Hindu faith-based non-profit Sewa International gets major disaster relief grant for Houston recovery

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Sewa International, which identifies itself as a ” Hindu faith-based organization ” gained significant recognition for its relief work in Houston, Texas following Hurricane Harvey. It has been awarded a $397,590 grant by the Greater Houston Community Foundation (GHCF) in its second round of grants announced Nov. 15.

The GHCF, which has raised more than $80 million for the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund, had strict criteria in evaluating grant proposals, Sewa International, a non-profit whose Houston chapter will be able to do more with the new grant.

The Sewa International team was led by Sewa Houston Chapter’s President Gitesh Desai, and included Achalesh Amar, and Vasudev Singh who were in turn supported by the grant writing team headed by Kavita Tewary, Sewa International said in a press release on its website. The grant writing team included Anuja Deshpande, Hasita Kartick, and Jaydeep Chaudhari, and was advised by Prof. Sree Sreenath, president, Sewa International.

“Sewa International has broken through a barrier of sorts in receiving such a major grant for offering Disaster Case Management Services to Greater Houston Community that includes Houston and Harris county,” Desai is quoted saying in the press release. “We are proud of our work, but we are also anxious to start offering the services we have been tasked to deliver,” he added.

The grant will be used by the Sewa International Team, led by a project manager and assisted by 20 case workers, to identify and assist 600 clients in assessing their “individual/family needs resulting from a specific disaster event, help them develop a recovery plan, and screen for duplication of benefits and provide them access to resources for their unmet needs” the press release said.

The grant money that Sewa received Nov. 15, will have to be spent over the next four months. As per the grant guidelines, Sewa has to begin providing disaster case management services within 30 days or less of receiving funding.

“This is a kind of ‘get set, ready, go’ kind of challenge and opportunity for us”, said Tewary, executive director of Sewa Houston who spearheaded the grant writing “We want to spend this money wisely, correctly, and carefully, and do it all within the next four months so that Sewa International will emerge as a reliable, trustworthy organization that can seek other such grants for disaster relief work across the United States and around the world,” she added. “We will make Sewa proud and we will, as a Hindu faith-based organization will make Indo-Americans proud. We indeed believe serving humanity is serving divinity.” she said.