Community Voice: Saturday 29th October, 2005 (15 Katak, Samvat 537 Nanakshahi)
New Orleans, Louisiana:
The need for such an institution has come about due to the growing demand in the Sikh community for their children to know their Panjabi heritage. Gurmeet Singh Sohi, President of the Guru Nanak Missionary Society, stated "The Panjabi Academy in New Orleans will help educate our children about the Panjabi language, culture and Sikh history".
Gurmeet Singh's dream for the community remains even though his business and house suffered extensive damage due to the hurricane. He commended UNITED SIKHS, saying the organization "is doing a great job in helping the Sikh community in Louisiana and I understand the long process of recovery. " He said he hopes the international Sikh community will remain committed to helping the community of Louisiana.
"UNITED SIKHS does not only do humanitarian relief work. As a human development organization we ensure that after our relief work is over we provide developmental assistance to the community," said Gurvinder Singh, UNITED SIKHS director.
UNITED SIKHS will shortly release a report on the extent of damage suffered by the minority Sikh community and the details of help needed for them to rebuild their lives.
UNITED SIKHS volunteer, Kapil Singh, remarked that "there is a substantial need for help within the Sikh community of New Orleans and much work remains to be done." This is due to the unfortunate number of families that have been left with so little, and are not in a position to quickly rebuild what they had. UNITED SIKHS volunteer Karj Singh stated that due to the fluidity of the situation "we are taking things one day at a time."
UNITED SIKHS is continuing to help evacuee shelters in and around the New Orleans and Baton Rouge area. Supplies are still being distributed to the shelters and help has also been given to the various food and supply distribution centers in the region. "We were to fill one truck at the Family Values Institute, but they returned to find three truckloads completed," said UNITED SIKHS volunteer Gurdev Singh. UNITED SIKHS continues to liase with humanitarian organizations in the region, and continually implements best practice in this critical time of need.
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To transform underprivileged and minority communities and individuals into informed and vibrant members of society through civic, educational and personal development programs, by fostering active participation in social and economic activity.
UNITED SIKHS is also an avenue for networking between like-minded organisations to establish and nurture meaningful projects and dialogues - whether social, cultural or political- to promote harmony, understanding and reciprocity in our villages, towns and cities.
UNITED SIKHS is a coalition of organisations and individuals, who share a common vision based on the belief that there is no greater endeavour than to serve, empower and uplift fellow beings. The core of our philosophy is an unwavering commitment to civic service and social progress on behalf of the common good.
Accordingly, UNITED SIKHS has sought to fulfil its mission not only by informing, educating and uplifting fellow beings but also by participating in cross-cultural and political exchanges to ensure that the promises and benefits of democracy are realized by all.
We at UNITED SIKHS believe that the development of enlightened and progressive societies can be made possible by socially conscious groups of people who make a commitment to develop and direct human potential. Our work, efforts and achievements stand as a testament to our faith in this vision.