the true depth and strength of the human spirit. He inspired us with his life, his words, his work and his triumph. Mandela will forever be remembered as a man who fought for freedom and won it for millions, around the world, without once compromising his beliefs or his principles. He has sacrificed his life for freedom.

 

The legacy he has left us is one we shall always celebrate and we shall always thank God for Mandela. The prayers, love and support of the board of directors, executives and members of the Humanitarian Mission of New Jersey Arya Samaj Mandir Inc, its Guyana and Toronto Chapters, are with his family and those dear to him.

 

May he rest in peace knowing that he leaves behind many who will continue his fight and carry on his legacy.

 

Sincerely,

 

Pandit Suresh Sugrim

 

Humanitarian Mission of the New Jersey Arya Samaj Mandir Inc

 

Arya Samaj Port Mourant empowerment centre moving ahead

 

DECEMBER 4, 2013

Arya Samaj Port Mourant empowerment centre moving ahead

 

The vision of the Arya Samaj Humanitarian Mis-sion for reducing poverty and social problems affecting Berbicians is closer to becoming a reality as construction of the Empower-ment and Training Centre moves apace.

The centre, located at Ankerville, Port Mourant, Corentyne will target school dropouts, single parents and victims of domestic violence among others.

Construction of the $17M centre commenced on September 29 and by April 10 next year the first batch of trainees would also be admitted. That date would coincide with the anniversary of the Arya Samaj in India.

The empowerment centre is the second phase of the Humanitarian Mission Village project that is being undertaken by the New Jersey Arya Samaj/Guy-ana Central Arya Samaj Humanitarian Mission.

Pandit Dhanesar stands in front of the building

Advisor to  the project, Pandit Kamal Dhanesar said the facility is the “first step towards establishing safer communities” and hoped that “it can help to change the social and economic landscapes of Region 6 and Guyana.”

Members of the mission have observed that many young persons who are not effectively empowered are involved in negative behaviours including substance and domestic abuse, drug consumption and suicide.

Persons would be trained in areas such as welding and fabrication, joinery and woodwork, garment construction, information technology, food and nutrition and catering, hollow blocks production, literacy and basic electronics.

The mission hopes that after acquiring the skills participants would be empowered to either establish their own businesses or seek employment.

Dhanesar recalled that the organization started out by distributing items to the needy. They have decided to “move away from that” since “empowering persons would be better than if they had to sit and wait for handouts.”

Recognizing the “magnitude of the task ahead,” Dhanesar said they would “partner with governmental and non-governmental organisations at home and abroad, individuals with relevant skills who may be willing to come on board to facilitate the training programmes, or who may be willing to provide support…”

He said the Arya Samaj groups in Canada came on board and raised CD$18,000 towards the project.

He was optimistic that despite negative comments, the “Humanitarian Mission Village will be a reality and would serve the less fortunate and the vulnerable in society. It would help to “transform the society and remove poverty…”

The mission had acquired the lease for the plot of land from the government in February 2012 and one month later the sod-turning ceremony was held.

The first phase of the project commenced in October last year and was completed in May. It included the construction of a high-security fence along with the filling and levelling of the land.

The third phase of the project would see the establishment of a U-shaped two-flat building which would house the dormitories for 150 children, seniors, and abused victims.

It will also cater for an administrative office, nurses’ quarters and centre, quarters for house mother/father, four counselling rooms, library and sick-bay.

There would also be a multi-cultural shed where persons can practise their respective religions, a quarter for off-duty nurses and accommodations for overseas funding agents and agencies. According to Dhanesar, services at the benevolent home would not be restricted to the persons staying-in but it would also benefit residents in the community.

While the stay of the old folks would be on a long-term basis, the victims of the gender-based violence can choose to move on to a single life or return to a family life.

 

New Jersey Arya Samaj building skills centre in Guyana

 

January 18, 2013 By admin

By Vishnu Bisram

The New Jersey Arya Samaj plans to build a skills development training centre in Port Mourant, Berbice. It will be the first building to be constructed by the organisation overseas as part of its Humanitarian Mission Village project.The organisation has been involved in many humanitarian projects over the years in Guyana and has been doling out millions of dollars in this regard.The Port Mourant Skills Centre is being spearheaded by Pandit Suresh Sugrim, President of the New Jersey Arya Samaj. It is undertaken in collaboration with the Guyana Central Arya Samaj, government agencies and NGOs in North America and Guyana. Religious organisations in Canada are also assisting with the project. The goal is to complete the project by March 2014. The Skills Centre will be built on a 1.6-acre plot of land which was leased from the government of Guyana. Construction of this building is expected to commence in February 2013 immediately after the completion of the concrete fence which is currently under construction at an estimated cost of G$7 million. In a press release issued, the organisation stated that the project is being done in phases with Phase 1 being the fence, Phase 2 the Skills Development Centre, Phase 3 the benevolent home for seniors and Phase 4, a building to offer a safe haven for victims of gender-based violence and orphans. Phase 1 and 2 are estimated to cost US$150,000 of which US$100,000 has already been raised. “At this centre, youths and adults would be given an opportunity to learn various skills that will enable them to earn a living and so get themselves out of the cycle of poverty in which many youths and adults are caught up” said Pandit Suresh Sugrim. Pandit Sugrim noted the he embraces the philosophy of “teaching a man to fish rather than providing him a fish”.  He said giving people a handout is a temporary solution to overcome poverty. “People should be trained to make a living on their own and once they have skills they won’t be dependent on anyone”.

 

Port Mourant to get Skills Development Training Centre

By Adit Kumar

Artist’s conception of the Skills Development Training Centre to be constructed as part of the Humanitarian Mission Village project at Ankerville, Port Mourant, Corentyne spearheaded by
the New Jersey Arya Samaj.

A Skills Development Training Centre will be the first building to be constructed in the Humanitarian Mission Village project at Ankerville, Port Mourant, Corentyne undertaken by the New Jersey Arya Samaj in collaboration with the Guyana Central Arya Samaj, Government agencies and NGOs in North America and Guyana.
The Centre will be built on a 1.6-acre plot of land which was leased from the Government of Guyana. Construction of this building is expected to commence in February 2013 immediately after the completion of the concrete fence which is currently under construction at an estimated cost of G$7 million.
The project is being done in phases with Phase 1 being the fence, Phase 2 the Skills Development Centre, Phase 3 the benevolent home for seniors and Phase 4, a building to offer a safe haven for victims of gender-based violence and orphans.
“At this centre youths and adults would be given an opportunity to learn various skill which they can then use to earn a living and so get themselves out of the cycle of poverty in which many youths and adults are caught up” said Pandit Suresh Sugrim, President of the New Jersey Arya Samaj, who is spearheading the project. He embraces the philosophy of teaching a man to fish rather than providing him a fish; giving a handout is a temporary solution.
The Guyana project coordinator, Pandit Kamal Dhanessar added, “One of our objectives is to reach out to the community where we have single parents and school dropouts, so that by having this centre ready, we can begin the skills training of all these people who are not empowered”.
The aim of the mission is to empower people for social and economic well being.
“We are hoping that this whole project, upon completion by March 2014, will become a hub of activities, and will be of great social and economic benefit for Region Six and other community”, Pandit Dhanessar stated. He added that people outside of Region Six will also be accommodated in the dormitories that will be built later on.
Pandit Sugrim told Indo Caribbean World that the establishment of the Humanitarian Mission Village came about after considering the high rate of school dropouts, teenage pregnancies, gender-based violence, rape, suicide, and poverty in many rural areas in Guyana. He added that in addressing these social challenges, it is the Mission’s firm belief that the only way to break the vicious cycle of poverty is through empowerment and education, equipping individuals to be self sufficient.
Phase 1 and 2 are estimated to cost US$150,000 of which US$100,000 has already been raised. A concert, hosted by Hindu Organizations of Greater Toronto, will be held on February 2, 2013 at the Vedic Cultural Centre, 4345-14th Avenue, Markham to generate funds to support this noble project and to raise awareness of the project. Many young artistes from New Jersey and Toronto would be show casing their talent in singing, dancing and music. They promise a very exciting and heart-warming variety show in this winter season.

For more information please call Adit at 647-866-1926 or Dave at 416-918-4038.