For years, SAF International has been working within Sikligar communities, helping to educate and uplift individuals that have been ignored and neglected by mainstream society. It’s a cause that is very near and dear to our hearts, because we know their story, their rich history, and the unimaginable hardships they have endured over the years.
The lasting impact of these hardships and the “criminal” tag given to the Sikligar community has held them back for decades and has stripped them of their basic human rights. As a Sikh based charity, we felt that we had no option but to help out in any way that we could.
Several years ago, we decided to kick-start a community development project for Sikligar Sikhs. The program initially served communities in Madhya Pradesh and has since grown to include communities within Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh. Within these communities, we have been providing access to education for young children, Gurmat academies, water filters, and basic home improvements.
During this year’s global COVID-19 pandemic, we stepped up our support to help Sikligar communities during India’s nationwide lockdown. While the lockdown was necessary, it left many Sikligar Sikhs in an incredibly dangerous position.
As you may or may not know, Sikligar Sikhs are a community renowned for their craftsmanship and their involvement in the establishment of the Khalsa. For many within the community, their skilled handy work is their one and only source of income to feed their families.
Without access to sell their handmade items on the streets of India, they have no means of supporting themselves and their loved ones. Additionally, many if not all families have no savings because they have not been properly educated on how to save money/supplies for emergencies. This has left entire communities with very little to survive off of during the Coronavirus pandemic.
With no income and almost no savings, alongside the threat of potential police beatings if they were to leave their house, many Sikligar Sikhs were left with no option but to go hungry.
Fortunately, SAF International was able to lend a hand. We started a fundraising campaign for the Sikligar Sikhs, and within days we were able to get essential food supplies to families in need. To date, we have delivered over 12 tonnes of food including rice, dal, oil, haldi, mirch, salt and more to hundreds of families within the Sikligar communities we support.
Here is a quick overview:
Delivering such a large amount of food across these communities during a nationwide lockdown has proved to be challenging at times, but it was something that needed to be done, and we’re incredibly proud of everyone involved for making it possible. Thanks to their selfless service and the generous donations from within the Sikh community, many lives have been saved.
Our work in the area is far from over and we plan to support the Sikligar Sikhs throughout the lockdown and beyond. To do that, we need as much support as possible. If you’re able to lend a hand, make a donation, or provide free supplies, please contact us at office.safinternational.org.
For more information on our efforts in India, please consider following us at Facebook.com/safinternational.org and Instagram @safinternational.