[www.inewsguyana.com] – The Dharam Shala, Home of Benevolence for All Races which is the country’s longest existing humanitarian charity, on December 25 held a Christmas lunch at its residence, at which Prime Minister (PM) Samuel Hinds was present.
The ceremony saw recitations of verses from the Holy Bible along with beautiful renditions of songs of worship.
The Prime Minister during his brief remarks recalled his many visits to the institution and pointed out that there have been some changes. He also noted that Christmas is a well celebrated occasion which allows people to reflect on the year gone by, and their lives.
Remembering some of the great souls that were once a part of the institution but have now passed on, the PM urged the gathering to make the most of the time they have.
He then reflected on the celebration of Christmas in the golden days when the country wasn’t in such a good position and it was difficult to bake cakes because butter was rarely available.
He said it was a pleasure to be a part of the ceremony and share in the spirit of Christmas. He then extended warm wishes on behalf of his family and self, as well as the government to the gathering. He also extended best wishes to the Ramsaroop family, and commended them for the wonderful job they have been doing.
The Dharam Shala which in 2014 celebrated its 93rd anniversary is a charity which was founded in 1921 by the late Pandit Ramsaroop Maraj, whose heart was moved by the plight of society, and gave up his trade as a jeweller and devoted his life to helping the needy. He was born on November 3, 1889 at Friendship, Wakenaam, on the Essequibo River.
His life’s work was conducted through the Hindu Religious Society, which was also founded by him, and which in turn set up and managed the Dharam Shala. His main focus was to have the organisation emphasise housing the poor and providing religious, medical and educational facilities for them.
However, due to the unavailability of buildings and finances, the Dharam Shala commenced with a soup kitchen.
The institution was officially declared open in 1929 and in 1941, the Dharm Shala extended its service to Berbice, with a building of similar capacity to its Georgetown counterpart, a Hindu temple and a chapel.
In October 1950 at the age of sixty after the Pandit developed health-related complications, his work was continued by his son, Harry Saran Ramsaroop, who also dedicated his life to serving the less fortunate.
The institution continues to grow, with11 different buildings across the country housing the less fortunate. [GINA]