SNSOS Medical Outreach to Guyana 2016
Written By: Devina Persaud and Pt. Anand Hardowar
The SNSOS team of medical doctors spent their Thanksgiving giving back to the Guyanese community, with Doctors seeing over 400 patients and distributing free medical supplies and medications over the short four days.
Introduction to SNSOS
Surya Narayan Surya Outreach Sang (SNSOS) was founded in 2009 by Guruji Pt. Ram Hardowar. Being born in Guyana, and having lived there for many years, Pandit Ram wanted a way to give back to the people. With this in mind, he formed the SNSOS with the goal of providing medical, social, economic, and educational assistance to people around the world. With the help, grace, and blessings of Surya Bhagwan, the organization was formed.
In this short report on the SNSOS Mission to Guyana: 2016, you can read more about the history of SNSOS, about the founder Guruji – Pandit Ram Hardowar, as well as the medical professionals who made this trip possible, and the great seva they completed in these few days.
A History of SNSOS
The first mission of SNSOS was to Guyana in November of 2010, where Pandit Ram Hardowar, the founder and executive leader of SNSOS, led a group of medical professionals and devotees to Guyana where they visited numerous high schools in Demerara and Berbice, while also providing medical relief to those in the Crabwood Creek area.
During an interview, Pandit Ram described his mission in 2010 as,
“a year focused mainly on students finishing high-schools and moving on to university or higher learning. We have observed that a significant percentage of students who successfully complete high-school were not continuing on to college and other schools of higher learning.”
Pandit Ram also stated that there are many factors that contribute to the extremely high dropout rate, with two of the most prominent reasons being the social and economic challenges facing these students. Therefore, one of Pandit Ram’s highlights of his mission included a program to provide moral and economic support to high school students, in order to encourage them to pursue higher education.
In light of this great need for financial support among Guyanese high-school graduates, Pandit Ram established the Pandit Ram Hardowar Sanskriti Award. The scholarship, awarded to the highest-achieving Hindu high school graduate, gives $150,000 to the graduate in order to pursue a higher degree. This scholarship is an annual feature to the following schools:
Zeeburg Secondary School – West Coast Demerara
Saraswati Vidya Niketan School – West Coast Demerara
Valmiki Vidyalaya High School – Georgetown
Skeldon Linepath Secondary School – Berbice
About the Founder, Guruji Pandit Ram Hardowar
Guruji Pandit Ram Hardowar is the son of the late Dharma Acharya Pandit Hardowar Panday and Mataji Kowsilla Hardowar, and was born in Crabwood Creek, Guyana. Guruji was a high achieving student at the Skeldon Line Path Secondary School, after which he progressed to his studies at the University of Guyana. After graduating from U.G., he spent many years working in Guyana as one of their top Civil Engineers.
Being the son of Pandit Hardowar Panday, he was brought up in a home where Hinduism was an integral part of his life, to say the least. There, with the influence of his parents, as well as the influence of his Guru, the late Pandit Lallman Sukul, Guruji both learned and applied the simple and complex concepts of Sanatan Dharma very early in his life.
Guruji, along with his wife Guruma Radha Hardowar, and their three children Vishal, Anand, and Sandhya, immigrated to the United States in 1988. During the 1980s, Hindu mandirs in Queens were not many, but Guruji and his father saw the great need to spread Sanatan Dharma in the metropolitan city. Through the blessings of Bhagwan, and the tireless efforts of Pandit Hardowar Panday, the Shri Surya Narayan Mandir was founded in 1993 at its original location on 204th Street in Jamaica, Queens, NY. Following the establishment of the mandir, under the guidance of his father and Guru, Guruji Pandit Ram Hardowar immersed himself in the various shastras to expand his knowledge of Sanatan Dharma even further. As the mandir at 204th St. grew more and more popular, attracting loving devotees from all over New York City, there was a great need for a larger mandir.
And so, Guruji and his father, again, burned the midnight oil and with other devoted members of SSNM, the beautiful Shri Surya Narayan Mandir of 172nd Street in Jamaica was beautifully constructed.
Twenty-three years after its establishment, as the current Spiritual Acharya of SSNM, Guruji Pandit Ram Hardowar has established his gurukulam, consisting of hundreds of chelas and works tirelessly to ensure that Sanatan Dharma is alive and spread among both the Hindu youths and adults of NYC and beyond. In order to encourage this, Guruji established the Surya Veer Sang Program, which contains classes at four levels, in order to achieve a thorough, accurate, and applicable understanding of our Dharma. The classes, which take place every Friday, from 7-8:30PM, educate devotees and willing students on the basics of Sanatan Dharma, basic and advanced prayers, the steps of puja, noteworthy kathas from the Shastras, with the upper-level classes even learning directly from the Ramayana and Bhagavad Gita. With these classes free of cost and available to anyone who wishes to join, Guruji hopes to make these classes as accessible to the public as possible and motivate more Hindus to learn about their Dharma.
But, his efforts did not stop there. SNSOS, according to Guruji, was started because of his commitment to dharma. In an interview, when Guruji was asked about his primary motivation for starting the non-profit organization, he made reference to the four pillars of Sanatan Dharma, satyam, soucham, dayaa, and daanam. Specifically, Guruji stated:
“Satyam in its absolute sense refers to the timeless and independent nature of God, however, from a relative standpoint all human beings must live and exist on truth only.
Sauchyam calls for every person to have pure minds free of hatred and enmity as well as purity of our physical body and environment.
Daya reminds us to have compassion for all living things in this world. One should display Ahimsa or non-aggression in dealing with others whether it is from a political, economic, religious or social standpoint.
Daanam is the sharing of our wealth, skill or talent with others who are less fortunate and in need.”
As shown in this interview, Guruji is a truly altruistic individual, who sees the need for a collective success, instead of just his own. He performs all of his actions while taking into account the welfare of the greater good, a defining characteristic of a powerful leader. Another example of such flawless leadership includes the Surya Sanskriti Kendra, where all of Guruji’s dakshana, given to him during pujas and yagnas, are donated to. The money from the Kendra fund is then awarded to students to pursue their study of the arts (singing, dancing, tabla), as well as technology. The Kendra is also supplemented by fundraisers held by the mandir, where children and their families participate in fun-filled musicals, talent shows, family fun nights, bus-trips, and much, much more.
Apart from being a priest, Guruji is also a Geotechnical civil engineer in New York City. His love for dharma directly coincides with his work, where he is responsible for ensuring that the constructs have a proper foundation to be built upon. His work is also directly translatable to his work for the mandir, where he ensures that his chelas and devotees have a steady foundation of Sanatan Dharma to lead their lives upon.
Guruji Pandit Ram Hardowar’s tireless effort and focus on his goal not only makes him an exemplary leader, but also a noteworthy individual. Not only does he preach Dharma, but he walks that path as well, which is a very rare quality to find. Guruji hopes that with the blessings of Surya Bhagwan, he will be able to achieve his ultimate dream of building the first Hindu social and cultural center of New York City, with efforts already underway.
We pray that Guruji, along with his Dharam-patni and three wonderful children, can achieve this goal, as well as continue their seva and preservation of Sanatan Dharma.
SNSOS Mission to Guyana: 2016
The SNSOS mission of 2016 was kicked-off on Sunday, November 20th where Shri Surya Narayan Mandir of NY held their annual Blood Drive in honor of Veteran’s Day and the upcoming Thanksgiving Holiday. The mandir partnered with the New York Blood Center, where a vehicle was located right in the mandir courtyard, allowing devotees to give back in the form of maha-seva.
During the blood drive, devotees filled out their paperwork, were served with warm kheer and tea, took their “before-photo”, and proceeded to the vehicle outdoors to donate blood. Devotees ranging from the young to old donated blood, with each pint of blood donated saving three lives. This feature of SSNM shows not only their understanding of the concept of Seva, but also their desire to help the greater community of New York.
Additionally, prior to the team’s trip to Guyana, many preparations were already in-order. Barrels were filled with medical supplies worth thousands of dollars that were donated by the participating medical professionals as well as devotees from the mandir, and sent to Guyana prior to the trip. The barrels included first-aid kids, glucometers, medical supplies and medications, that would be given to the public free-of charge, as a part of their complementary medical consultation. Fliers describing the event were distributed to the public to spread awareness of the opportunity.
Following this came a very exciting week: the week the SNSOS Team would be making their way from New York to Guyana!
Here is a photo of the team, upon their arrival to Guyana on Thursday.
Meet the Doctors
Dr. Amarnath Dukhi, M.D.
Neurosurgeon, Dr. Amarnauth Dukhi consulting with a patient.
Dr. Parmeshwar Mahabhir, M.D.
Dr. Mahabir consults with a patient at the Doobay Medical Center in Annandale.
Pt./Dr. Anand Hardowar M.D., FACEP
Dr. Hardowar examining a patient at the Doobay Medical Center in Annandale.
During the outreach, the doctors were assisted at different times and locations by Dr. Chetram Budhu, Dr. Javid Aziz, and Dr. Melisa Singh.
Annandale Dialysis Center at Doobay Medical Center
Thursday, November 24, 2016
On the first day of the mission, the SNSOS team visited the Annandale Dialysis Center at the Doobay Medical Center.
A photo of the setup of the Doobay Medical Center.
The Doobay Medical Center is an established not-for-profit organization that began in September 2011. The President of the medical center, Dr. Buhendra Doobay, is a Guyanese-Canadian philanthropist and vascular surgeon.
Albion Orphanage at the Camal International Home
Friday, November 25, 2016
On the second day of the mission, the team visited the Albion Orphanage at the Camal International Home in Port Mourant, Guyana. The Home, as of 2014, cared for as many as thirty-five children, many of whom were abandoned by their parents. The owner, Carmen Kissoon, built the structure for the children 19 years ago, after returning to Guyana to see many children sleeping on the pavement and begging to survive. Although it was tough at first, Kissoon said that as time went on, the help started to pour in, as the children did, and soon, many children had a safe roof over their heads, as well as clothes on their backs. The home is currently financed by the support of individuals that live both inside and outside of Guyana, as well as various organizations. The Government also supports the orphanage with $100,000 a year.
Members of the Albion community line up in the waiting room at Camal, to be evaluated by a physician.
Dr. Dukhi consults with a patient at Camal.
Dr. Hardowar treating a patient with a lip laceration at Camal.
The Youths Of SSNM Give Back – The daughters of Dr. Mahabir, Naya and Riya, and the daughters of Dr. Hardowar, Shyla and Amba, with youths of the orphanage.
Gurumaa Radha Hardowar and Guruji Pandit Ram Hardowar with Carmen Kissoon at Camal.
A photograph of the SNSOS team at Camal.
Pictured here (left to right, back to front): Uncle Sonny, Guruji Pandit Ram Hardowar, Dr. Amarnauth Dukhi, Dr. Parmeshwar Mahabir, Dr. Anand Hardowar, Ayome Maniram, Amrita Mahabir, Guruma Radha Hardowar, Carmen Kissoon, Naya Mahabir, Sally Hardowar, Shyla Hardowar, Amba Hardowar, Riya Mahahir, and youth orphan.
Shri Krishna Mandir of No. 0 Village
Saturday, November 26, 2016
On the third day, the team visited the Shri Krishna Mandir in No. 0 Village, located in Corentyne. The mandir is a part of the Hindu Society of Berbice, a “community development oriented, non-profit charitable religious organization responsible for the promotion and preservation of Sanatan Dharma and Hindu culture…”
Local community leaders including Swamiji Aksharananda with our team, Guruji Pt. Ram Hardowar, Pt./Dr. Anand Hardowar at the Shri Krishna Mandir.
The team with individuals from the Shri Krishna Mandir along with Pt Avinash and SwamiJi.
Dr. Anand Hardowar checking a patient’s pulse at the Shri Krishna Mandir.
Crabwood Creek Maha Shiva Mandir
Sunday, November 27, 2016
Finally, on the fourth day, the team visited the Crabwood Creek Shiva Mandir. It is the temple that was constructed under Pt. Hardowar Panday’s leadership, and where Guruji Pandit Ram Hardowar grew up, and the very community the SNSOS team now looks forward to helping.
Dr. Javed Aziz and Dr. Melisa Singh, medical professionals of Guyana, assist in the medical aid given to patients at the Crabwood Creek Mandir.
Naya and Riya Mahabir, daughters of Dr. Parmeshwar Mahabir, assists in distributing medicals and first-aid supplies.
Would You Like To Learn More?
Surya Narayan Seva Outreach Sang (SNSOS) is a non-profit charitable organization headquartered in Jamaica, New York. Members of SNSOS come from diverse backgrounds and consist of professionals, pandits and other select members of the community. Our humanitarian effort is seen as a way of extending the boundaries of the Mandir beyond its physical constraints and opening up its door to many more people in a time of need. Our mission is to provide medical care with a focus on prevention and a healthy lifestyle, social, economic and educational assistance to people in need around the world especially in Guyana, New York and India. Service will be provided to the underserved through love and compassion in our actions. The values and morals thought to us by our religion Sanatan Dharma will be our guiding light as we move forward to help the needy and less fortunate.
If you would like to volunteer your services or make a donation to help further the goals of SNSOS, please contact us at 646-210-2754 or e-mail at PtRamHardowar@gmail.com