Khalsa Aid is a UK-based non-profit aid and relief organisation, which was founded on Sikhism’s core principles of universal love and selfless service.
Founded in the year 1999, it is registered with the UK Charities Commission (#1080374). That said, it has volunteers in Asia and North America as well. Khalsa Aid has offered relief assistance to the suffering and needy in the event of natural disasters, wars, and other tragedies occurring in the world around us. The organisation has provided humanitarian aid to victims of floods, earthquakes, famine, etc.
Their efficient and able team is quite frequently the first on the scene to help in the distribution of food, water, clothing, medicines, and sanitation supplies. They also fund and construct semi-permanent shelters and relief camps – anything that is needed to save lives, alleviate suffering, and help restore human dignity.
The charity is the brainchild Ravinder Singh, popularly known as Ravi, who was struck by the suffering of the Kosovo refugees in 1999.
That year was also the 300th birth anniversary of the Khalsa, which served as an opportunity for the community members to imbibe the central teachings of their faith.
Ravi witnessed the footage of the refugees in Kosovo on new channels. He was deeply disturbed by what he saw. A particular Sikhi ideology – “Sarbat da Bhalla” which translates to “wellbeing for all” – served as a source of inspiration. This ideology recognises the humanity in every human being and advocates reaching out to all those in need, irrespective of religion, race, nationality, etc.
While there were celebrations in the UK and across the world, news channels displayed terrible images of refugees who were struggling to the cross the cold, mountainous border to reach a safer and more peaceful haven in Albania.
While he was reading a newspaper article about a small charity group who were in the process of organising a convoy of relief material to Albania, he remembered the Sikhi teaching of “Sarbat da Bhalla.”
He got in touch with the group and asked whether he could join them in delivering aid that was donated by the Sikhs, who had been kind and generous in offering food and money. Within 2 weeks, the entire group along with Ravi was on its way to Albania with two trucks and a van, which was loaded with relief material.
Thus, Khalsa Aid was born.
While the inspiration for the charitable works stems from core Sikh principles, their work is not restricted solely to the Sikh community. This made Khalsa Aid the first-ever international, cross-border humanitarian aid organisation based on the central teachings of Sikhism.
Since its inception in 1999, the organisation has been able to offer vital aid to millions of individuals across the globe: from tragic victims of the civil war in Yemen to refugees trying to reach the safe shores of Greece from Syria and other Middle East countries. Even the Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar, who were recently seeking refuge in Bangladesh, have benefitted from the organisation’s efforts.
Nearer home, their teams have immensely helped UK residents in coping with the devastating floods that ravaged Cumbria and the Southwest of England. In addition, they extended their support to families who managed to escape the tragic fire at London’s Grenfell Tower.
The work of this charitable organisation has been made possible due to generous contributions and donations by individuals as well as gurudwaras. It is a crucial part of Sikhi to be engaged in global “sewa” for the poor, underprivileged, and victims of natural disasters. The Wolverhampton Sikh community is praised by the organisation for their generous and wonderful support.
In October 2005, a team set out to visit the earthquake-affected regions in the North West Frontier Province in Pakistan. Abbotabad was their first stop, where the damage caused by the terrible earthquake to the buildings began to become visible. They drove on towards Mansehra, where they coordinated with local NGOs, who were active in offering relief to the victims promptly.
The unpaid volunteers of Khalsa Aid have helped to make it a renowned global relief agency, and the organisation thanks them for their dedicated and unconditional “sewa.”
The organisation still feels they have a long way to go, and through the support of generous human beings across the world, they can continue to provide help and assistance to the needy and deserving.
The charity’s sister organisation is called “Focus Punjab.”
Ravi Singh was presented the “International Sensation” Award at Darpan magazine’s “Extraordinary Achievement Awards,” held in 2017.
The accolade pays tribute to his achievements and accomplishments as an individual to enhance and improve lives on a global scale. Darpan magazine, which is a Canadian publication catering to the South-Asian community, also invited Ravi Singh as the Keynote Speaker and Guest of Honour at the event.
Ravi Singh said that the organisation has always put the ideology of “welfare for all” at the crux of everything it does, and it is this principle in Sikhi that serves as the driving force for the organisation and its volunteers.
He went on to say that organisations like Khalsa Aid exists because there is still a sincere and genuine will in human beings to do good. He added that what matters the most is that human beings are there for one another and to look after one another.