NEW DELHI, INDIA, January 14, 2014 (New Indian Express): Orange-robed monks of the Ramakrishna Mission, founded by Swami Vivekananda, in Fiji provide healthcare, education and spiritual guidance not just to those of Indian origin but anybody in need in the South Pacific archipelago nation. The Fiji branch of the Ramakrishna Mission, set up in 1937, was conferred the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman at the just-concluded diaspora meet.
The mission was honoured with the PBD Samman for community service and philanthropic activities and enhancing India's prestige abroad. It has actively participated in relief and rehabilitation efforts during floods and natural calamities in Fiji. Swami Tadananda, secretary of the Ramakrishna Mission at Nadi in Fiji, was in the capital to receive the award from President Pranab Mukherjee last week. "The award is in recognition for the services we have done," Swami Tadananda said.
The Ramakrishna Mission in Nadi, a major tourist town, is the headquarters of the nonprofit service organization in Fiji. It also runs a Swami Vivekananda College in Nadi, a Vivekananda Technical Centre in Nadi and a Ramakrishna Mission Primary School in Tailevu, one of the provinces of Fiji.
Around 38 percent of Fiji's population comprises people of Indian origin - those who are descendants of indentured labour who came to the country in the 19th century to work in the sugarcane fields or of immigrants who arrived in the 1920s and 1930s.
(HPI Adds: The Pravasi Bharatiya Samman (Overseas Indian Award) is an award constituted by the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs, Government of India in conjunction with the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (Non-resident Indian Day), to honor exceptional and meritorious contribution in their chosen field/profession. The award is given by the President of India.)