Hindu Americans Add Their Own Flavor to ONE Campaign

November 7, 2008 (Washington, DC) - In the aftermath of Election Day and through the beginning of the next presidential administration, the ONE Campaign is mobilizing faith communities across America to speak out and take global action in the struggle against poverty and disease. According to its website, the ONE Campaign is a non-partisan, secular effort comprised of over 2.4 million people and over 100 of America's most well-known and respected non-profit, advocacy and humanitarian organizations. The campaign encourages faith communities and individual believers to serve as advocates in the effort to highlight the connection between poverty and deaths from preventable and treatable diseases. 

The Hindu American Foundation (HAF) becomes the first Hindu non-profit to join the ONE Campaign this month. A national effort, called ONE Sabbath, seeks to give local congregations and believers opportunities to respond to AIDS, malaria, lack of clean water and children out of school. Organizers report that this effort also informs congregations about the proven solutions that can save lives and transform impoverished communities.

For the first time, in addition to the Jewish, Christian and Muslims congregations in ONE Sabbath and ONE Sadaqua respectively, the ONE Campaign will feature ONE Seva for the Hindu community. A coordinated effort of HAF, and Hinduism scholar Professor Jeffery Long, Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania, ONE Seva provides a guide to Hindu temples, community centers and individuals on activities and ways in which they can participate in order to raise awareness about global poverty and disease. Replete with quotes from scriptures, and constructive ways to become involved, this effort becomes the first to include America's 2 million plus Hindu community to join in this national effort.

"Dana (charity) and Seva (service) are an integral part of Hinduism and are one of the 10 Niyamas (observances) Hindus must follow," said Ishani Chowdhury, HAF's Director of Public Policy. "It is a reminder that we must look beyond ourselves and work for the benefit of all. We must come out and work as one community, crossing religious and cultural boundaries, and raise a voice for those who do not have the opportunity to do so."

Chowdhury is featured as the only Hindu representative in a video created by the ONE Campaign featuring faith leaders, organizations and individuals working in the united ONE Sabbath initiative. Running from September 2008 through first 100 days of the next administration, the ONE Seva season coincides with the height of the 2008 election, the start of the 111th Congress and the inauguration of the next U.S. President. In tandem with ONE’s 2008 election initiative, ONE Vote ’08, ONE Seva aims to raise awareness among voters and elected representatives about the opportunities to implement proven, affordable solutions to reach the campaign's goals.

With ONE Seva joining the ONE Sabbath campaign, HAF leaders have been reaching out to temples and Hindu spiritual centers throughout the United States to encourage their participation in local community service activities under the ONE Seva banner. "Service to the community is already an integral part of many temple's outreach efforts," says Chowdhury, "the goal now is to bring these services under the ONE Seva banner to add momentum to the campaign's goals." 

"As Hindu temples and community service organizations add their voice to the ONE Campaign, and become part of an international movement supported by the Gates Foundation among other non-profits, it is our fervent hope that this collective aspiration to overcome global poverty and disease will be realized in our generation." Chowdhury added.

The ONE Campaign is a global advocacy organization uniting millions of people to press government leaders to fight extreme poverty and preventable disease around the world. For more information, visit www.one.org/onesabbath

ONE Sabbath Multifaith Video can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EwT5cE00GJY.