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




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




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 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.



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.




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.


NJASMHM reaches out to the victims of Hurricane Sandy

On Sunday, November 11, 2012, members of the New Jersey Arya Samaj Humanitarian Mission, awoke prior to sunrise to set voyage upon their activity for the day.  At the Elegant Rose Hall, located in Bronx, NY, the members prepared delicious hot meals to distribute to the victims of Hurricane Sandy in Far Rockaway, Queens,  NY. As many may have known, this vicious Hurricane came strongly and put many to shock, leaving millions without power, and even creating terrible damage to properties.  Members and volunteers of the organization vouched to help our community by feeding the hungry of whom may have lost everything, for Far Rockaway was badly affected.  The victims were deeply appreciative, responding back with a “thank you,” and even a “God Bless Your Soul.”

If you would like to see more pictures on this event, please click on the links below:

Preparation of the Hot Meals | Distribution of the Hot Meals

Sod turned at Ankerville for Arya Samaj humanitarian village

By   |  Monday, March 26, 2012

Vulnerable persons are expected to benefit from a humanitarian village that will be constructed at Ankerville, Port Mourant, Corentyne by the New Jersey Arya Samaj and its Guyana Chapter, the Guyana Central Arya Samaj Humanitarian Mission.



According to a release from the Government Infor-mation Agency, street children, abused persons and elderly persons without families will be housed at the humanitarian mission village while single parents, teenaged mothers and school dropouts will be provided with skills training.


After the completion of construction, the humanitarian village will produce a technical/vocational education programme for accreditation with the Ministry of Educa-tion for empowerment, work towards the eradication of poverty through empowerment and education by making available competence-based skills for the village’s residents and school dropouts living in the nearby area; empower residents with personal development skills and reform them for positive contributions to society.
At the sod turning ceremony on Saturday, Prime Minister Samuel Hinds, according to the GINA press release, expressed his appreciation towards the organization for efforts which he said complement the work of the government.
“In a world where we all find ourselves stretched to provide for our needs, the Samaj has embarked on a project to help the needs of the less fortunate… I challenge and encourage others to do what they could to meet the evidenced need of their community,” he stated.
Also addressing the gathering was Region Six Chair-man, David Armogan, who opined that persons living in the countryside are the ones mostly affected by societal ills and as a result, considered the location suitable.
“At the regional level, we are committed to such a project, as such whatever is necessary for us to do, we will do… other friendly societies, NGOs and social groups are welcomed to partner with the region to address societal problems,” Armogan stated.
Red Thread Representative, Karen De Souza, said that there will never be enough organizations addressing the needs of the less fortunate. “Whilst this initiative is impressive, we have to commit ourselves to being willing, bold and brave enough to speak out against societal issues… we need to call out the influential people to desist from abusing and taking advantage of the poor and those that are weak willed,” she noted.
Meanwhile, Jennifer Webster, Minister of Human Services and Social Security, considered the sod turning for the construction of the village as historic in Guyana, and moreover for Region Six.
“The Samaj is a body we should be proud of for the humanitarian work they are doing and their initiative to fund a project that will help the less fortunate… government is committed to working with not only the Samaj but any other organization that is willing to become a partner as we must all join forces to rid society of age long societal ills,” Webster said.
She further stated that if these persons are denied access to services of support, society will rapidly deteriorate as these ills are on the increase.
“This is something that must be dealt with… we have seen increased efforts from the judiciary in dealing with matters of domestic violence and child abuse… however, many of our victims at the end of it all cannot face up to what happened to them, therefore the need for support,” the Human Service Minister pointed out.
United States Embassy, Deputy Chief of Mission, Thomas Pierce considered the Arya Samaj and like organizations as indispensible and noted that they assist government by providing a number of social services which spur development.
Canadian High Commis-sioner, David Devine, expressed pleasure with the Samaj for not only this project but previous works, particularly in the area of humanitarian relief. He said that such selfless acts speak volumes and should not go unrecognized.
Also present, GINA said, was Guyana’s Consul General to Canada, Sattie Sawh, who said “we are witnessing the commencement of something that will have impact on thousands who stand to benefit… this project is significant as it cuts across religion and political and cultural identities as it will be opened for the betterment of all and it will not only be a place to have a meal or spend the night but it will also offer educational and skills training opportunities, which is exemplary”.

Ultimate Family Boat Ride


Friends of New Jersey Arya Samaj Mandir Humanitarian Mission in partnership with Backyard Sounds and Natural Rhythms Tassa Group Presents this Ultimate Family Boat Ride.

$30 Advanced
$40 at Pier
$100 VIP seating
Free – Kids under 5 (limit 2 per family) $5 each additional kid.
Your Donation is Tax Deductible

Tara 718-217-5913
Jasmine 914-320-6696
Kamal 862-216-1513
Pt. Sugrim 973-868-6163

Your DONATIONS will help us further the Mission’s initiatives in Guyana; to continue our outreach programs in Home Ownership Empowerment, Orphanage Care, Medical Care for seniors and disabled, and our Benevolent Home Building Project.

Boarding Time: 6pm
Sailing time:7pm