IAGB SPOTLIGHT

Our community spotlight this month - Sewa International

IAGB spoke to Raju Datla, an active volunteer of Sewa International.

 

IAGB: Tell us about Sewa, its history and its mission

Raju Datla: Sewa International is a humanitarian, non-profit service organization. Founded in 2003, Sewa International is part of a larger movement that started in India in 1989 and is active in twenty countries. Sewa serves humanity irrespective of race, color, religion, gender or nationality. Its mission is to serve humanity in distress, aid local communities, run developmental projects for the underserved, and assist people in transformational change through the power of innovation by mobilizing partners, donors and volunteers. The mission is accomplished by focusing efforts towards:

  • Disaster recovery

  • Family and child welfare and 

  • Promoting volunteerism

Charity Navigator, one of the major American evaluators of charities, and the largest and most-utilized evaluator of American charitable organizations, recently ranked Sewa International among the Top 10 “Highly Rated Charities Relying on Private Contributions”, with Sewa ranking fifth among the ten such listed charities.

 

IAGB: Tell us about Sewa Boston chapter

Raju Datla: Started in February 2013, Sewa’s Boston chapter works to implement Sewa International’s mission. With programs that are executed on a monthly, half yearly and yearly basis, Sewa Boston volunteers have immersed themselves in selfless effort for the welfare of all. Every year numerous enthusiastic volunteers use the Sewa platform to fulfill their desire to give back to the community. Corporate organizations like CVS/Caremark and Dell EMC encourage its employees to get involved in Sewa programs. Sewa Boston has a wide range of project and activities covering Health & Wellness, Education, Yoga for Sewa, Feeding the Hungry, Community Development, Refugee Empowerment and Diwali Food Drive.

 

IAGB: What are some of the major initiatives of Sewa?

Raju Datla: Sewa International has many initiatives. Some of the major ones are 

    1. Sponsor a child (SAC): Started in 2009, SAC was founded on a holistic philosophy that spans education, health, physical and cultural development of under privileged children

 

  • Family services: This program leverages existing local community resources, while bringing complementary services to effectively serve the typical as well as culturally specific unmet sociological service needs that have risen among the fast-growing Indian immigrant community

  • Volunteer development: Volunteer Development projects are organized at the chapter level. Sewa provides volunteer resources to community organizations that need help. Volunteers engage in various activities like cleaning of temples or city parks, cooking at soup kitchens to feed the hungry, stocking food banks, running community events and conducting food drives

 

IAGB: What are some of your key fundraiser events?

Raju Datla: Sewa International organizes multiple fundraisers every year to raise funds. Every year during the March-April months, Sewa volunteers organize a Holi fundraiser. People from the community have fun playing with colors while donating to Sewa projects. During Navaratri, Sewa organizes a Garba fundraiser. In the fourth quarter of every year an annual fundraiser is organized to raise funds for the projects it supports across the world.  One off fundraisers that are project specific are organized on a as needed basis.

 

IAGB: Tell us about Sewa’s work for COVID-19

Raju Datla: Sewa International has been active on the ground early, to help deal with the Coronavirus pandemic situation. We have established eight non-medical helplines in different areas of USA. While these helplines continue to offer support, and help to people calling from all over the country, Sewa sprang into action to address a critical need by launching the first of its kind convalescent blood plasma registry with live and social media support. The goal of this registry is to bring matching blood donors and COVID-19 patients seeking plasma together. In addition to this, Sewa volunteers have been delivering meals to first responders, donating canned food to food banks, making DIY face masks, caps, scrubs and donating them to hospitals and senior centers, raising funds through social media channels and engaging other partner organizations like IAGB to make a bigger impact on the community. We have racked up impressive numbers

  • 2500+ Volunteer Hours

  • 60+ Plasma Donors

  • $500,000+ Amount Raised

  • 4500+ Hot Meals Served

  • 30,000+ N95, KN95, Surgical Masks Donated

  • 16,000+ DIY Masks Donated

  • +80,000 Donated to Food Pantries

 

IAGB: Tell us about Sewa Boston’s future plans

Raju Datla: Sewa Boston chapter volunteers met in January and came up with a 2020 plan that outlined the various activities and fundraisers they were going to conduct throughout the year. Little did they know that their plans will be scuttled by an invisible enemy. But, they are motivated as ever. While they wait for things to settle down so that the 2020 plan can be executed, in the short term they will immerse themselves in COVID-19 relief efforts in the New England area. They are looking forward to take on new challenges and help the community recover from this global pandemic. 

 

Visit https://sewausa.org/ to learn more about Sewa.