Sewa Day 2018: Ilford Hindu centre volunteers to set up community library and donate blood

PUBLISHED: 17:00 13 October 2018

Volunteers at a Sewa Day with Cllr Gurdial Bhamra (credit: Ravi Bhanot)

Volunteers at a Sewa Day with Cllr Gurdial Bhamra (credit: Ravi Bhanot)

Ravi Bhanot

From donating blood to setting up a community library, volunteers from an Ilford Hindu centre are taking part in selfless deeds motivated by the principle of “Sewa”.

Volunteers from the VHP Ilford Hindu Centre, in Cleveland Road, are set to mark Sewa Day on Sunday (October 14) in South Park at 9.30am.

Founded by the centre’s Ravi Bhanot and Balvir Balla in 2001, Sewa Day has traditionally been inaugurated with the planting of a tree, with Redbridge Mayor Cllr Debbie Kaur-Thiara set to do the honours this year.

The volunteers will then roll up their sleeves to collect litter from around the park.

Mr Bhanot told the Recorder that principle of “Sewa”, also known as Seva, is derived from Sanskrit.

“It basically means ‘selfless service’ – work or service performed without any thought of reward or personal benefit,” he said.

“It is a week when we give back to the community.”

This principle is common to both Hinduism and Sikhism.

He said: “This year’s idea is that, as part of the volunteer programme, we encourage people to be greener and recycle.”

Later in the day, volunteers will be asked to help build a library within the VHP centre to house around 2,000 books which have been donated from members of the community.

“The books cover philosophy and history and areas which are not likely to be available in Redbridge Central Library,” he said.

“If you want to research a specific philosophy or religion, people can come and read in our library.”

A blood donation drive aimed at encouraging more residents of Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds (BAME) to give blood will also be held at the centre on November 2 from 1.20pm to 7.30pm.

“We would like to see the proportion of people giving blood from [Bame] backgrounds increase from three to 10 percent,” he said.

For more information on Sewa Week and how to get involved go to

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