Renovations to Sikh Society Temple help community grow
The Sikh Society of Manitoba’s Gurudwara, or temple, located at 1244 Mollard Road, is the central meeting place for the Sikh community in Winnipeg. For 20 years the building went without a renovation, but a recent overhaul has given it a new lease on life.
Thanks to membership fundraising and additional funding through ACU, the Sikh Society recently wrapped up renovations throughout the Gurudwara. Winnipeg’s Sikh community now has a new and improved place to gather, worship, learn from each other and teach children important traditions and languages.
Amritpal (Amrit) Gundhu, the organization’s treasurer, says a big reason for the renovations was to grow and develop the services the Sikh Society provides.
“It was long overdue,” Amrit says. She’s excited about facilities that are now better equipped to serve the local population, like the Khalsa School — an educational space for children focusing on language training and traditional knowledge — as well as the library and the boutique supplying imported Sikh goods.
The Sikh Society of Manitoba recently held their annual Nagar Kirtan near Manitoba’s Legislative Building. Over 20,000 people attended to celebrate the religious event.
ACU support was key to completing the renovation
The Sikh Society of Manitoba was founded in 1969, with periodical updates to the Gurudwara since. But the 20-year span before this most recent reno was one of the longest.
In 2019, at long last, the group was able to start the process of renovating, but COVID-19 interrupted those plans. Amrit says the support of ACU’s Community Financial Centre (CFC) was essential in overcoming pandemic-related challenges and completing the project earlier this year.
“We got a lot of help from ACU. They provided construction financing, and any time we needed help throughout the process, we asked ACU and they stepped in.”
As a financial professional herself, Amrit appreciates the level of service ACU provides the Sikh Society—particularly the CFC’s one-on-one account management and specialized services, including construction financing.
“They’ve always made time for me, whatever I need,” Amrit said. “The people at ACU believe in what we do, and I know our relationship is going to get even stronger as the CFC continues to help us.”
Encouraging the growth of Manitoba businesses
The CFC offers guidance to encourage the financial health of businesses in Manitoba. They provide a local, dedicated account manager to handle your services, going beyond lending money to offer the financial counselling many organizations need. This specialized attention made the Sikh’s Society partnership with ACU about more than mere financing, according to Amrit.
“Our relationship with ACU is strong because they go beyond collaborating with businesses. They reach out to individuals in Winnipeg with seminars on starting a business and financial education.”
More than just business partners
ACU recently contributed to the Sikh Society’s efforts to raise funds for the Children’s Hospital Foundation of Manitoba (CHFM). The CHFM has broad support from individuals, groups and businesses that, like the Sikh Sociaty and ACU, recognize its critical value to families from all socioeconomic groups and backgrounds — value that ripples out into communities across the entire province. So far, the Sikh Society’s efforts have raised over $51,000 for the CHFM.
“We wanted to help the CHFM with their new ER,” explains Amrit. “It’s what we try to teach in our school: serve the community wherever it’s needed. Wherever you are needed, move forward and help.”
The Sikh Society has a long history of helping in Winnipeg and Manitoba. Alongside its religious teachings and fundraising efforts, the society also serves the community with food and other forms of aid.
Alongside Amrit, the Sikh Society of Manitoba’s Board works tirelessly to run the Sikh Society of Manitoba. The Board is composed of:
- Gurmit Singh, President;
- Jujar Singh, Vice President;
- Charanjit Singh, Secretary;
- Amarjit Singh Bedi, Joint Treasurer;
- Palwinder Singh;
- Devinder Singh;
- Amrik Singh;
- Sarabjit Grewal;
- Amandeep Kaur;
- Paramjit Singh.
According to Amrit, being a Sikh is mostly about helping others.
“There are many teachings in the Guru Granth Sahib about succeeding as a humanitarian first and as a professional second. Work hard, earn your living in an honest way, be truthful, and help where you can. A natural disaster occurs, we help. Where people need food, we help. Where there’s a need, we step in.”
And with today’s challenging financial times, Amrit says it’s even more important to teach sharing.
“In an era of COVID and tough financial times, you have to build community and be ready to help. That is the main reason for the Sikh Society.”
Introduce yourself to the Sikh Society of Manitoba
Open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day, the newly renovated Gurudwara stands open to all. Every weekend, the temple even provides free food to all those who ask.
“I want people to come and visit,” Amrit said. “We make time for everybody.”
Check out the Sikh Society of Manitoba’s Gurudwara at 1244 Mollard Rd. to see the renovations for yourself.
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