Saturday, December 9, 2023
Youth Speak

Making a Difference

By Jasleen Kaur Brar, 16 Nov, 2017

    Life is not meant for fulfilling one’s desires alone, it is meant to support everyone. 

    British humanitarian, Audrey Hepburn once stated: “As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands – one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.” 
    Currently, there are over 7 billion people inhabiting the planet. In translation, there are over 14 billion hands, hands of which can proactively assist others, or not bother doing anything. There are some individuals who keep their hands to themselves; however, there are those who use their hands to help others, to positively impact the world. 
    From a very young age, I was determined to travel the world and visit third-world countries. I have always had the vision to improve the lives of poverty-stricken individuals. In 2016, I finally saw my dream develop into reality when I joined a non-profit organization, Sikh Sewa International Society of Youth (SISSY). 
    SSISY aims at providing local and international relief to unprivileged individuals and supporting child education in India. As the secretary of SSISY, I have helped spearhead fundraising events, bottle drives, and soup kitchens in the Lower Mainland. Accordingly, profits received from such events were used towards local charities including the Salvation Army, Cyrus Centre, and The Warm Zone. 
    Recently, in December 2016, I had the opportunity to travel with SSISY where our team held a vision camp in Buttar, Punjab, for villagers with insufficient funds. Over 150 residents received eye examinations and surgical procedures at no cost. A few weeks before our arrival, villagers were notified via announcements and a lot of interest was generated. 
    While patients enthusiastically waited for their eye examinations, SSISY volunteers provided tea, refreshments, and warm meals. As I served in the waiting area, the patients complimented, “Well done,” “Thank you” or “God bless you.” Regardless of the struggles these villagers have gone through, they welcomed me with warm smiles, and blessed me ever so kindly. Elders showered us with their blessings and I understood that this is the direction I want to push myself towards. In that instant, I sensed that this is the greatest way to serve humanity, by doing “Sewa,” to provide service to those in need. 
    My visit to the vision camp has become an enriching experience. It has allowed me to believe that life is not meant for fulfilling one’s desires alone, it is meant to support everyone, regardless of caste, religion, colour or gender. 
    In Canada, everyone is granted the freedom to happiness, but in some countries, the concept of a peace of mind does not exist. Therefore, it is our duty, as humans, to help our fellow brothers and sisters and there is no greater way but to serve them. 
    Volunteering with SSISY has opened a door of endless opportunities for me to give back to the world and my community. I am very thankful to God for giving me the chance to join such an impactful organization and spread love and kindness everywhere. 
    Jasleen Kaur Brar is an grade 11 student at Abbotsford Traditional Secondary School. She wishes to pursue a career as a Registered Nurse in order to continue serving others. In her spare time, Jasleen is an active volunteer who participates in community events, and an athlete who competes in karate tournaments and will try out for this year’s BC Karate Team. 
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