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2017-3-21
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Dharm Shala celebrated its 95th birthday yesterday. First Lady, Mrs. Sandra Granger joined Ms. Kella and Ms. Pamela Ramsaroop, donors, well-wishers, family and friends of the Dharm Shala Home of Benevolence forA section of the audience at the 95th anniversary celebrations of the Dharm Shala. Mr. Yesu Persaud, former Chairman of Demerara Distillers Limited and Dr. Manorma Soeknandan, Deputy Secretary-General of the CARICOM Secretariat, are pictured in the foreground.All Races to mark its anniversary.Describing the genesis of the Dharm Shala, Ms. Pamela Ramsaroop said that her grandfather, Pandit Ramsaroop Maraj, travelled widely across Guyana and was moved by the plight of the needy. She said that before he founded the Dharm Shala with assistance from the Hindu Religious Society, he started out by giving alms, introduced indigent persons to religion and started a soup kitchen with assistance from businessmen and residents in the Albouystown area.“A devout practicing Hindu”, who also appreciated the teachings of Christianity, Pandit Maraj’s compassion and commitment to the poor knew no bounds. In 1941, twenty years after he established the Albouystown facility, the Dharm Shala extended its services to Berbice, where it established a building of similar capacity and erected a temple and a church to serve its residents and the wider community.When Pandit Maraj died his son, Harry Ramsaroop, dedicated 29 years of his life in service to the poor. Today, Ms. Kella Ramsaroop serves as the Dharm Shala’s Managing Director and works alongside her sister, Pamela, to operate the home.Mrs. Granger heaped praised on the Ramsaroops who have ably filled the vacuum left following the death of their father Mr. Harry Saran Ramsaroop in 2013. , who himself had taken up the mantle of leadership after his father, founder of the Dharm Shala, Pandit Maraj died in 1950.“This family has served and cared for those in need for nearly one century, and it continues to serve. That dedication is all the more remarkable in an age where so much store is being put in material things, where success is rated by material possessions and social position,” Mrs. Granger said.“We must commend Kella and Pamela for keeping faith with their grandfather’s and father’s dreams and for devoting themselves to the Dharm Shala.”Mr. Nicholas Boyer, of National Hardware Limited, remarked that the warmth, which pervades the Dharm Shala is a testimony to Pandit Ramsaroop and the values that he passed down to his son and granddaughters.He commended the family’s life of service to the poor, noting that it has inspired his family and has been the impetus, which motivated his and other families and donors’ involvement in the charity.Mr. Ron Robinson, who served as the Master of Ceremonies extended gratitude to Mr. Winston Humphrey of Humphrey’s Bakery for providing the “daily bread” for the home, Mrs. Kissoon of the Water Chris hotel, who has been providing the Christmas luncheon for the past 40 years, the children of the American School, who provide the Christmas presents for residents and are responsible for all the festive decorations, Pastor Erskine and the staff of the Berbice Dharm Shala and Mrs. Rensford Rodney and Ms. Shelly Phillips for their service.Several persons, who have contributed, over the years, to the continuation of the charitable work started by Pandit Ramsaroop in 1921, attended the milestone observance. These included Ms. Vanda Radzik, who chaired the event, Ms. Dorothy Fraser,NHL Jerseys From China, General Secretary of the Guyana Red Cross Society, notable business man and former Chairman of Demerara Distillers Limited, Mr. Yesu Persaud, Mr. Sattaur and Mrs. Ameena Gafoor of Gafsons Enterprise, Dr. Manorma Soeknandan, Deputy Secretary-General of the Caribbean Community Secretariat, Ms. Patricia David, Executive Director of Adult Education in Guyana and Ms. Shirley Baynes-Moore, Lay Minister and Diocesan Restores Person, of St. Phillips’s Anglican Church and the St Francis of Assisi Chapel built by the Ramsaroop clan for their Albouystown community.
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