The following article is replicated from one of the national newspapers of Guyana. See here.
Essay competition tackling Guyana’s three main religions
– To bring out common good themes
By Telesha Ramnarine
THE Mahadeo Foundation, a local non-profit organisation providing charitable services to the people of Guyana, has embarked upon a mission to promote education and essay writing by launching a competition that embraces the country’s three main religions.
An essay competition was started this year with the first one embracing Hinduism, and the other two, to cover Islam and Christianity, will be held at different times in the year.
“It is hoped to bring out the common good themes of all religions, and the bonds that bind us together [rather than the differences],” Director Yog Mahadeo told the Pepperpot Magazine in an interview recently.
The topic for the first essay, “The ninth principle of the Arya Samaj” is instructive to the creation of a noble and cohesive society. The competition calls for an essay on the principle that says that no one should be content with their welfare but should realise that their welfare lies in the welfare of the rest of the society.
“We propagate the view that we are our brother’s keeper and if we make our neighbours, friends, and community happy, then we will, naturally, be happy,” Mahadeo expressed, adding, “The concept for this essay was derived from the works of the great Saint from India, Maharishi Swami Dayanand Saraswati who spent his life promoting the advancement of a world that is noble and in which we all care for each other.”
It is being done in collaboration with the Berbice Central Arya Samaj, the Rambrich Family of Bengal Village, Berbice, Inspire Inc. and Gifts by Reena LLC.
“The purpose of the essay competition is to promote education and essay writing while also embracing such noble concepts that can build everyone – whether they write an essay or read them. The underlying promotion of education cannot be overstated,” Mahadeo said, adding, “We hope to encourage our youths to read and write more on the topics of morality and natural laws. While this year the topic is as chosen, our next essay competition will be on other religious/social topics.”
The Mahadeo Foundation provides charitable services to Guyana and focuses on education and culture while assisting in providing care for the needy and children. The initiative arose from the social workaround that has been carried out in the country.
“Our Foundation has been conducting motivational workshops, community service, medical outreaches and other social works in many villages for the past five years. We work with our youths to raise awareness and to fight depression. Our activities include youth camps, tutelage, empowerment sessions, and of course, gift sharing,” Mahadeo explained.
During the period 2016 to 2018, the foundation hosted year-end giveaways for children in all three counties of Guyana, including at Sophia, Columbia (Essequibo Coast), Skeldon, and Canje. At these year-end events, over 500 children were catered for. The events included singing Christmas carols, sharing stories, playing games and ensuring that each child received a gift.
The medical outreaches have been focused on the elderly. “We provide free blood pressure testing, medical consultancy, some over-the-counter treatment and, even pamper them with manicures, pedicures and some therapeutic massages.”
The work of the foundation with youths has been aimed at starting a conversation that leads to open communication with parents, religious leaders and a team from the foundation who are available throughout the day to take calls and talk with anyone who needs to share their concerns, vent their frustration or seek advice.
The organisation has also on a yearly basis helped a few needy families with educational supplies for their children to attend school, either financially or with school bags and books.
Meanwhile, the winner of this essay competition can win $100,000. It is opened to anyone 25 years or younger.