SATURDAY, May 24 marked the 5th annual fundraiser hosted by Akal Academy Surrey in conjunction with the the Kalgidhar Society. Although this has become an annual event, this year’s gala had a different feeling which was palpable. The 2014 fundraiser was dedicated to collect proceeds for the Akal University Guru Ki Kashi that is currently under construction at Damdama Sahib, Talwandi Sabo Bathinda Punjab.
The announcement of the new project created a stir throughout the evening as gala attendees shared their excitement which was not just limited to those attending the gala as the program was telecast live throughout the province by PTC television.
The evening was graced by Baba Iqbal Singh Ji, President of the Kalgidhar Society Baru Sahib. Baba ji shared the vision for the new project and personally appealed to everyone for their kind contributions. He explained to the gala the importance of the new Akal University and how this university will spread the universal message of brotherhood of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. “Education is the cornerstone of our ability to develop an affluent society,” he pointed out and added: “With God’s grace, our children will have the opportunity to receive an education and pass that gift on for generations to come.”
Dr. Khem Singh Gill, former vice chancellor who is Chairman of the Akal Academies wing of the Kalgidhar Society, emphasized the need of value-based education which is being provided by a chain of 129 Akal Academies that provide education to over 60,000 children in northern India.
Ravinderpal Singh from the Delhi chapter of Baru Sahib gave a moving slide show presentation on the conditions of Punjab today. He offered a detailed presentation with statistics that highlighted the need for the new university project.
Dr Pargat Singh Bhurji read the official messages from Premier Christy Clark and Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts. Bhurji said: “The work that the Kalgidhar Society has done to date has been nothing short of remarkable. In a time where humans seem to only serve for themselves, the Society has take significant step after step to better humanity.”
Ravideep Kaur Mukta from Dallas, Texas, shared her story. She related the sad yet inspiring details of how Akal Academy helped her by providing a free education after she lost her father in her early childhood.
Prof. Gurvinder Singh Dhaliwal, President of the Punjabi Press Club in B.C., shared the contributions of Principal Sant Teja Singh ji to Canadian Sikhs.
Kiran Kaur Saluja, President of Akal Academy Surrey, updated everyone on the accomplishments of his academy and the services it has been providing to local Sikh youth for the past seven years.. Other guest speakers included Simran Kaur from the U.S., Anju Kaur Chawla from Florida, Rana Singh Sethi and Navneet Kaur Johal.
Avtar Singh Gill, event organiser, thanked the media, the sangat and specially the donors for their support in this noble cause.
Khalsa Diwan Society New Westminster presented a plaque to Baba Iqbal Singh ji for his lifelong service to the humanity. Jai Tegh Singh Anant recited the citation.
Bhai Sarwan Singh ji was recognized as an ambassador of the Sikh Faith for his Guinness Book of World Records’ record for the longest beard. He has not only been blessed with his beard, but he has been able to use his gift as a tool to enlighten the world about Sikhism. Sukhninder Singh Sangha, IT professional from Surrey, was also recognized for founding Guru Nanak’s Free Kitchen, a soup kitchen program run weekly for the homeless in the east side of Downtown Vancouver. Sangha and his team of volunteers have taken the Sikh tenant of langar and sharing to those who most need it.