Sewa International Houston Monthly Update

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Monthly Update
July 2014
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Letter from the Sewa Vice President


Hello Sewa Members,


Through the years Sewa has worked with the Bhutanese refugees at the Los Arcos apartments. The Sewa team and volunteers have faced many unexpected challenges and setbacks through these years. But thanks to your generous donations, Sewa has enriched the empowerment programs provided at the Los Arcos apartment complex.


In this special edition of the newsletter, Sewa will update all of you on the progress of the programs at Los Arcos. Please, excuse the length of this newsletter. Sewa’s team is proud to update everyone on the tremendous strides we have made in the apartments and this subject requires more space than the usual newsletter. It is important that we give you a detailed update on the progress so that you know how your donations are enriching the lives of the people in the community. Next month’s newsletter will feature the volunteer spotlight and all of the other monthly newsletter features you know and enjoy.


Thank you for your patience as Sewa has worked to perfect every detail of the Bhutanese Refugee Program. Without you, Sewa would not be where it is today. Sewa sincerely thanks you. We look forward to seeing you at our annual fundraiser in September!


Thank you,

Vasudev Singh





Sewing Classes
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Sewing and tailoring classes have been moving along smoothly due to the huge effort of the new sewing volunteers. Muriel McKrieth, Roy McKrieth, and Venita Dogra have the sewing classes meeting regularly and the students are developing their skills quickly. The new volunteers have made a splash among the Los Arcos refugees because of their positive energy and serious commitment to teaching sewing students. Because of this, Sewa has seen an increase in the number of students who regularly attend sewing and tailoring classes. 


Sewing classes are intended to help students develop their sewing skills and sell their products for profit. Thank you to all of the donors who helped Sewa obtain sewing machines for these classes. Sewa and the refugee community appreciate your donations. Thank you to the volunteers that are teaching the sewing classes; Sewa truly appreciates your commitment.



Computer Literacy Classes


On Tuesday, July 8th, Aishwarya Ravat and her team of volunteers officially launched computer classes. These classes help refugees develop their ESL and computer literacy skills, two skills that are important for their self-empowerment. Now when these students apply for jobs, they are able to list basic computer knowledge as a skill. This expresses how the computer classes will benefit the students.



Children’s Activities
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Children’s activities have been a huge hit among the children living in Los Arcos. Children’s Activities is a summer program provided by Sewa to the refugee children in the Los Arcos community.  Children look forward to doing activities with the GIH interns and other Sewa volunteers every Wednesday. Activities include: arts and crafts, games, sing-a-longs, etc. Look out for some of the arts and crafts work on Sewa’s Facebook, Twitter and Blogger.



Parent Groups and Tutoring Conducted by HISD

Houston Independent School District (HISD) conducts regular parent group sessions at Sewa’s Los Arcos apartment every Thursday. In these sessions, HISD representatives talk with parents in the refugee community about their impact on their children’s education. The greater part of a child’s education takes place at home and HISD uses these sessions to convey this message to refugee parents. The main focus of the program is to highlight ways for parents to be active in their child’s education. The classes receive a consistent turnout.

HISD also tutors high school students at Sewa’s Los Arcos apartment, specifically in the computer lab. HISD has expressed a great deal of appreciation for Sewa providing the apartment and computers for their use. Thanks to your generous donations, Sewa can provide this service to HISD to help them educate refugee parents and students at Los Arcos.



Immunization Drives
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Sewa partnered with Texas Children’s Hospital to provide free immunizations for children living at the Los Arcos apartments. By simply coming to the immunization location, in the Los Arcos complex, and presenting the child’s shot records, parents are able to get their children immunized for the school year. The last immunization drive, Tuesday, July 8th, had a huge turnout. Some patients did not live in the Los Arcos apartment complex, but attended the drive due to a recent closure of an immunization center in the community. This proves that Sewa’s immunization drives are vital to the larger Houston community as well as the Los Arcos community. Sewa thanks Texas Children’s Mobile Clinic, Get Inspired Houston interns, and Lead Houston interns for making this event a reality. The next immunization drive will be held on Tuesday, July 29th; Sewa is expecting an even larger turnout.



Health Camps

Get Inspired Houston (GIH) interns began holding weekly health camps in the Los Arcos apartment on Thursday, July 10th. In these health camps, GIH interns discuss various health topics with the aim of improving health within the community. These topics include nutrition and hygiene, women’s health, and tobacco. Each event will be followed by refreshments, giving health camp participants a chance to further  discuss health topics. The information presented by the GIH interns will help members in the community live healthier lives. Sewa and the interns are excited to present this information to the community and empower individuals to take control of their health.



Sewa Houston Upcoming Events
Get Involved!

Below are upcoming opportunities to get involved with Sewa International Houston. 
  • SEWA Houston cordially invites you to a Presentation about Health Care Proxy and Living Will. The event will be held on Saturday, July 26th at Arya Samaj (14375 Schiller Rd, Houston, TX 77082) and again on Sunday, July 27th in The Woodlands from 3:00 to 4:30 PM. The event will be presented by Sri. Girish Mehta, Founder and Executive Director for Indian Circle for Caring (ICC). Attendees will learn to prepare important legal documents in the privacy of their own homes at no cost. Please register for this free event here.

  • Join us for the 2014 End of Internship Event. 2014 GIH interns will be coordinating an End of Internship Event. Time and place TBD. Keep an eye out!

  • Save the Date! Sewa Houston will host our annual fundraising dinner with special entertainment on the evening of Friday, September 5th from 6:30-9:30PM at VPSS Haveli



Sewa Houston Ongoing Programs 
Volunteer with Us!

Commit to volunteer with or donate to Sewa in one of our ongoing volunteer projects serving Houston’s refugee and immigrant communities. 

  • Volunteer to teach sewing classes. Sewa is offering sewing and tailoring classes to refugee women and men to provide them with vocational skills. Interested volunteers email
  • Volunteer with Family Services. 
    • Emergency Services— A hotline service created to provide support, assistance, and resources for struggling families and individuals in the Indian community. 
    • Family Workshops— Monthly workshop series focusing on family issues and promoting healthy family relationships. 
    • Stop Diabetes Movement–Program across Houston to help pre-diabetic individuals prevent and manage diabetes through yoga and diet in monthly week-long yoga sessions.
  • Donate supplies for Refugee Empowerment classes. 
    • Computer Classes–There is a need for flat screen computer monitors (with Windows XP capabilities or newer), power cords, VGA cables, and power strips.
    • Sewing Classes–There is a need for bobbins, seam rippers, measuring tape, spools of thread, straight pins, sewing scissors, sewing patterns, and saris for future sewing projects.