January 27, 2010
White House Official Recognizes Hindu and Dharmic* American’s Seva in a Dialogue with Community Leaders
Joshua DuBois, Executive Director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, had an interactive conversation with approximately 50 leaders in the Hindu American Community on January 14, organized by the Hindu American Seva Charities.
The Hindu American leaders, who were involved in the summer seva initiative, joined the teleconference with DuBois to discuss a range of issues including capacity building, proactive community involvement and interfaith collaboration.
The spirit of volunteerism and seva within the Hindu and Dharmic community caught DuBois’s attention. The seva work carried out by participating temples and organizations during the summer was recognized.
"These was just tremendous work done by over 118 seva centers and temples and ashrams and other organizations all across the country, completing over 1,300 seva projects, and we took note of that and want to make sure that we are working to engage your community to do that even more," DuBois said.
On June 22, 2009, President Obama called on Americans to participate in the nation’s recovery and renewal by serving communities. Dharmic Americans from coast to coast responded to the President’s call and worked to address community needs during these difficult economic times. For the first time, the Hindu American community was mobilized to serve in a national campaign. The data collected by HASC showed Hindu Americans increased the ongoing seva. They served in various ways including poverty reduction (47%), health (30%), environment (9%), youth (5%), elderly (4%), education (3%) and assisting refugees (2%). Many of the service projects such as health camps and health awareness sessions were interfaith collaboration. See http://www.hinduamericanseva.org/seva-report-brief.
DuBois was also very encouraging in communicating President Barak Obama and his administration’s recognition of the Hindu and Dharmic community. "The President and this administration have been serious about engaging the Dharmic community over the course of the first year in office and we are honored to connect with the Hindu American community," DuBois said. In 2009, Diwali and Guru Nanak birthday were observed by the White House.
Anju Bhargava, the only Hindu member of President’s Advisory Council on Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, is the Founder Convener of Hindu American Seva Charities. She urged the community to continue to expand the seva and assist with the Haiti Crisis. She asked the various organizations to provide the data at http://www.hinduamericanseva.org/haiti-earthquake-seva. HASC will compile the information and develop a report of the collective efforts.
Hindu American Seva Charities (HASC) is a registered not-for-profit organization. Its aim, as a coalition of Seva Centers within temples, ashrams and service-based organizations, is to promote the development of social services for our growing community. HASC was formed under the guidance of the White House’s Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships (OFBNP) and is a partner with Serve America Program (SAP)
* Dharmic generally refers to Hindu, Jain, Sikh and Buddhist traditions.
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