PRESENTATION
A NON-PROFIT NON-GOVERNMENTAL
HUMAN DEVELOPMENT ORGANISATION
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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 programmes.
UNITED SIKHS adopts a holistic and multi dimensional approach to achieve this.
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Background
UNITED SIKHS started as a service organisation to help recent migrants from Panjab to the United
States. That was in 1997. Today UNITED SIKHS has grown into a human development organisation
which works globally for the betterment of Sikhs at every level by networking with other Sikh and
mainstream organisation. In 2002/3 UNITED SIKHS set up its chapters in Europe and Asia .
Panjab, due to its unique, spiritual cultural and historical links with the origins of Sikhi, is best placed
to provide a spiritual environment whereby Sikhs from Panjab and the Sikh Diaspora will be able to
make a contribution to the betterment of Sikhs in particular and society in general.
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UNITED SIKHS’ projects in Asia are mainly, but not exclusively, in Panjab and in cities and towns
with a significant Sikh population. The projects are inspired by the virtues of--- daya, dharma,
santokh, sanjam and nimrata (compassion, discipline, contentment, patience and humility.)
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Office Setup
Head office
Location
UNITED SIKHS’ head office is in Amritsar. Social upliftment is crucial in this area due to it unique
historical and traditional links with Sikhi. We are confident that the trickle-down effect from Amritsar
will benefit the rest of Panjab.
Strategically, Amritsar holds great potential with the development of airport facilities and the global
interest in the area with the potential listing of Darbar Sahib as a heritage site by UNESCO in 2005.
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Head Office
Role
1. To run office-based projects;
2. To run the administration for field projects;
3. To house facilities such as a general office, library, function rooms, mini museum etc;
4. To coordinate operations at other UNITED SIKHS branches;
5. To provide office facilities and housing facilities ( where possible) for other visiting NGO
volunteers;
6. To administrate the residential facility for UNITED SIKHS volunteers and visiting NGOs.
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Branch Offices
Branch offices are set up in any city or town where there are UNITED SIKHS projects, which warrant
the need for an office.
The facilities provided at the branch office may reflect the model of the head-office and vary
according to local need and facilities.
A Branch office was opened in Delhi in 2003.
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Staff
There are paid and voluntary members of staff.
Paid Staff
1. The Executive Director is a paid member of staff whose duties are to execute and oversee all
functions, operations and projects of UNITED SIKHS.
2. Others: Office Manager, driver, cleaner, cook etc for the administration of the offices and
residential facilities.
Non Paid Staff/Volunteers
These are volunteers from UNITED SIKHS’ chapters in ASIA, EUROPE and NORTH AMERICA who
run the office administration and office and field -based projects.
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Projects
All projects use a holistic approach and are interlinked hence providing an efficient management of
volunteers, facilities and financial resources.
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Office Projects
Aim
 To set up a resource centre e.g. library, computer lab, office facilities, etc for all local and visiting
NGOs;
 To promote Sikh values, Culture and History in the local community;
 To provide mentoring and impart skills through UNITED SIKHS volunteers, especially to the local
youths;
 To foster links and participate in a Sikh sangat committed to panthic ideals ;
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 To promote a good relationship between UNITED SIKHS and the local community;
 To provide an avenue for interaction and exchange between overseas and local volunteers and
the local community.
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List of Office Projects
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Quarterly UNITED SIKHS newsletter
Discourses on Gurbani, Keertan Maryada, Arts, Culture, Heritage and History
Gatka
Living Culture program to promote village arts
Evening English and Panjabi classes
Computer classes
Amritsar Heritage Walks
Library and Resource Centre
Cultural performances
Career and educational counseling and tuitions
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Field Projects CAOF
UNITED SIKHS Camp
Change Agents of the Future (CAOF)
Aim
To educate and inspire youths to become social activists by promoting better understanding of the
challenges and needs affecting youths.
The first 6 -week CAOF camp was held in July 2003 at
Sri Dasmesh Academy, Anandpur Sahib, Panjab.
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Field Projects CAOF
During the first 3 weeks of the camp, apart from curriculum based knowledge on Gurbani, History,
gatka, keertan, etc, participants gained first hand experience with local culture for e.g. spinning
the charkha, weaving dhurries; making Phulkari, learning traditional geets etc.
This was followed by a one- week field trip where expert guides took the participants on a foot and
vehicle journey tracing the footsteps of Sikh history and environment. In particular participants
traced the route taken by Guru Gobind Singh when he left the Anandpur Qila.
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Field Projects CAOF
The speakers/instructors at the camp were, inter alia:
1.
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6.
Prof Devinder Singh, History professor at Guru Gobind Singh Khalsa College, Chandigarh;
Bhai Isher Singh
Prof Jagdeesh Singh, Panjabi professor at Mukerian College, Hoshiarpur;
Inderjit Singh Jaijee, human rights activists and author;
Prof Gurbachan Singh Bachan, Social scientist, Head of Guru Gobind Singh Chair, GNDU and
former Gen. Sec of SGPC;
Dr Gurbhagat Singh, former Dean of Languages, Punjabi University Patiala.
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Field Projects CAOF
Other camp speakers:
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Dr Surinder Singh: Numismatist on Sikh Coinage and Sikh Sovereignty.
Baljit Kaur, gen secretary, Panjab Human Rights Organisation.
Prof Kanwaljit Singh and Gurpreet Singh: Keertan Maryada
Dr Brijpal Singh, former Prof of Economics, Lal Bahadur Shastri Institute of Administrative
Service, Mussoorie.
11. Mahinder Singh Josh, Chandigarh, Founder member of Sikh Missionary College
12. Rajbir Singh, Khalsa Environment Project
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Village Literacy Across Borders (VLAB)
Aim
To improve literacy in village schools and colleges by improving facilities and the provision of
education.
Background
The poor provision of state education in Panjab villages is a contributing factor for poverty and
substance addiction in villages.
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A. Improve
Improving Provision of Village Education
Aim
To network with existing education charities to improve the provision of education in villages.
UNITED SIKHS aims to network with existing education charities committed to improving village
education. An educational charity based in Jallandhar, is committed to building and running
schools in villages to provide affordable and sound education to village children. It has built and
runs 20 village schools with modern facilities including computer labs, libraries and sporting
facilities. This charity aims to build 30 more such village schools within the next decade.
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Improve
UNITED SIKHS’ role as a networker would be to identify villages where village school educations
provisions are poor and to act as an initial liaison between the charity (or similar charities) and the
village.
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B. SAHELEE
Showing and helping educational empowerment
Aim
A mentoring program to promote the provision of education to girls in villages.
SAHELEE aims to promote the provision of education to girls in villages through motivation. Our
initial survey in villages shows that village girls who drop out of the school system after the 8th
standard do so for 2 reasons in the main:
1.
Prejudice against educating girls; and
2.
Village girls have to travel to nearby villages or towns to further their education and parents are
very hesitant to allow their daughters to travel alone.
Under SAHELEE , every year, suitable CAOF (Change Agents of the Future) international summer
camp volunteers (from North America, Europe and India) will stay with host families which have
young girls in the vulnerable age group.
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SAHELEE
These volunteers will be role models and be friends (SAHELEE) to village girls and families to
motivate them to understand the importance of education. The volunteers will also teach the
village girls conversational English as an incentive.
UNITED SIKHS will encourage the volunteers to continue to keep in touch with the host village girl
after they leave the village. UNITED SIKHS will provide continuous counseling support through
local volunteers.
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C. CHIPSSS
Computers and Help In Providing Staff and Student Support
Chipsss Mission Statement
To promote premier computer education for students in Panjab schools and colleges.
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CHIPSSS
UNITED SIKHS’ aim of improving village literacy received a shot in the arm, when Sri Guru Angad
Dev (SGAD) College’s computer department was identified as a befitting partner for the
CHIPSSS project under the VLAB program.
SGAD college is located in a village in Khadoor Sahib, whose students come mainly from farming
families. SGAD college aims to provide affordable computer education to village students in the
Taran Taran, Gurdaspur and Amritsar areas, who would otherwise not be able to afford the fees
and travel costs for studying in computer colleges in nearby towns.
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CHIPSSS
CHIPSSS Initiatives:
1.
Help improve SGAD college’s computer facilities by supplying computers (new and used),
software programs, books and journals;
2.
Provide tuition and mentoring to computer students by assigning to SGAD college IT and
English language volunteer tutors from UNITEDSIKHS-ASIA, EU and NA
3.
Boost the performance and intake of computer students by providing financial awards and
assistance as an incentive;
4.
Boost the quality of computer training by facilitating and encouraging the academic staff to
undertake continuous education by attending refresher courses;
5.
Promote a “computer culture” by promoting the formation of and activities in a Computer club at
SGAD college.
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CHIPSSS
1.
In 2003, UNITED SIKHS provided 5 computers to Sri Guru Angad Dev college, (SGAD) in the
village of Khadoor Sahib, Amritsar, which offers computer training courses. Another Washington
based charity, Village Literacy, also contributed funds for the purchase of these computers.
SGAD college requires a further 10 computers.
2.
In 2003-4, UNITED SIKHS hopes to send its IT qualified volunteers to computer colleges in
Panjab to train teachers and students for period of 6 months or more. These volunteers may be
recruited separately or they may be CAOF volunteers.
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CHIPSSS
3.
To celebrate the quincentenary of the birth of Guru Angad, UNITED SIKHS has launched the
Guru Angad Fifth Centenary Scholarship. An annual award of Rs 30,000 rupees will be made to
a top all-rounder Sikh student majoring in computer studies. He will be called a Guru Angad
Scholar.
4.
UNITED SIKHS will also fundraise to provide scholarships and bursaries for computer studies to
20 bright and needy students in 2003-4
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Drugs Eradication through Education in Villages (DEEVA)
Aim
To provide preventive, detoxication and rehabilitation programs to villages.
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DEEVA
A. Preventive Programs
PLAY
Providing Lively Activities for Youths
AIM
1. To build and run recreation centers in villages, schools and colleges to give youths an outlet of
expression; and
2. To provide mentoring to youths.
Background
There is a dire shortage of healthy recreational facilities in villages and educational institutions
resulting in the youths turning to cable television and drugs for pleasure.
A project paper has been prepared which details the setting up of a pilot PLAY activity centre. This
centre will house games, sporting and counseling facilities that will be managed by a trained
sports facilitator/counselor.
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DEEVA
UNITED SIKHS will network with a sports organisation to secure trained sports instructors. This
sports organisation currently supplies trained sports instructors to public schools in India.
UNITED SIKHS aims to use this pool of trained instructors for its PLAY centres.
CAOF camp volunteers will provide mentoring and guidance by living with village families which have
youths in the vulnerable age group.
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DEEVA
B. Drug Detoxification and Rehabilitation Centres
D’care
Detoxification and Counseling as a Rehabilitation Effort
UNITED SIKHS is currently looking at a number of successful centers with views to inviting them to
set up a pilot center.
UNITED SIKHS has visited the Aas Kiran rehab centre, Hoshiarpur, which is based on Sikh
spirituality and uses a “sukhmani method” to treat and rehabilitate addicts.
UNITED SIKHS will send addicts they encounter in the villages to these centres.
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Field Project SAKHEE
SAKHEE
Social Activity as a Key to Her Education and Empowerment
AIM
To provide village women with an outlet of expression to build self-esteem and confidence.
Background
•
An initial survey conducted in a Sangrur village, where
there is a poor record for educating girls and a high
record for addiction, showed that married women and
young girls lack chardi kala or the ‘feel good factor’.
•
Many of the women interviewed had many skills, such
as making of pekhian (hand-fans) etc. However, for
social reasons, they were not encouraged to work, their
skills went unnoticed and hence unappreciated.
•
UNITED SIKHS plans to set up a pilot SAKHEE centre
which will serve as a place for women to share and
learn skills.
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SAKHEE
The SAKHEE centre will also have a sales outlet which will promote the goods produced by these
women in nearby towns. The center will also be a place where talks and dialogue on parenting
and other social issues etc will be promoted.
During their seva projects, CAOF camp volunteers will also provide training, especially in literacy.
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VIRSSA
VIRSSA
Vehicle to Identify, Restore and Safeguard Sikh Arts
Why has the Sikh community a poor record for safeguarding Sikh Arts?
Did you know…Khalsa College was not built by Maharaja Ranjit Singh nor by the British –this
Institution was promoted by the Singh Sabha Movement; the architect was Ram Singh of the
Mayo School of Art in Lahore; the land was donated by Sikh villagers of Kot Khalsa and the
building costs were funded by the princely States of Patiala, Faridkot and Nabha.
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VIRSSA
VIRSSA Projects:
1. Restoration of Suraj Mal haveli in Anandpur Sahib. This is perhaps the last remaining 400 year old
Guru-period haveli of Suraj Mal, Guru Teg Bahadur’s brother. It is in a derelict state and is in
urgent need of funds to restore it. The Sodhi family which owns it has agreed for UNITED SIKHS
to set up a trust fund to restore and manage the haveli.
2. AASA: UNITED SIKHS is promoting the setting up the Arts Appreciation Society of Amritsar
(AASA). Its members will be arts enthusiasts who live, work or originate from Amritsar. UNITED
SIKHS and other Amritsar based corporations will be its institutional members. AASA will
organise events to celebrate the artistic splendour of Amritsar.
3. Amritsar Heritage Walks: UNITED SIKHS held its first Walled City walk in Amritsar on 15 Aug
2004. Our Walk Guides were members of INTACH (Indian National Trist for Arts Culture and
Heritage). The walk was enjoyed by UNITED SIKHS volunteers and guests from the UK, US
Delhi and Amritsar.
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VIRSSA
The other UNITED SIKHS Amritsar Heritage Walks are:
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Old Town Walk- explore lesser known nooks and corners of the city
Architectural Walk- discover the vestiges of once spectacular fortresses and admire the artwork
of old buildings
Chatorey Walk- To taste the famous culinary delicacies of this city
Guilds Walk-To Trace different trades that have flourished in the city
Guru Ramdas introduced the first 32 shops to the city 400 years ago.
Masala Walk-To find culinary delicacies like pickles, papads, chooran, and warians
For more info on how to join our walks call UNITED SIKHS on (0091) (0)981 567 3242 or email
[email protected]
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STARAE
STARAE
Scholarships as a Tool to Accelerate Rural Academic Excellence.
UNITED SIKHS manages donations received from the Sikh community to fund a scholarship
programme to provide premium education to bright and needy village students.
In 2004, twenty bright and needy students from village schools were given STARAE scholarships to
study at private schools. The participating schools are Khalsa College Senior Secondary School,
Amritsar, Sri Guru Harkrishan Public school Amritsar, Shaheed Darshan Singh Pheruman
School Rayya, Standard Public School Dhulka and St Soldier Day Boarding School, Jandialla
Guru.
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GHANAIA
GHANAIA
Giving Humanitarian Aid Necessities and Assistance Impartially to All.
In March 2004, UNITED SIKHS launched Project GHANAIA to celebrate the spirit of selfless giving.
We called upon Sikh organisations around the world to adopt Project GHANAIA to mark 20
years since the tumultuous events of 1984, when thousands of lives were lost in Panjab and the
rest of India. The Sikh community was asked to help give the gift of life.
On March 6, a blood drive was held in conjunction with the Long Island Blood Services at the
Richmond Hill 118st Gurdwara, Queens New York 11419 Gurdwara.
In order to commemorate the tricentennary of the Sikh “Red Cross” movement - when Bhai Khanaiya
received a first-aid box from Guru Gobind Singh ji to serve humanity, UNITED SIKHS has drawn
up a plan to run a Mobile Blood Drive Van project in Panjab. This service will be managed in
partnership with The Bhai Kanhaiya Seva Society branch at Dera Hari Bhagat Pura (Gurdwara
Mitha Tiwana, Hoshiarpur), which runs a blood bank that provides free blood supply to the
needy.
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GHANAIA
In order to commemorate the tricentennary of the Sikh “Red Cross” movement - when Bhai Khanaiya
received a first-aid box from Guru Gobind Singh ji to serve humanity, UNITED SIKHS has drawn
up a plan to run a Mobile Blood Drive Van project in Panjab. This service will be managed in
partnership with The Bhai Kanhaiya Seva Society branch at Dera Hari Bhagat Pura (Gurdwara
Mitha Tiwana, Hoshiarpur), which runs a blood bank that provides free blood supply to the
needy.
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