A faith-based services organization dedicated to the advancement of community service, social justice, pluralism, interfaith collaboration, and sustainable civic engagement, Hindu American Seva Charities (HASC) supports the development of healthy communities and grassroots social change. Established in 2009 as a nonpartisan nonprofit organization under President Obama’s Call to Serve, HASC draws upon a service partnership with the Corporation for National and Community Service and enjoys support from the White House Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. In practice, the HASC works to increase levels of service participation among members of the New American diaspora, fostering close relationships between Hindu and Dharmic people and the United States government while empowering local communities through various service initiatives. Here is a quick look at some of the most prominent community development programs sponsored by HASC.
Refugee Resettlement: Thanks to a series of strategic partnerships with organizations such as Catholic Charities and the Department of Human Services, HASC provides valuable assistance to members of the Bhutanese refugee community as they attempt to resettle in the United States. Because Bhutanese refugees possess a close affiliation with the culture and traditions of India and the Hindu faith, HASC considers it a moral obligation to help them escape interethnic conflict in Nepal and adjust to their new lives in the US. In particular, HASC works closely with refugees to help them adjust to the vastly different social and cultural norms, interact with local communities in meaningful ways, and ultimately empower them to become self-reliant.
Economic Growth: In today’s uncertain economic climate, HASC firmly believes that programs catering to the needs of the most vulnerable should receive the most protection from budget cuts. Through a faith-based service coalition known as the Interreligious Working Group on Domestic Human Needs, HASC and other like-minded organizations seek to establish a service delivery model based squarely on results, market trends, and a system of local control. HASC hopes that, by advocating for greater interfaith collaboration, it can make a lasting difference in the lives of those affected by chronic poverty in the United States.
Education: Throughout its network of seva centers in the United States, HASC stresses the importance of high quality education among all members of the diaspora. In particular, HASC is currently developing an educational module that includes ESL instruction and computer literacy workshops for people of all ages and after school mentoring and tutoring for children and young adults. In addition to helping children cultivate positive social skills, values, and identities by addressing key social and cultural issues, HASC also underscores the role of a postsecondary education in career development.
About the Author
Dr. Atul Prakash is an accomplished cardiologist and electrophysiologist with membership in the Royal College of Physicians in the U.K. Dr. Prakash has expressed considerable support for Hindu interfaith organizations throughout his life, serving as a leader of several voluntary organizations and organizing free health care delivery for those in need.