by SS Satya Kaur Corfield, Espanola NM (with Davinder Singh and Harisimran Kaur)
Editor’s Note: The values of a Sikh Dharma Minister are beautifully reflected in the next generation as illustrated in the following article. This is the story of SS Satya Kaur’s youngest, Harisimran Kaur and her husband Davinder Singh, who are making a difference by serving the homeless of San Diego.”
David, a young gay man, arrived at Aero Drive Safe Parking Lot in San Diego quite destitute. He had just escaped sex trafficking a month prior, and had since been living on a diet of only bananas in order to extend his limited funds for as long as possible. Having just found out that there is a protected parking lot for homeless people living in their cars, he immediately relocated his nightly sleeping spot.
It was a Thursday, and Duwara Consciousness Foundation (DCF) was serving a menu of warm vegetarian burritos, summer salad, and huckleberry fro-yo. He grabbed a plate from the food trailer, and sat down to eat at the nearby picnic tables with his newfound neighbors, as they listened to soft jazz coming from the food trailer.
Dennis and April are an elderly African-American couple. Dennis served in Viet Nam, and returned from the war with few job skills. He works as a dishwasher, but finds that work is competitive. He manages 30 hours per week via a temp agency, making $14.50 per hour. Having had a few months of unemployment several years ago, Dennis and April were unable to make their rent, and now have an eviction recorded on their credit report.
Because lessors generally demand good credit, no evictions, and provable income of three times the monthly rent, Dennis and April are stuck paying for Motel 6 during the weekdays and sleeping in parks on the weekends when hotel rates rise. Their meal budget is a collective $7.00 per day. They now come to where DCF serves on Tuesday nights, and are guaranteed at least one good meal per week.
These are but a few examples of people who benefit from the food trailer operation, something that DCF founders Davinder Singh and Harisimran Kaur are working to expand upon. While meals alone do not resolve homelessness, they provide a sense of warmth and community in someone’s dark times. The husband and wife met in 2017 and have dedicated themselves to the cause. He sold his businesses and she left her career for this seva.
Passion for Seva
Davinder Singh was born and raised in the United Kingdom. With the expansion of his business, he moved to California in 2015. Upon arriving, he saw many people from all social strata suffering from depression, stress, anxiety, and drug abuse. So moved by this epidemic, Davinder decided to give up all his businesses and concentrate on his passion for seva (selfless service). Through this transition, he gained a broader vision of how to help the human community at large. In the summer of 2016, Duwara Consciousness Foundation was born.
Harisimran Kaur was born in Los Angeles to Satya Singh and SS Satya Kaur and has been blessed to live with the guidance of the Siri Singh Sahib, whose teachings have created in her a burning passion to make a difference in the lives of others. She has previously worked as a business executive, mainly focused on start-up ventures with rapid pace of growth, bringing new ideas to fruition. From her infancy, she was taught by Yogi Bhajan, about the basics of life and serving others. “Be the lighthouse to bring the ships home,” and “Be the forklift,” he would say. These ideals have inspired her passion for making a difference in the lives of others.
Building and Growing
The next stage for DCF is a shower bus, with seven showers and an industrial washer/dryer, which will serve up to 18,000 showers and 4,500 loads of laundry per year at full capacity. This will operate largely in conjunction with the food trailer.
Blueprints are currently being worked out, and this project is expected to go live in early 2020. Davinder and Harisimran are seeking the help of grants and donors to raise the additional $75,000 needed for completion.
By 2021, DCF plans to purchase a plot of land which will provide transitional housing for those needing an escape from homelessness or otherwise just needing to reset their lives.
Langar will be served daily. Yoga will be taught daily and both seva and yoga will be mandatory in exchange for stay. SuperHealth addiction treatment and mental health services will also be offered.
About the Author
SS Satya Kaur Corfield met the Siri Singh Sahib in March of 1970 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She says, “My journey has taken me in directions unseen in that other lifetime. Life with a family of three daughters and working as a teacher in the at-risk areas of the five states in which we lived, there was little time for more. However, with the passing of my husband, and my retirement, I felt the need to affirm my belief system by becoming a Minister of Sikh Dharma in 2017. All our children have pursued their paths, serving in ways that reflect the fast-pacing times we are living in.