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As part of the ‘Seva Day’ initiative for the International Day of Volunteering, BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Neasden, London organised a special day out for over 70 elderly residents of the local community on Sunday 25 September 2011.

The elderly came from local nursing homes and disability and learning disability groups were invited to the gathering. They came from Seva Care Group (Indian Asians Leaning Disability), Asian People Disability Alliance, Birchwood Grange and Kenwood Care Home. Young and adult volunteers welcomed the guests by offering flowers at the Mandir gate. Each guest had their picture taken in the foreground of the Mandir which was presented to them before the end of the gathering.

The programme included a sing-along where the elderly also tried their hand at playing musical instruments. Young girls from the Mandir presented a colourful folk dance and guests were further entertained by a comedy act bringing hearty smiles and laughter to all. After party games where gifts were won by the elderly. the visitors were treated to a delicious meal before departing.

Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the day out and spoke keenly about how deeply moved they were by the love and care offered to them during their visit. Ninety-year-old Frank Nathen shared simply, “You made me very happy today. Thank you so much.”

Kirit Wadia, lead volunteer of the event explained, “Helping and serving others is at the heart of the ethos of BAPS. His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj, the spiritual leader of BAPS advocates, “In the joy of others lies our own”, and so we are all happy that we were able to bring a little joy in their lives.”

As part of its contribution to Sewa Day and “unleashing positive social energy” for the government’s ‘Big Society’ initiative, the Mandir also organised a clean-up of the local roads and alleyways in the vicinity. Cllr Ann John, OBE (Leader of Brent Council), Cllr Muhammed Butt (Deputy Leader), Cllr Zaffar Van Kalwala and Barry Gardiner MP all joined BAPS volunteers in helping to pick up litter.

Another initiative by BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha and BAPS Charities was to collect unwanted clothes, shoes, mobile phones and spectacles. These generously donated items were then passed on to various charities to benefit those in need.

For further information on Sewa Day, please click here.

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