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This Community Voice may be read online at: http://www.unitedsikhs.org/PressReleases/COMVCE-14-10-2006-00.htm

Community Voice

Saturday, 14 October 2006

30 Assu, Samvat 538

Spanish Sikhs Need Urgent Help: Police Issue Warning to Cut Gurdwara Water Supply

Valencia Sikhs Need Your Help to Raise 10,000 to Move into New Gurdwara

“It touched my soul to see the togetherness and love in the Valencia Sikh sangat. No politics, no haumai, everyone was in Chardi Kala.”: Jagdev Singh, UNITED SIKHS Project Co-ordinator based in Spain.
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Contact swan@unitedsikhs.org for more details

Valencia, Spain: Spanish police last week warned the sangat of the Guru Nanak Association Gurdwara in Valencia that their water supply will be cut if their blocked sewers are not repaired, because they were flooding the neighbouring areas. The 3000-strong Sikh community are facing a desperate situation because they cannot move into the new Gurdwara, which they have been building, as it is not yet habitable. They do not have the €15,000 (£10,000/$19,000) needed to carry out minimal work to meet local government requirements for a licence to occupy the new Gurdwara.

“We have decided that there is no point in repairing the sewers at the present Gurdwara, which itself is in a poor state, as it would cost too much and also involve digging up land of the adjacent premises,” Palwinder Singh, the chief sevadar of the Gurdwara told UNITED SIKHS.

Outside the old Gurdwara


“It would take two weeks to complete the minimal works at the new Gurdwara and do Maharaj’s Prakash (instal the Sikh scriptures). But we cannot start any building work until we collect the funds. Hence we are in a desperate situation to raise funds to make the new Gurdwara site useable,” he added.

Kulvinder Singh, the President of the Gurdwara Committee said, “We appeal to Sikhs to help us meet our emergency. The situation is very bad at the present Gurdwara and we would not otherwise ask but the circumstances have left us with no choice – we need help urgently”.

Since last week, this young community of new settlers, whose average age is 21 years, has had to run the Gurdwara activities without water except for urgent needs. There are no toilet facilities and there is no fully functioning kitchen,” Jagdev Singh, UNITED SIKHS project coordinator based in Spain, reported after visiting the Gurdwara and the community.

“The kitchen is a crucial part of this Gurdwara, since most of the sangat have low-paid jobs and rely on the langar (community meals),” he added. Langar, which is prepared with water brought in from outside, is served on plastic disposable trays as they unable to wash their reusable plates.

“The Valencia Sikh sangat are a very hard working and proud community who have raised most of the funds to purchase the new Gurdwara site from their sangat, despite the fact that most of them are labourers and fruit pickers. They have low disposable income yet give whatever spare cash they have to run the current Gurdwara and towards the building of the new Gurdwara. They would prefer to complete the new Gurdwara without having to "beg" or push people for donations. However, the unexpected problem has left the community in dire straits as it means the new building must become habitable quicker than expected,” Jagdev Singh said after talking to the community.

Outside the New Gurdwara


Two years ago, when the idea of a Gurdwara in Valencia was first raised by Sevadar Palvinder Singh, he was told that no one would turn up as most of the Sikh community in Valencia were busy, had cut their hair and were caught in the alcohol trap. He was told that these Sikhs were disillusioned with their lives and would not be interested in a Gurdwara. The critics were proved wrong as the Gurdwara is thriving and a very important part of the sangat's lives.

Palvinder Singh in the new Gurdwara


“The Valencia Sikh community are very down to earth, Guru loving and genuine people. They and the sangat have put in all the spare cash they have towards this project and would not have asked for help if they were not completely stuck. These are first generation migrants who have seen a lot of hardship and love and rely on Guruji so much and are a very united sangat. In my opinion, these people are what Sikhs should be.” said Jagdev Singh who was moved after spending some time with the Valencia Sikh community.

Please contact us via email at swan@unitedsikhs.org with the subject “I Wish to Help the Valencia Sikh Community”, if you can help.

To donate go to www.unitedsikhs.org/donate and specify that you are donating to the Valencia Sikh Community.

To read previous press releases on a SWAN project please click http://unitedsikhs.org/PressReleases/COMVCE-12-09-2006-00.htm

Issued by:
Meerat Kaur
Executive Director

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