SAFA’s activities for 2018

Women’s Empowerment:

Year started with continuous of Women’s Empowerment series. Dealing with loss. This included a presentation on financial planning for women after experiencing separation or death of partner. This was followed up with Mental Health Awareness where issues related to mental health issues and the need to raise awareness. Final workshop was empowering women through laughter and food.

Youth Empowerment:

March school break, sports camps were hosted in partnership with Sikh Academy. There was a soccer camp for one week and then basketball for a week. Both soccer and basketball, were open to all community and both girls and boys. 50 kids in each session total 200.

Following the sports camps, another initiative was undertaken to address an issue. A Youth Empowerment Forum was held on Thursday, June 14th at Surrey City Hall Surrey, BC


With the recent news of more homicides in Surrey, residents and local community organizations are coming together for a forum to discuss youth gangs, drugs and violence.
 On Monday June 4th just after 10:30 p.m., Integrated Homicide Investigation Team confirmed two Surrey teenagers were dead, following a late-night shooting in South Surrey in the neighbourhood of 192 Street and 40 Avenue. Police believe this is a targeted shooting. These two young men were high school students who were not known to police.
 Every time this type of incident occurs, everyone including community members, the police as well as the media start to highlight the need to address the issue of gang violence. In particular the leaders in Surrey and other areas have attempted to address the gang violence that is taking place on the streets of Surrey. However, despite exploring means to put an end to this issue, it doesn't appear to be going away. There are many organizations that have been working hard to address this issue. Perhaps, it is time for all of us to collaborate with each other and come up with solutions such as making parents aware of what to watch out for. What are some signs that may indicate that a person is involved in drugs and gangs? There are so many leaders in South Asian and mainstream community who can be the role model or
facilitator for mobilizing the community to address this need.
 On Thursday, June 14th from 6pm to 9pm, SAFA is inviting the community to attend the Youth Empowerment Form at Surrey City Hall. The keynote speakers are Theresa Campbell from Safer Schools Together and Andrew Bacchus from Ministry of Ontario Child and Youth Services. Andrew is considered to be a national gang expert. The purpose of this forum is to find out which strategies other school districts, cities and provinces are implementing to manage these issues within the community.

Summer youth camps in partnership with Moberly Arts and Cultural Centre were hosted for 6 weeks where 20 students each week benefited from various workshops and outings.

Bollywood Under The Stars

2018 Bollywood UnderThe Stars (Buts) took place on Aug 10th from 6 to 10 PM at Newton Athletic Park Surrey. The movie blockbuster hit “3 Idiots” a coming of age comedy drama which featured Aamir Khan was the chosen movie this year. This is a family movie with a powerful message that had social impact on attitudes towards education in India. It was felt that this movie fits well with SAFA’s objectives where we try and raise awareness about various social issues through creative ways.

On site that night, there was a food truck for the attendees to purchase food from. In addition, there were others invited guests and sponsors were present. For example, BCAA as our title sponsor and Telus a vendor and 3 non-profit organization booths: SIDS, Canadian Cancer Society, Namasta Diabetes and volunteers from Guru Nanak Free Kitchen. These organizations were on site to provide information on various social issues for people in attendance. For entertainment, there was one cultural performance prior to start of the movie. This was done by the Learning Stars Arts Academy and gidha (folk dance from Punjab) was performed by young girls. This was very colourful and enjoyed by all. Newton Athletic Park has a water park as well as playing field. So, there was ready made audience. There were at least 250 people sitting and enjoying the movie and about 100 stayed until the end. Throughout the evening approx. 400 people had attended the event. It was heartwarming to receive positive feedback from people about how they enjoyed the experience and how it should be done more often. Overall, SAFA was satisfied with the outcome.

India Live 2018

City of Vancouver encourages different community to share their cultural heritage through festival and provide small financial support to make it possible. For South Asian community, India Live is one of the biggest such festival in the heart of Vancouver. India live an annual festival highlights and showcases the South Asian performing art and music and also invite some of the other cultures to showcase their art.

2018 INDIA LIVE festival took place on Saturday, August 25th on Granville Street in downtown Vancouver. It started at 12pm and wrapped up at 7pm. This event was FREE for the public and utilizes music, song, dance and visual arts to highlight Vancouver's intercultural community. There is also a vibrant vendor marketplace that features cultural wares, clothing, gifts and delicious snacks. There was a letter was sent to all the residents of downtown Vancouver to make them aware of this festival and to invite everyone to come join SAFA's annual celebration of art, culture and history in downtown Vancouver. The festival is open to all ages and backgrounds and attendance is free of charge!

Some very popular activates that were enjoyed by many people were: communal Ragoli. SAFA provided the coloured rice and demonstrated by designing a ragoli and then people created their own. It was nice to see all ages attempting to create their own special ragoli. Another activity was the roti making competition. Men, women and children had lots of fun trying to make a perfectly round roti in limited time. There were prizes awarded for the best roti. One other activity was the kara race. Participants were given a brass pot full of water which they had to balance on their heads as the run.  Again, the first person to cross the finish line was given a prize. This year we had millstream atta give us prizes for the roti making and SAFA members had donated the prizes for kara race. SAFA invites the Sikh riders of Canada to assist in raising cultural awareness by supplying turban material and the volunteers from this organization, tie turbans on anyone who wants it. It is so nice to see people of all races, gender and age, walking around with a colourful turbans.

As far as the entertainment was concerned, we had variety such as bhangra, Bollywood dance, belly dancing, hip hop, classical, Latin, Japanese drums, break dancing and garba dance. Several of the groups dropped out due to bad weather. The headliner this year was Mickey Singh. He was a big hit and he was extremely engaging, which the audience loved. 

SAFA have done this festival for 15 years and this was the first time, it rained. The rain interfered with many of the performances. As the stage was wet due to rain, it was deemed dangerous for performances. Therefore, many of the groups performed on the ground rather the stage. Once the rain stopped at about 4 PM then the stage was used. It was unfortunate that the weather was bad as many of the workshops such as the yoga, gathka and cricket had to be cancelled as it would been dangerous for the people participating in these activities.