Hundreds of devotees spent the 4th of July weekend absorbed in a discourse on the 4th Chapter of the Bhagwad Gita recited by Pujya Bhaishri. The three-day event at the Salaam Shrine Center in Livingston, New Jersey was organized by Vidya Vikas Charitable Trust (V.V.C.T.) – a non profit organization which was established in 2001 and focuses on providing education to students in rural and disaster-affected areas in India.

V.V.C.T. president Dr. Navin Mehta explained that the trust is inspired and guided by Pujya Bhaishri, who firmly believes that education is the key for improving living standards in these communities. Therefore, in addition to providing food, housing, and medical help in the disaster-affected regions, V.V.C.T facilitates construction and management of schools and colleges in an effort to make lasting changes a reality. V.V.C.T. not only strives to initiate its own projects and to meet its goals, but the trust also helps the other charities with similar goals. For example, V.V.C.T. will provide $7,250 for the construction of two water tanks at the Prayosha Pratisthan tribal school in Malegaon, Saputara District, near Nasik, India.

The event began on Friday, July 2nd evening, followed by morning and afternoon sessions on Saturday, July 3rd and Sunday, July 4th. Mahaprasad sponsored by Girishbhai and Daminiben Soni of Livingston, New Jersey was served after each of the five sessions so that people could enjoy the Satsang without having to leave the premises. Beautiful weather and an open air pavilion added comfort during meals with a different menu at the end of each session. Pujya Bhaishri visited the pavilion during the lunch break in the afternoon on 4th July and blessed devotees and volunteers. In addition, during the afternoon breaks on Saturday and Sunday, Kiran Kothari, a well known singer of devotional songs, and his group of talented singers and musicians sang bhajans to entertain the audience. The bhajans were followed by a power point presentation by Girish Mehta, a volunteer and one of the trustees of V.V.C.T. to articulate the trust’s mission, a highlight of both its completed projects and those underway, and a pictorial glimpse into the lives of the people it has touched.

The V.V.C.T. president Dr. Navin Mehta emphasized that all donations received by the trust are used exclusively for providing education and relief efforts in India. Airfare and other travel expenses are paid for by the trustees and volunteers who go to India to monitor progress and bring back information in the form of reports, videos and photographs for presenting to donors.

Various schemes are available for sponsoring students in the rural and disaster affected areas in India. Donation of $1,001 sponsors a student for the entire four-year curriculum, and a $251 donation helps sponsor a student for one year. Students in tribal areas can be sponsored for one year by a donation of $101 per student.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.
You need to agree with the terms to proceed