Friday, January 5, 2018

RAM - A - THON: Shri Ram Mandir sets a trend for religious organisations

Thakur Ranjit Singh

What started three years ago as a prop to raise funds for completing Shri Ram Mandir in Henderson, Auckland, has turned into annual fundraiser for needy organisations. 

A Flashback of the last Ram-A -Thon on 11 December, 2016. The team of walkers assembled in from of Shri Ram Mandir early in the morning before being bussed to Auckland Domani for commencement of the walk.
The next walkathon, which has been named as Ram-A –Thon to reflect its initiative from Shri Ram Mandir, will be held in early 2018. The walkathon is on Sunday 4 February, 2018, starting from Winter Gardens in Auckland Domain to Shri Ram Mandir, Brick Street, Henderson.

The 2018 Ram-A -Thon flyer with all relevant details. Please feel free to call us for further details.
This is a whole day, 19 km walk to raise funds for Saint John Ambulance. There will be entertaining and helpful stops on the way at Western Springs, Te Atatu South and Tui Glen Park in Henderson, culminating in presentations and dinner at Ram Mandir in the evening. There would be dignitaries, food, refreshments and special guests at each location, addressing and encouraging the walkers.
Waitakere Sports, the Police, Saint Johns, elders, youths and other organisations have come on board to give a helping hand. Corporate sponsors such as Coop Taxis, The Cooperative Bank, Harcourt’s and Mitre 10 Henderson, among other, have come on board with an open heart. Greater details will be on our Facebook page, and will be spread through this medium.

Welcoming speech by Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi before the last walkathon at Winter Gardens at Auckland Domain
Indeed, the idea that commenced to complete the Temple has now escalated into an activity that has been used to assist deserving charities. Last year, Ram-A Thon charity walk contributed some $10, 000 to Star Ship Hospital. This year, it has grown bigger with a walk for Saint John Ambulance.
Shri Ram Mandir Charitable Trust’s (SRMCT) trend-setting charity walk comes with a difference. The difference is that it is not merely to raise funds, but to amplify well-being of community, importance of keeping fit, networking, service to community and enhancing diversity and multiculturalism. 

The most important message is to religious organisations to extend their radar of focus from religious to spiritual activities. Thus, Shri Ram Mandir has endeavoured to widen its focus from religious activities to the wellbeing of the wider community.
The person leading the organisation that came with this benevolent thought, stressed that this type of walkathon has multi-pronged objectives. Pravin Kumar, the Managing Trustee of SRMCT said, “We have advised from the outset that the priority of this charity walk was not fundraising. While that is one of the aims, it is one on low priority.”

The man behind this philanthropic initiative, the Managing Trustee of Shri Ram Mandir Charitable Trust, Pravin Kumar (right), with his good wife, Kasmin Kumar.
He advised that the multi-objectives of this walk are: 

To engage with the wider community, including children, youths, elders, women and people from all walks to life – enhancing diversity, teamwork, networking and multiculturalism. In fact it enhances and brings together the whole family and the community.

To create awareness of well-being, healthy living, walking, exercising and keeping fit.

To help raise funds for the Community Wellbeing. Last year we raised money for Starship Hospital. This year we are walking for equally deserving Saint John Ambulance.

Some prominent supporters of the last Ram-A-Thon at pit stop at McCormick Reserve, Te Atatu South, Auckland. From left, your truly, Thakur Ranjit Singh (Acting Event Director), Hon Phil Twyford, (then MP for Te Atatu, and now also Minister for Housing and Transport.) Mahendra Sharma (Event Director, but now away overseas), Shane Henderson (Chairperson of Henderson-Massey Local Board) and Pravin Kumar (Managing Trustee of Shri Ram Mandir Charitable Trust)
“We are pleased that we are able to pass the wider message to the community for its well-being through the temple project,” Kumar said.

It is also stressing the message of change to other religious organisations to widen their focus from religious to spiritual wellbeing of the community where we use our morals, ethics and teaching for helping others.

The fun-team of walkers in the last event on 11.12.2016, having a well-earned short-break under Rosebank Road underpass
We are urging general public to reserve Sunday, 4 February, 2018 in your calendar for walking the talk on helping the community and widening the objectives and aims of religious teaching in supporting   vulnerable and needy in our communities.

A flashback to the first Ram-A -Thon over 3 years ago on 30 November, 2014. Please note the incomplete work, and exposed timber (on left), still being finalised for completion of the Mandir. The dignitaries who graced the occasion- from left, Managing Trustee, Pravin Kumar, Kanwaljit  Singh Bakshi, (National List MP), Phil Twyford (MP, Te Atatu), Alfred Ngaro  and Parmjeet Parmar (both National List MPs and Linda Cooper(Auckland City Councillor).

Further information can be obtained from Acting Event Director Thakur Ranjit Singh on 021 235 4559 or e-mail – For further details please visit Shri Ram Mandir Facebook page or can be obtained by contacting Pundit Jagdish Sharma on 09-836 4647.

About the Author: Thakur Ranjit Singh runs the blog FIJI PUNDIT, and is also a media commentator, and promotes community and other events beneficial to the society and enhances community wellbeing.. He is also Acting Project Director of Ram-A Thon, sitting in for Pundit Mahendra Sharma who is away overseas in India.

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