BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha in UK & Europe observed the UN’s International Women’s Day (IWD) with an inspiring conference on Sunday 12 March 2023 at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London.
BAPS’s celebration of IWD represents its on-going commitment to women and matters of importance to women, as inspired and guided by His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj, the spiritual leader and inspirer of BAPS activities across the world.
The conference, titled “Celebrating Women: Save, Sustain & Shine”, focussed on three key themes – saving and budgeting, ways in which we can contribute to a sustainable environment, and finding time to develop knowledge and skills to achieve personal excellence.
The programme highlighted the importance of becoming more financially aware, especially during a cost-of-living crisis, with practical strategies on saving, budgeting and investing to make finances stretch further. Attendees were urged to make sustainable choices to act on climate change and participants explained how sustainability can be achieved on a budget whilst remaining healthy and having fun. The afternoon also emphasised the importance of prioritising personal and professional growth for a more balanced life.
These topics were explored through various mediums, including uplifting video presentations, inspiring testimonies and a live panel discussion with Lavina Mehta MBE (leading wellness coach), Dr Sundhya Raman (healthcare professionals trainer for the NHS), Drishti Mae (Head of Operations for Earth Charitable Foundation), Riya Patel (Fitness Trainer for ‘Pi-lates By Riya’) and Nupur Gadkari (key marketing campaigner for ICC Cricket and FIFA in South Asia) who all shared insights from their incredible journeys demonstrating that it is never too late to learn and grow, and to help those in need and make a positive impact.
Keynote speaker Sonia Morar (Deputy COO – Tax & Legal Services, KPMG) said: “I encourage you all to make the most of this afternoon by sharing and learning new experiences, by reminding yourself of what you already know, but also by being excited about focusing on your skills, aspirations and continual development. There has never been a better time to be a woman. We should all relish that and take pride of what we have collectively achieved and the prospects ahead of us.”
After the event, Ms Morar added, “Having sat through the conference, I am even more honoured to be associated with BAPS. It is one of the best International Women’s Day events I have ever attended. I am extremely impressed with the organisation, with the participation and the engagement. It has left me feeling very proud to be a Hindu and a woman.”
Rena Amin, a BAPS leader and one of the volunteers who helped organise the event, added, “Mahant Swami Maharaj regularly reminds us that we should always be striving to improve ourselves and serve others. Leading by example, he teaches us that with humility, courage and kindness, we can all make a positive contribution towards a happy, healthy and harmonious society. In celebration of International Women’s Day this year, we hope this programme empowered women to feel motivated to commit time for personal development and, in turn, enrich communities and protect the environment.”
Shreya Patel, one of the delegates, also shared, “This year’s programme was special. We are living in unprecedented times with so many challenges around us. The conference addressed some of these challenges and offered practical tools to make our lives and the lives around us more meaningful. The testimonies of women who have faced adversities to achieve excellence in their lives were especially inspiring and uplifting.”
Similar conferences were held at over 20 other BAPS mandirs and centres around the UK and in Europe.

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