Dharm Shala celebrates 100 years of existence
“We are indebted to the older generation” was the charge from the Finance Minister, Dr. Ashni Singh, on Friday as the Dharm Shala rang in 100 years of benevolent service in Guyana.
Said to be the longest existing humanitarian charity in Guyana, and possibly the Caribbean, the Dharm Shala marked the momentous occasion with a thanksgiving ceremony at its Sussex Street, Albouystown, Georgetown location, where Dr Singh joined with the Ramsaroop sisters, Kella and Pamela, to celebrate.
Dr Singh heaped praised on the Ramsaroops who have ably filled the vacuum left following the death of their father, Harry Saran Ramsaroop in 2013; the late Ramsaroop took up the mantle of leadership after his father, founder of the Dharm Shala, Pandit Ramsaroop Maraj died in 1950.
“We have seen the Dharm Shala continuously provide an invaluable service to an extremely important constituency in our landscape, our senior citizens who have served Guyana so well in so many different capacities.
“I wish to salute on behalf of the President and the entire government, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary the founder, his son and his family who have served this institution and the country so selflessly,” Dr Singh told the gathering.
The “remarkable” contributions made by Guyana’s elderly population should always be recognised, Dr Singh said, adding that the government played their part by making better provisions in Budget 2021.
This includes a pension increase from $20,500 to $25,000 and an increase in public assistance payment from $9,000 to $12,000.
The Dharm Shala was officially declared open in 1929 by Rev C. Andrews, who was an admirer of Mahatma Gandhi. In 1939, a Christian chapel for services to be conducted was built, and in 1941, the Dharm Shala extended its service to Berbice, with a building of similar capacity to its Georgetown counterpart, a Hindu temple and a chapel.