Surrey (February 15, 2013): On February 14, the World Sikh Organization of Canada along with Guru Nanak’s Free Kitchen(GNFK) and several Gurdwaras united to join One Billion Rising by providing treats to the residents of 15 women’s shelters in British Columbia’s Lower Mainland.
Over 750 residents in Abbotsford, Surrey, New Westminster and Vancouver were provided with chocolates and flowers along with items such as baked goods and cards.
One Billion Rising began as a call to action based on the staggering statistic that 1 in 3 women on the planet will be beaten or raped during her lifetime. With the world population at 7 billion, this adds up to more than one billion women and girls.
Many local Gurdwaras participated in the initiative and served as drop-off locations in addition to providing desserts prepared in the langar or free community kitchen. Participating Gurdwaras included Gurdwara Sahib Brookside, Gurdwara Sahib Kalgidhar Darbar, Gurdwara Sahib Sukh Sagar, Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara, Khalsa Diwan Society Abbotsford, Gurdwara Nanak Niwas and Sri Guru Singh Sabha Surrey.
In a particularly touching gesture, Ms. Mangat’s kindergarten class at Guru Angad Dev Elementary School prepared Valentine’s cards for each shelter.
GNFK Council Member and volunteer Roveen Kandola said, "GNFK is dedicated to enriching people’s lives through regular, sustained, and meaningful volunteer service. Our work is based on the basic humanitarian principles of sharing, inclusiveness, community, and public service. We are thankful to WSO for providing this opportunity to us."
WSO’s Executive Director Sukhvinder Kaur Vinning said, “with the support of the entire Sikh community, this initiative has been a great success. The experience was incredibly heartwarming. We've received so many calls in thanks. One caller was in tears because she knew just how much the gifts would mean to the residents in her shelter. It was a great opportunity to engage the Sikh community and foster reflection and conversation on the issue of gender based violence.”
This year’s initiative has served as a pilot project and as a result, new partnerships have been formed. Interest has been expressed by Sikhs across Canada and discussions have begun on taking the One Billion Rising movement to Sikh communities across the country next year.
The World Sikh Organization of Canada (WSO) is a non-profit organization with a mandate to promote and protect the interests of Canadian Sikhs, as well as to promote and advocate for the protection of human rights for all individuals, irrespective of race, religion, gender, ethnicity, and social and economic status
For more information, please contact:
Ms. Sukhvinder Kaur Vinning