Khalsa Aid And the selfless Sikh

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Since 1998, Ravi Singh, founder of Khalsa Aid, has been on a mission to provide humanitarian assistance and economic relief to people in areas of disaster or conflict zones. The international non-governmental organization is built off the Sikh principle on recognizing the whole human race as one.

In 1998, Singh and a few volunteers packed up a van and drove from London, England to Albania to provide assistance to refuges fleeing the Kosovo War. Since then, he and his volunteers have been providing assistance to nearly all natural disaster areas and conflict zones. The Khalsa aid website host the numerous projects around the globe, where they are providing relief and support.

Langar is the name for the community-eating hall in the Gudwara (Sikh Temple), where the Gudwara will provide a free vegetarian meal courtesy of Sikh volunteers and donations from the local community. Khalsa Aid says it’s this principle of Sikhism that they hope to spread to people who need it most.

When the floods in 2014 ravaged the west countryside of England, Khalsa Aid was there within a night with an army of trucks with support. Khalsa Aid would then invite some of the members from that community to help in other projects around the world.

A village outside of Summerset, England, was hit the worst by flooding in the West Country and it was Khalsa Aid who arrived once again with an army of volunteers. Khalsa Aid would knock on houses that need immediate help and worked their way throughout the whole village. The village responded by awarding Singh honorary member of the community.

After some of the members of the community joined Khalsa Aid on relief work internationally, they decided to reach out to ITV 3’s TV show Surprise Surprise, where Singh was the honorary guest for the evening, which devoted a 30-minute segment to his work. Singh admitted to living frugally and never being at home and devoting his life to others, so much so that a 1987 Camaro sat in his drive for 12 years as his side project and never received any attention. On hearing that, the production crew took his car, without his knowledge, and customized it as a gift for his 18 years of relief work.

Since ISIS took control of Syria and parts of Iraq, Khalsa Aid has been at the forefront, providing assistance under the protection of the Kurdish Peoples Protection Units (YPG). At first, the Yazidi community were apprehensive of Khalsa Aid due ISIS soldiers dressing in beards and turbans, but this negative image quickly disappeared. Over the last several years, Khalsa Aid has managed to supply 700 families with assistance on a monthly basis within the Iraq refugee camps, with immediate assistance such as food, water, medical supplies and counselling. Khalsa Aid is also known to provide families with fabric, sowing machines, bread makers and livestock in order for the families to provide an income and find some normality.

It was this relief work in Syria and Iraq that threw Khalsa Aid into the international spotlight and prompted a BBC documentary titled The Selfless Sikh: Faith On The Front Line. In it, Singh praises his religion as his driving force but also attributes his success to the countless volunteers and donations internationally who belief in Khalsa Aid and its mission.

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