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Co-Written by Varinder Singh & Ishfaq Majid

Khalsa Aid International which is popularly known for its humanitarian relief charity and human saving efforts, is serving the common masses from 1999. Khalsa aid is a non-profit UK based organization that provides relief to the people who are facing any kind of distress. Not only this, Khalsa aid is also popularly known for providing relief assistance to the people that are stuck in war zones or any other tragic events like floods, famine and earthquakes. The organization was founded by Ravinder (Ravi) Singh, who was struck by the plight of the refugees in Kosovo in 1999. The founder Ravi saw the footage of the Kosovan refugees on the news and was inspired by one Sikh ideology in particular that was “Sarbat da Bhalla” meaning “well-being for all” recognizing the humanity in us all and reaching out to those in need, regardless of race, religion, borders. The charity group is not limited to the people of Sikhism but is serving the whole mankind irrespective of caste, creed, color and religion at no cost. In India, Khalsa aid office is located at Patiala Punjab.

On 26th January 2001, a strong earthquake jolted the western side of Gujarat state resulting in killing of thousands of people. Khalsa aid team carried out heavy rescue operation and immediately provided 50,000 water purification tablets to the people. The group also worked day and night for the welfare of the people and provided individual tents to each family. In yet another effort to save the mankind, Khalsa aid helped over 50,000 people in Punjab during the Catastrophic flooding in August 2007. The people were facing immense economic hardship and loss of basic living conditions. In June 2013, a multi-day cloudburst caused devasting floods and landslides in the North Indian state of Uttarakhand. It became the country’s worst natural disaster since the 2004 tsunami. Khalsa Aid was one of the first relief organizations that reached the affected areas. The volunteers set up free food and water stalls for the local people. The effort was warmly welcomed by the travelling pilgrims who had travelled down the mountains on foot. In its second phase of providing relief, Khalsa Aid volunteers provided over 1,000 prepackaged relief items to people affected by the natural disaster. Each package contained many items like rice, sugar, lentils, salt, oil, spices, soap and toothpaste.

In Sep 2013, the Khalsa Aid also played a humanitarian role in the clashes between the Hindu and Muslim communities in Muzaffarnagar district of Uttar Pradesh. A total number of 62 people lost their lives in the clashes including 42 Muslims and 20 Hindus, while as 93 noted injured. The clash also resulted in displacement of more than 50,000 victims. In October 2013 Khalsa Aid, realizing the needs of the victims, distributed blankets and torch lights to the victims. Within two weeks, Khalsa aid spent around 4.5 Lacs rupees to relief the affected people. Again in 2014, the Khalsa aid supported the affected people in the communal riots happened in Saharanpur city of Uttar Pradesh. With the help of local businessmen, the volunteers gave hands in repairing the damaged homes of innocent victims.

In September 2014, the disastrous flood in Jammu and Kashmir resulted the loss of around 400 lives and around 200,000 people were rescued by Indian Armed forces form the various parts of the region. In such moments of shock and trauma, Khalsa Aid relief team dispatched the relief material which included clean drinking water, food and sanitary items, in the flooded areas. Also, the young volunteers tirelessly did selfless service to rescue people.

When earthquake stuck Nepal on April 25, 2015, around 9,000 lives were lost and more than 22,000 people suffered injuries. The quake destroyed more than 600,000 homes. Khalsa aid responded quickly and visited to the stricken areas in the aftermath of the earthquake with rescue teams and immediate aid deliveries. It is estimated that nearly 90,000 hot meals were provided to victims. Khalsa Aid volunteers from Delhi, Punjab, and Jammu were the first to reach Nepal when earthquake hit the region in 2015. The Khalsa aid volunteers from Punjab, Delhi and Jammu were even started repairing houses and schools as a part of the rehabilitation. Also, with French and Nepalese army, the Khalsa aid volunteers constructed temporary shelters for 250 families. The clean water tanks were also installed in affected areas.

In the year 2016, water crisis in Maharashtra reached its peak. After analyzing the situation, the Maharashtra government declared drought in around 29,000 villages. Nearly 1.37 crore farmers were affected by this natural calamity. The condition was severe in Marathwada and Vidarbha regions. The state also experienced high rate of suicide by the farmers. In such type of adverse circumstances, Khalsa Aid relief teams decided to lend a helping hand and coordinated the supply of 100,000 liters of clean drinking water to the people in prone areas on daily basis.

In August 2018, the state of Kerala was hit by the worst flood which resulted in making the common people homeless. Khalsa Aid takes the initiative to feed nearly 15000 victims by providing essential commodities. The team also distributed Packing and distribution of food parcels among the flood victims. In December 2018, post Ganpati Visarjan, a team of 30 Khalsa aid volunteers participated in a clean-up drive to clean the Versova Beach to spread awareness about keeping our environment clean and green. The organization also helped Sikhligar Sikhs in MP by providing them with new brick houses to live in. It was an initiative of providing education to all their kids. The volunteers of the organization organized traffic awareness among general public in Jammu city over a period of 5 days by displaying placards with Traffic Awareness slogans. The awareness was aimed to make people aware of the significance of following traffic rules.

In February 2019, post-Pulwama attack which left 49 CRPF personnel’s dead. The Kashmiri students studying in different parts of India were attacked and were asked to leave back to their homes. Khalsa aid organization in collaboration with JK Students organisation carried out a massive rescue operation by evacuated at least 300 Kashmiri students from different states of India and arranged buses for them so that they can travel safely to their respective homes. The organisation also arranged langar’s for the students in different parts of Punjab. Moreover, the Gurdwaras were opened by the organization so that the students could stay safely.

When extremely severe cyclonic storm ‘Fani’ hit Odisha in September 2019, it devastated 20,367 villages in nearly 14 coastal districts of Odisha. In addition to this, around 1.6 crore people were affected and nearly 1.88 lakh hectares of agricultural was damaged. At that severe circumstances, Khalsa aid was quick to extend its humanitarian service to cyclone affected residents. The volunteers worked round the clock and served the food to people in Puri. Every day they served drinking water and food to nearly 5,000 residents in Puri. As water shortage was the biggest challenge, Khalsa aid volunteers purchased around 50,000 liters of drinking water from Kolkata to supply it to the people.

Due to high rainfall in Punjab, in August 2019, large area left devasted by the severe flood. Approximately 300 villages of Jalandhar, Ropar and Ferozepur districts were severely affected in flood. The releasing of water from the Bhakra Dam and the swollen river Sutlej flooded villages in several areas. The flood caused extensive loss to farmers by damaging crops, especially paddy. The several houses were socked in low lying areas. In this devasting calamity, Khalsa Aid along with Indian army played the crucial role in bringing things to normalcy. The volunteers rescued not only the stranded people but also the animals in the flooded areas. The organization released an amount of £1,50,000 (₹1.3 crore) with immediate effect towards the relief work in flood affected areas in Punjab. Khalsa aid deployed its teams with the requisite equipment in Gurdaspur, Philloaur, Pathankot, Dinanagar and in Shahkot.

In August 2019, Khalsa Aid in collaboration with JK Students Association distributed stock, groceries and essential commodities among 300 Kashmiri students in different areas of Chandigarh. The students were facing economic crises due to the communication blockade in Kashmir.

In Bhai Laalo Middle School, Patiala, Currently Khalsa Aid is supporting 250 children of the underprivileged communities. The school was about to close in 2014 due to the funding crises, but the organization took the responsibility to run the school. The school is now providing the educational opportunities to students of economic weaker section. The organization is also funding Dashmesh Public School in Sangrur district of Punjab in which around 400 students from privileged section are receiving free education. The Focus Punjab that was launched in 2010, is one of the other long-term projects of Khalsa Aid for the 1984 conflict victim families. The project has provided assistance to 250 families in Punjab those are living under poverty due to economic, political or other reasons.

In 2017, the founder of Khalsa aid Ravi was honored with the Bhagat Singh Thind Community Empowerment Award at a National Gala Dinner in the USA.

Khalsa Aid is being funded by the common masses. The organization believes that general public can donate even a small amount as it is the most practical and useful method of donation. It helps the organization to plan projects in advance and be more efficient. For receiving donations, the organization has created a dedicated website where the donators can donate the money. Not only this, the organization is timely updating its works on Social Media platforms for the information of the general public.

Note: Khalsa Aid is an International organization. The organization serves the mankind across the world. But the current article focuses only on the works and activities carried by the organization in India.

Authors Bio:

Varinder Singh is a Ph.D. Scholar in School of Education, Central University of Gujarat. He is currently working in the area of Educational Psychology. His writings had earlier published in Mainstream Weekly. The author can be mailed at Varinder.singh@cug.ac.in

Ishfaq Majid is a Ph.D. Scholar in School of Education, Central University of Gujarat. He is currently working in the area of ICT in Education. His writings had earlier published in The Rising Kashmir, Economic and Political Weekly, South Asia Journal, London Institute of South Asia, Countercurrents and Mainstream Weekly. The author can be mailed at Ishfaq.majid@cug.ac.in


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