A Visit to the Brighton Volunteer Fair

Lisa Rosetti, a Management Consultant and UK resident, filed this report from the June 18th event with Prem Rawat held in Brighton.

The 17th of June was yet another wet day in Brighton, England’s famous Regency seaside resort. The wind whipped the sea into white “horses,” and the sky was overcast.  Tourists and townsfolk battled their way along the promenade, hanging on to coats and umbrellas.

But my visit to Brighton was not going to be spoiled by a drop or two of rain. June 17th marked the fortieth anniversary of Prem Rawat’s first visit to the UK. I first heard him speak in London in the autumn of 1971, and his message and inspiration are interwoven through most of my adult life like a bright thread. I was looking forward to attending the Anniversary Event.

I battled my way down the Promenade towards the Brighton Conference Centre where the event was to be held. Inside, the lobby was crowded and upbeat. The over 4,200 attendees were beginning to stream in. Excitement was in the air.

I had heard that a Global Participation Fair would be part of the event. Words of Peace Global (WOPG) and The Prem Rawat Foundation (TPRF) both had stands at the Fair, and I was keen to find out more.

The Fair Manager told me that the Fair was designed to present volunteering opportunities in a fresh and vibrant way. Visitors could choose from over 200 opportunities in a relaxed atmosphere. Somehow, in the midst of the busy Conference Centre, an oasis of calm had been created.

Across the room, I spotted a sign “The Prem Rawat Foundation” and threaded my way through the crowds.  Tables had been set up surrounded by comfortable chairs.  Little dishes of sweets and flowers added a welcoming touch.

I sat down to read through project folders full of articles and photographs, illustrating the Foundation’s current work: the Peace Education Program, Food for People, and humanitarian aid initiatives. For me personally, reading about the Food for People project in Otinibi, Ghana was very exciting, as I spent my early childhood living in nearby Accra.

A number of guest speakers from the Foundation had been invited, and throughout the day they gave informal presentations about the Foundation’s work, explaining the wealth of ways that people could participate. It was clear that listeners were very much inspired and engaged, and thirsty for information.

One man was so moved by one of the presentations that he offered his help on the spot. “I’ll go anywhere and learn any skills you need,” he said.

Linda Pascotto, President of TPRF, explained that this is the 10th year that the Foundation has been active, and its work is constantly evolving, tapping into “People Power.”

As I left the Fair to find my seat in the auditorium, I paused to read some of the many touching comments in the Visitor’s Book. This one really caught my eye:

“TPRF is a beautiful beacon of light in a dark world. I love the projects and the way they are done, enhancing and promoting the dignity of human beings all over the world – Cheers!  And let’s keep giving.” (MO, UK)

The Brighton (UK) Global Participation Fair

 

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