Donation for Maha Shivaratri 2015

It is with great pleasure that YUVA (Youth United in Voluntary Action) wishes to announce that it will be conducting free food distribution on a full-time basis on the 13th and 14th of February at Grand Bassin on the occasion of Maha Shivaratree.

We request Mauritians to donate (in-kind or cash) and/or help (as a volunteer) our non-religious, non-profit organisation to make this initiative a success. By contributing to this programme, you feel strongly about as a donor/volunteer and engaging creatively with the shape, form and impact of the project. You ensure that a generation of young people never looks back on the possibilities of how they can create positive change and unity.

For further information on how you can donate and/or help, call on 59067000.

This year Maha Shivaratri is on 17 February. Maha Shivaratri is celebrated in a wide variety of ways in different countries where Hinduism is practised, but all are concerned with marking the marriage of Lord Shiva to Parvati. It is a very important Hindu festival and it is suggested that some 300,000 pilgrims celebrate Maha Shivaratri in Mauritius. It involves fasting, praying and making offerings to Lord Shiva and can start up to a month before the actual day.

In Mauritius, all Hindus are also required to walk to the lake at Grand Bassin, called Ganga Talao (or Lake Ganges). Depending on where they live, pilgrims will start walking to Grand Bassin several days before. They are usually dressed in white and may carry a kanwar, a bamboo frame decorated with flowers, bells, statues, etc, varying in size from small personal ones to large ones (from temples) on wheels, pulled along by a number of young men. Once they get to Ganga Talao the pilgrims say prayers and make offerings of food to Shiva, and the other gods represented there. After they have finished at Grand Bassin, the pilgrims return home and may spend the night at the temple making offerings and saying prayers (puja).

The crater lake at Grand Bassin was discovered in 1897 by Pandit Gosain Naipual, a priest from Terre Rouge. He dreamt that a holy lake existed in Mauritius and set out to find it, which he did soon after. As people began to find out about the lake, pilgrims started to walk there as part of their celebration for Maha Shivaratri. Much more recently, holy water from the Ganges was brought to Mauritius and was poured into the lake, making it even more sacred. At this festival, the pilgrims take sacred water from the lake back to the house or temple to pour it over a symbolic statue of Shiva (the Lingum).

Exchange Between YUVA and NCVO in London

It is with great pleasure that YUVA (Youth United in Voluntary Action) announces its first international exchange with the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) of UK.

Krishna Athal, chairman and national president of YUVA, and Deepak Kumar Jeetah, YUVA District President of Flacq, would be travelling to London where talks would begin on 23rd February at NCVO’s headquarters in the King’s Cross, London area at Society Building, All Saints Street, London.

Discussions between YUVA and NCVO would include sustainable change and youth empowerment strategies. Furthermore, YUVA would be looking for partnership opportunities with NCVO to enhance its operational policies.

“The aim of this meeting with the NCVO is to exchange ideas about youth development, and see how both organisations can collaborate in the near future. YUVA aims to deliver the highest quality performance in everything it does. Through creativity and innovation we seek to continuously improve. Therefore, we invest a lot on research and international collaborations so as to update our development strategies in Mauritius. Thinking global and acting local are the demand of the hour,” said Krishna Athal.

About NCVO

The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) is the umbrella body for the voluntary and community sector in England. NCVO works to support the voluntary and community sector and to create an environment in which an independent civil society can flourish. NCVO has a membership of over 10,000 voluntary organisations. These range from large national bodies to community groups, volunteer centres, and development agencies working at a local level.

NCVO represents the views of its members, and the wider voluntary sector to government, the European Union and other bodies. It carries out research into, and analysis of, the voluntary and community sector. It campaigns on issues affecting the whole of the voluntary and community sector, such as the role of voluntary and community organisations in public service delivery and the future of local government. It provides information, advice and support to other organisations and individuals working in or with the voluntary and community sector. Many now well-established voluntary organisations started out as projects within NCVO, including Age Concern, Citizens Advice, the Charities Aid Foundation, the Black Environment Network, the Youth Hostel Association and the National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs.

NCVO started in 1919 as the National Council of Social Services (NCSS). NCSS was established in order to bring various voluntary bodies together and into closer relationships with government departments. Its foundation was made possible through a legacy from Edward Vivian Birchall, who had played a large part in the emergent voluntary sector before he was killed, aged 32, in France during the First World War.

On 1 April 1980, just over 60 years since its foundation, the National Council for Social Service became the National Council for Voluntary Organisations.

On 1 January 2013 NCVO merged with Volunteering England.