Seva Kendra, Siliguri

Hands On India Ltd partners the registered Indian NGO, Seva Kendra Social Services Centre, Siliguri, West Bengal. This service centre is part of the Catholic Diosceses of Bagdogra. It supports government and community and self-initiated social, educational and health programs for rural communities in the Siliguri sub-division of the Darjeeling District.

Hands On India-Murdoch had established a good relationship with the Seva Kendra Centre during their visits to India over a nine year period. Upon the creation of Hands On India Ltd as a Registered Australian Charity, the new HOI Board determined that it would be prudent to visit Seva Kendra and decide whether it could continue a relationship with this NGO.

With this in mind, in 2015, the newly established HOI board sent a representative group, led by Noel Patterson, on a tour to Siliguri. Over a two-week period, the Hands on India group resided at the Seva Kendra Centre in Pradhan Nagar and toured the Siliguri sub-district, visiting remote villages, schools, hostels/orphanages and hospitals closely linked with Seva Kendra, whilst also enjoying many of the cultural tourist opportunities afforded by Siliguri, Darjeeling and the magnificent Himalayas. Meetings were held with the new Director of the Seva Kendra NGO, Fr Felix Pinto, the Bishop of the

Bagdogra Catholic Diosceses, Bishop Vincent Aind, hospital, school and orphanage administrators and other local village elders in the region.

Noel Patterson provided a full report to the HOI Board following this trip. In addition to the work conducted by Seva Kendra, the report also included assurances from Seva Kendra and diocesan officials that, though it is a Christian faith-based entity, Seva Kendra does not proselytize, supports all members of the Indian Community, supports the Indian Government and its social initiatives and respects the religious and cultural differences in India, especially the Hindu majority. Hands on India Ltd agreed to formally partner Seva Kendra. The team also reported on the wonderful reception they received from the residents of Siliguri City and the villagers in the remote communities. The team members felt extremely safe in Siliguri and were made to feel very much at home during the entirety of their stay. The board determined that Seva Kendra Social Services Centre demonstrates the necessary qualities we require of a partner NGO in India.