For close to one hundred years the Dharm Shala has been providing assistance to the poor and needy and giving many a permanent place to rest their heads and call home and as the Christmas season comes around the humanitarian organisation is once again appealing to the hearts of Guyanese for financial support to continue its work.
Well-known as the ‘Home of Benevolence for all races’ and founded by Pandit Ramsaroop Maraj, the Dharm Shala at this time of the year holds the traditional Christmas luncheon for the poor on Christmas Day, and a Christmas party for deprived children during the month of December.
In a release, Managing Head of the organisation Kella Ramsaroop explained that the institution relies totally on funding from businesses, individuals and the general public to manage its nine buildings, located in Georgetown and Fort Canje, Berbice, and deliver proper care to the residents on a daily basis.
It was revealed that utility costs (electricity and water) have depleted a large portion of the establishment’s carefully accumulated reserve funds.
The late Harry Saran Ramsaroop continued the work of his father Pandit Ramsaroop who started the Dharm Shala in 1921 with the aim to feed, house, clothe and to look after the social, religious and medical needs of the needy.
A citation on a plaque displayed in the pristine Victorian white wooden house located on King Edward Street, Albouystown, which is opposite the Dharm Shala home, states that Pandit Ramsaroop, “sacrificed his life for the destitute, maimed and poor of all races.” The pandit was a jeweler, according to his granddaughter, and he used his money to start the Dharm Shala. At first it was a soup kitchen and later a kindergarten school and temple at the Albouystown location. The school building is still there and the Ramsaroops hope that one day that it will be re-opened; it was closed by the then government in the 1970s.
Donations can be sent to the Treasurer, Secretary, Assistant Secretary, President or Vice President, c/o Dharm Shala, 140 King Edward Street, Albouystown. Alternatively, they could be sent to Mr Edward Boyer, c/o National Hardware (Guyana) Ltd, Water Street, Georgetown.