13 January 2005                             1 Magh (Samvat  536 Nanakshahi)            






CHENNAI, Tamil Nadu, India -- UNITED SIKHS continues to band together with several other Sikh groups and Gurdwaras to put their custom of seva (selfless service) into practice through the GHANAIA Project for the tsunami victims.

UNITED SIKHS volunteers on site are networking with such groups as the Bombay Sikh Jatha in coalition with Khalsa Aid, the Banglore Sikh Jattha in coalition with Nishkam, and the Chennai Sikh Jattha.  By working in a coordinated effort, they can have more impact on delivering immediate services to victims without duplicating effort and expenditures of donated goods and money. 


The initial assessment of UNITED SIKHS project leader Bhai Esher Singh of Patiala and his team of volunteers is that with the global out-pouring of money, goods, and services, getting them distributed to victims continues to present logistical difficulties.  The team has found that government bureaucracies often get bogged down in their efforts to get relief to victims in a timely manner.  The first day in Chennai was spent with five other relief organizations meeting with Governor S.S. Barnala to get his permission for the combined relief efforts.  The next day required follow-up meetings with politicians before getting out into the villages.  At this point, the UNITED SIKHS team visited the hardest hit communities in Cuddalore (Muzhukkuthari , Thonithitiu, also known as Ponnanthittu, and Madasalodai) and distributed food and money as well as assessing and prioritizing further needs.  In the next few days, Esher Singh will go to Port Blair to assess the situation there while other members of the team will remain in Cuddalore providing not only for the physical needs of the people but counseling for their emotional needs.


While Bhai Esher Singh and his team are making headway providing immediate assistance and assessing the whole situation, they are also refining their long-term goals.  They have decided to concentrate some of their efforts by adopting a village at Cuddalore in Chennai where they will build homes for survivors and an potentially an orphanage (with a school) for youngsters left without their families.    In addition, they will join with the local doctor to train villagers to set up a counseling center to help people deal with the emotional trauma left by tsunami. There are about 100 people missing from the community and many others injured.  Everyone is in shock and there have been a couple of suicides already.


Out of this young UNITED SIKHS organization comes an amazing team of volunteers.  All are working without pay, including the administrators. Bhai Esher Singh, the Project Leader, comes from India and is a very well know spiritual leader who is experienced in implementing many projects for humanity, including a school in Chhawni, A. P. for orphan children.  He is a tireless organizer and devotes his life to uplifting humanity.


Navneet Singh is a 28-year-old Anderson Consultant from Atlanta, GA.  He brings considerable expertise in planning and managing such a big project.  He chose UNITED SIKHS because he knows that this organization will deliver services without overheads and corruption.


Randip Singh, 22 years old, was with the Community Worker Program at George Brown College and a Sikh Camp Teacher in Canada .  He brings his knowledge of community development to the project.


Lakhvinder Kaur is 38 years old and has a Masterís of Science in social science.  She is the team counselor and has worked in Nigeria with women and children and with orphanages and teen programs in India and Singapore .


Gurmeet Kaur, 36 years old, is a technology architect for Cingular in Atlanta, GA.  She brings her team management skills to be the Project Coordinator.  She selects and organizes field volunteers, assigns teams to projects, and coordinates the India project with the headquarters of UNITED SIKHS. 


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    Our Mission:

    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.



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