News and Events

Record GCSE & A Level Results at The Swaminarayan School
Monday 2 September 2013

The Swaminarayan School in London has a longstanding record of exceptional GCSE and A Level results and the 2013 sitting continued to post above-average results for both stages. 

At the GCSE level, the A*-A tier this year was 65% – the highest ever recorded at the School, while 92% scored between an A* and B – a significant rise from the previous year. The School has ranked amongst the best performing schools, being one of only 113 secondary schools from 4,000 at the GCSE level in England to achieve a perfect 100% score of 5 or more A*-C passes at GCSE, including English and Mathematics. 

Among the top-achievers were Mayur Patel who scored 11 A*s and 2 As, Nishta Parekh who received 10 A*s and a further 3 As, Kavni Jhalla and Harshil Patel both with 9 A*s and 4 As, and over 20 more students with at least 10 A*-A grades. Students at the School have consistently been awarded the prestigious ISA Whitbread Award for best GCSE results. 

At A Level the percentage of A*-A grades was 37%, with 99% of the pupils achieving a pass grade. The best performing student was Sachin Shah, who was awarded 2 A*s and 2 As, and will read Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Warwick University. Pooja Shah achieved 1 A* and 3 As, and will study medicine at UCL; Shaneil Patel achieved 1 A* and 3 As, and will be reading Engineering at Imperial; and Virang Kumar achieved 1 A* and 2 As, and will begin his study in dentistry at Liverpool University. 

The GCSE results overall were an improvement on the previous year in the various classifications detailed below. 

GCSE Results

Grade

Percentage

A*-A 

65%

A*-B

92%

A*-C

98%

5 or more A*-C

100%

 

A Level Results

Grade

Percentage

A*-A

37%

A*-B

65%

A*-C

83%

 

The head teacher, Nilesh Manani, said: “I am very proud of the students because they have worked extremely hard to deliver an exceptional standard during a difficult transition year when so many changes are occurring in the way they are examined, admirably supported by the staff of the school, governors and devoted parents.”

£20,000 cheque presented to KIDS
Saturday 31 August 2013

BAPS Charities UK presented a cheque for £20,000 to KIDS at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London on Saturday 31 August 2013. This followed from the funds raised by more than 3,000 participants from across the UK during the BAPS Charities Annual 10K Challenge in April of this year.

Chris Stefani (Treasurer and Trustee) and Warren Koehler (London Director) had arrived to receive the cheque on behalf of KIDS – one of the leading charities in the UK for disabled children.

 In his address, Mr Stefani said, “We are most grateful to BAPS Charities for this fantastic sum of money. It will go a long way in helping us help children with disabilities and their families.” 

The funds will help to support a number of projects and initiatives for the charity, including:

  • Drop-in sessions for children with disabilities and their families from the local community to raise awareness about services available, including healthcare, social services, benefits and will support agencies, education and care packages
  • Home learning (portage) services for very young disabled children
  • Development of specialist nurseries and crèches
  • Development of adventure playgrounds for children with disabilities, such as Aldenham Park in Hertfordshire
  • Support services for parents of children with disabilities

Dr Sejal Saglani, a lead volunteer for BAPS Charities, shared, “Children are very important to BAPS Charities and we are very pleased to be able to help children who are so sadly disadvantaged. We hope that the funds will help bring some joy to them and make a real difference in their lives.”

To read a full report of the Annual 10K Challenge, please click here.

To learn more about the great work of KIDS, please visit www.kids.org.uk.

Disclaimer: BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

18th Anniversary Celebrations
Saturday 31 August 2013

BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London (popularly recognised as the ‘Neasden Temple’) has provided worshippers, visitors and local residents an important sense of spirituality, community, peace and inspiration since its opening in August 1995. This spirit of reverence and service to society was celebrated on Saturday 31 August 2013 with the ‘patotsav’, a traditional ceremony marking the anniversary of the Mandir’s opening and the day its murtis (sacred images) were first infused with the divine presence of the deities.

 The day began with the ritual bathing of the murtis, which was conducted by senior sadhus visiting from India and America as well as by the resident sadhus of London. A variety of sweet and savoury dishes were also artistically arranged before the deities in the main shrines as an offering of thanksgiving. This was followed by the mahapuja, a ritual prayer drawing mantras from ancient Hindu scriptures, praising God and asking for peace, forgiveness and well-being. 

The evening programme began with the singing of devotional songs extolling the glory of a mandir as God’s home. Speeches by Gnanpriya Swami (Head Sadhu of BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Kolkata, India) and Satyavrat Swami (London) elucidated upon of the need of a mandir in society and the positive impact the Mandir has had in the lives of individuals and families as well as on the broader community over the 18 years.

 A short video reliving the opening ceremony in the presence of His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj was then shown, bringing back treasured memories from 1995. 

The evening also saw a special cheque presentation to KIDS Charity, for funds raised during the BAPS Charities Annual Challenge in April 2013. 

The programme culminated with the keynote address of Ghanshyamcharan Swami (Head sadhu of BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Surat, India). He included several inspiring incidents from the life of Pramukh Swami Maharaj, paying particular emphasis on the spirit of devotion that the Mandir has been able to foster.

Outstanding Results Again for GCSE and A Level Hinduism Students
Saturday 31 August 2013

Young students at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir have achieved another outstanding set of results for their GCSE in Hinduism.

The Edexcel-accredited course, running at the Mandir since 2008, comprises two units – Unit 13 on key theories within Hinduism, and Unit 6 on the application and practise of Hinduism today. Most students have completed the two-year course in one year, making this year’s results even more remarkable.

For the academic year of 2012/13, the BAPS Swaminarayan School’s cohort once again ensured a 100% success rate in the GCSE as well as at the higher A Level.

A Level Hinduism courses have been running for the past four years and many former pupils have turned to helping teach the course themselves. Many of the results below are the direct result of ‘former-pupil-turned-assistant-teacher’ efforts.

This year, the Religious Studies course had over 20,000 students sitting the exam across the country, with only 11% achieving an A* grade. In comparison, 77% of students of the BAPS Swaminarayan School secured an A* [Source: Joint Council for Qualifications].

 Grade

GCSE

AS Level

A2 Level

A*

17

1

A

2

3

1

B

2

3

2

C

1

1

0

D

0

0

0

Total

22

7

4

Hemchandra Dodhia, one of the lead BAPS volunteers facilitating the courses, remarked: “Another exceptional set of results may make it seem like the exam is easy, but I must stress its difficulty, as well as the fact that the students are sitting the exam two years before they would in their day schools. We really must congratulate all the students on their achievements and say a big thank you to all the parents for their loving support and to the dedicated team of teachers who have made it all possible.”

Special commendations should be noted for Bhavisa Patel, Radhika Patel, Preena Patel, Murti Patel, Puja-Arti Patel, Priyanka Oza, Priyanka Patel, Krishma Pujara, Darshana Patel, Karan Patel and Vatsal Patel who achieved 100% in the GCSE, and Nikita Odedra who achieved 100% in the A Level.

Disclaimer: BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

Janmashtami Celebrations
Wednesday 28 August 2013

The festival of Janmashtami, marking the birth of Shri Krishna Bhagwan, takes place during the holy month of Shravan – considered to be one of the holiest months in the Hindu calendar. The occasion was celebrated with great piety at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London on Wednesday 28 August 2013. 

The day began with a ceremonial offering of food to the deities in the Mandir, where visitors and devotees arrived throughout the day to pray and offer their respects, and to swing the sacred image of Shri Krishna in the birth cradle. 

The life and messages of Shri Krishna were elucidated in an enlightening programme held in the assembly hall in the evening. The programme began with the singing of devotional songs extolling the prominence of Shri Krishna. 

Sadhus, visiting the UK from India, imparted the key teachings of Shri Krishna and elaborated upon the various aspects of his life – from his childhood episodes through to the personality and virtues exhibited in the Mahabharat.  

The finale of the evening – marking the divine birth of Shri Krishna – was celebrated with the arti followed by the swinging of the cradle accompanied with vibrant and devotional singing.

Krishna Janmashtami
Tuesday 15 August 2017

Shri Krishna is an avatar of Vishnu and a popular deity for Hindus around the world. He manifested on earth thousands of years ago on the Hindu calendrical day of Shravan vad 8. This year, that day falls on Tuesday 15 August. It will be celebrated at the Mandir with a host of devotional festivities, including a ceremonial offering of food (the ‘annakut’), singing, chanting, and an arti signifying the auspicious birth.

Hindola Utsav (Swing Festival)
Wednesday 24 July to Thursday 22 August 2013

In the Hindu devotional tradition, the month from Ashadh vad 2 to Shravan vad 2 of the Indian calendar is celebrated as the Hindola Utsav, or ‘Swing Festival’. Decorated swings of various shapes and forms are created in which an image of God is lovingly rocked by the devotees.

Placing God on the swing is symbolic of instilling him in one’s heart, while the gentle pulling of the swing symbolises the aspirant’s efforts of drawing closer to him through love and obedience.

This year, the Swing Festival ran from 24 July to 22 August 2013.

Like every year at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in London – and as at all Swaminarayan mandirs worldwide – volunteers devoutly created swings using various materials and based on a variety of themes. The gallery above shows a selection of this year’s swings . The themes/materials included:

  • Garden
  • Fresh Flowers
  • Peacock
  • Dry Fruits
  • Fish Art
  • Fruits
  • Mogra Flower
  • Rakhdi
Rath Yatra Celebrations
Saturday 13 July 2013

Every year around July, Hindus celebrate the Rath Yatra festival with great artistry and devotion. (‘Rath’ means chariot, and ‘Yatra’ means pilgrimage or procession.) This ‘Festival of Chariots’ marks the ritual procession of the sacred images at Puri in Orissa, India from the Jagannath Mandir to the nearby Gundicha Mandir. It was also celebrated at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London on Saturday 13 July 2013.

A beautifully decorated chariot with the sacred image of Bhagwan Swaminarayan had been artistically prepared. Following a short traditional Vedic ceremony, the chariot was ceremoniously pulled by hand around the Mandir complex to the singing of devotional songs by sadhus and devotees.

After circling the Mandir five times, the devotees ended the festival with a devotional dance.

The celebrations invoked cherished memories of the Rath Yatra celebrations held at the Mandir and around the city of London in the presence of His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj in 2004.

Vatican’s Interfaith Head Visits for Hindu-Christian Seminar on Compassion
Thursday 13 June 2013

Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, the President of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, visited BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London on Thursday 13 June 2013. 

As Protodeacon of the Roman Catholic Church, the Cardinal announced the appointment of the new pope from the balcony of St Peter’s Basilica earlier this year. 

Cardinal Tauran was accompanied by a number of high-ranking Catholic clergymen, including Kevin McDonald (Archbishop Emeritus of Southwark and current Chairman of the Episcopal Office for Relations with Other Religions in England and Wales), Patrick Kelly (Archbishop Emeritus of Liverpool), Paul Hendricks (Bishop of Southwark), Monsignor Peter Fleetwood (Diocese of Salford), Santiago Michael (Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, Vatican), Martin Ganeri (Prior of Blackfriars, Cambridge), and several local Catholic leaders and officers, as well as Katharina Smith-Muller (Interreligious Advisor for the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of England and Wales). 

After being accorded a traditional Hindu welcome at the main steps of the Mandir, the Cardinal and Catholic group were given a guided tour of the Hindu place of worship. 

Along the way, the Cardinal noted the many points of convergence between the two faiths and monastic orders, and appreciated the heartfelt worship that was a focus of the Mandir. 

The visit included a meeting between the Catholic clergy and the sadhus of the Mandir, in which they also prayed together in silence for those suffering in the world today. 

The group then proceeded to the main feature of the visit, a seminar titled ‘Hindus and Catholics: The Practice of Compassion as a Contribution to World Peace’

The seminar, in which leaders and representatives from several Hindu organisations were also present, commenced with Vedic peace prayers sung by Hindu youths and Christian prayers performed by the Catholic leaders. 

After the Welcome Address by Satyavrat Swami, the Cardinal presented his Keynote Address in which he explained “this meeting here in London organized with the fullest cooperation of the Catholic Church in England and Wales is a re-affirmation of the Catholic Church’s commitment to strengthen relationships with the Hindus wherever they are.” 

Thereafter, Paramtattva Swami and Dr Martin Ganeri presented their papers on the concept of compassion and world peace from their respective faith traditions. 

The seminar concluded with an exchange of gifts, for which His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj had sent from India a silver ‘Amrut Kumbh’ for His Holiness Pope Francis I. The Hindu symbol for auspiciousness, immortality and fulfilment was inscribed with the words: “United in our Commitment to World Peace and the Common Good. AUM Shanti Shanti Shanti”. 

After a traditional vegetarian Indian meal with the other Hindu delegates, the Cardinal and his Catholic colleagues departed very grateful for the warm hospitality and opportunity for interfaith dialogue. 

In the Visitors’ Book, the Cardinal wrote he found it to have been “an inspiring visit which is a sign of hope for the coming generations.” 

The visit comes as part of a long-running engagement with the Catholic Church, including when Pramukh Swami Maharaj met Pope John Paul II at the Vatican in 1984 and, more recently, when the Catholic leader for England and Wales, Archbishop of Westminster Vincent Nichols, visited the Mandir in London in 2009 as part of a pan-religious interfaith meeting. This affirms the on-going commitment of Pramukh Swami Maharaj at greater understanding and cooperation among the various faith traditions in working towards a more peaceful, productive and harmonious world. 

To read about the visit on the Catholic Church’s site and to download the seminar papers, please click here.

Disclaimer: BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

National Diabetes Week Seminar
Sunday 9 June 2013

BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir hosted a seminar on Sunday 9 June 2013 for National Diabetes Week. It was organised by BAPS Charities and Diabetes UK to highlight the importance of diabetes research amongst Asians. 

Diabetes UK has been making breakthroughs in research for more than 75 years. This seminar was arranged to give South Asians an opportunity to learn more about the types of research being undertaken, with special addresses by Professor Peter Whincup and Dr Devi Nair. 

The seminar began with an introductory talk from Dr Devi Nair, Consultant Lipidologist at The Royal Free Hospital. Dr Nair works in collaboration with BAPS Charities and has recently set up a joint diabetes screening clinic that takes place quarterly at the Mandir in London. 

Dr Nair explained how common diabetes is among people of South Asian origin, and some of the underlying reasons, other than genetic susceptibility, that contribute to such a high level of prevalence. 

This was followed by a talk from Dr Rankin, Director of Research at Diabetes UK, who explained the role and importance of research in the present day management of diabetes by the NHS. He pointed out that five times more is spent on research for arthritis, the British Heart Foundation spends ten times more, and Cancer Research UK is able to spend twenty times more on research than Diabetes UK. He thus highlighted the need to generate funds for more diabetes research to allow optimal management of the condition, which is so common amongst those of South Asian origin. 

Professor Peter Whincup gave a summary of his current research project called “CHASE”, The Child Heart and Health Study in England, and highlighted numerous factors which cause Asian children to be significantly more prone to develop Type II diabetes. 

Surjeet Soin, a diabetic patient, shared an insightful account of his personal experiences with diabetes and how he has managed his condition over the years. 

The seminar was attended by 65 people, and proved to be highly beneficial and informative for all those present. 

The seminar comes as part of the Diabetes Care Programme launched at the Mandir last September and an on-going initiative to raise awareness about diabetes and help people with the condition. In 2008, BAPS promoted and raised funds for Diabetes UK through its Family Walk & Fun Run, while in recent years, BAPS Charities has organised regular health screening sessions at the Mandir in which people are screened for conditions such as diabetes and offered important lifestyle advice. 

To learn more about the work of Diabetes UK and about National Diabetes Week, please follow the respective links. 

Disclaimer: BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

Celebrating World Environment Day
Wednesday 5 June 2013

Every year, 5 June is celebrated by millions internationally as World Environment Day (WED). Established in 1972 by the United Nations, WED is one of the principal vehicles through which the UN stimulates worldwide awareness for the environment and encourages positive action. 

As an affiliate of the United Nation’s Economic and Social Council, BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha celebrated World Environment Day in the UK with a presentation supporting this year’s theme, THINK.EAT.SAVE REDUCE YOUR FOODPRINT, and building upon the UN Secretary-General’s Zero Hunger Challenge

The presentation was displayed at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London throughout the week and an announcement also took place during the evening assembly of Saturday 8 June 2013. It comprised a series of eye-opening facts about food wastage and practical tips on safely cutting back. 

DID YOU KNOW: A third of global food production is either wasted or lost – even as 1 billion people go to bed hungry and 20,000 children under the age of 5 die from starvation every day.

–   Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN

To help reduce wastage and lessen the burden on global resources, devotees and visitors were encouraged to make a number of small but important lifestyle changes. These included: 

  • DON’T buy more food than you really need
  • FREEZE IT! Freeze fresh produce and leftovers if you won’t have the chance to eat them before they go bad
  • GROW an organic garden and your own delicious food
  • GET SMART about less waste, great taste – plan meals, use shopping lists and avoid impulse buys
  • EAT ORGANIC and locally grown foods and help reduce the clearing of forests for agricultural land 

The initiative continues the on-going efforts of the Mandir in raising awareness about and supporting positive change for the environment. Other recent projects include observing Earth Hour and recycling clothes for Climate Week

To learn more about the UN’s THINK.EAT.SAVE campaign, please click here

For more information about World Environment Day and the Zero Hunger Challenge, please follow the respective links. 

Disclaimer: BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

Shri Nilkanth Varni

 

Annual Charity Challenge Raises Funds for Needy Children
Sunday 28 April 2013

More than 3,000 people across the UK participated in the BAPS Charities Annual 10K Challenge to raise funds for KIDS as well as various other charities and good causes. 

In London, the Challenge was hosted at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir on Sunday 28 April 2013. Amidst glorious spring sunshine, children from as young as three through to elderly participants in their nineties gathered in the courtyard for the opening ceremony. Members of the British Army were also present as part of the ceremonial proceedings and began the event with the playing of bagpipes. 

Participants and organisers were also joined by distinguished guests, including Warren Koehler (London Regional Director of KIDS), Cllr Mohammed Butt, Cllr Zaffar Van Kalwala, Cllr Reg Colwill, Cllr Paul Lorber, Cllr Harbhajan Singh, Cllr Suresh Kansagra, Cllr Bhikhu Patel, Cllr Ketan Sheth, Cllr Krupa Sheth, and Cllr Vina Mithani. Also present were Mr Bhupendra Singh, Managing Director and Mr I N Dhar, Branch Manager of the Punjab National Bank (International) Limited. 

The nationwide event brings together more than 3,000 people each year of all ages and backgrounds. The Challenge is a chance to have fun, do something healthy, and most importantly, raise valuable funds for a variety of worthy causes. This year the Annual Challenge will raise funds for BAPS Charities and its national beneficiary partner, KIDS. KIDS is a national charity working with disabled children, young people and their families across England. 

The Challenge offered an opportunity for participants to run, jog or walk 10 kilometres and built upon 19 years of sponsored events that have been organised by BAPS. Previous national partners have included Macmillan Cancer Research, Barnardo’s, The Anthony Nolan Trust, Diabetes UK, The British Heart Foundation, Breast Cancer Care, and Age UK. 

BAPS Charities volunteer Dr Sejal Saglani shared, “We are delighted to partner with KIDS this year and hope that the Challenge can help to really further the great work they are already doing.” 

In his address, Warren Koehler expressed his gratitude by saying, “I would just like to say that KIDS is really pleased and excited by the support it is receiving from this. The support that you are providing for us will enable us to support children doing things like you are doing today – walking, having fun, being with their peers and growing and developing their skills and attitudes. Thank you very much for all that you are doing today.” 

Cllr Butt also thanked the organisers and volunteers for their longstanding contributions to the local community and urged everyone to “dig deep” to support the worthy causes. 

Participants moved along the route from the Mandir towards the picturesque King Edward VII Park in Wembley where participants completed two circuits before returning to the Mandir. The route was well marshalled by stewards and plenty of refreshments were available. The last to complete the route was a batch of volunteers who were also clearing up any traces of litter. 

Priya Patel, aged 16, stopped by to share her thoughts during her 10 kilometre jog: “It’s a really nice day and good to see so many people take part and also the local residents waving and smiling us along. It really is very rewarding to know that you are doing something good to help children and families not as fortunate as you.” 

To learn more about the great work of KIDS, please visit www.kids.org.uk

For a full report of the BAPS Charities Annual 10K Challenge, please visit www.bapscharities.org.uk

Disclaimer: BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

Bhagwan Swaminarayan

 

Swaminarayan Jayanti and Rama Navmi Celebrations
Saturday 13 April & Saturday 20 April 2013

The festivals of Swaminarayan Jayanti and Rama Navmi were joyously celebrated at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London on Saturday 20 April 2013 (this year coinciding with the actual birthdate according to the Hindu calendar). 

The festivities began from the morning with the traditional annakut (a ceremonial offering of food) artistically arranged in the shrines before the deities. 

At 12 noon, sadhus performed a special arti to commemorate the birth of Shri Rama Bhagwan. 

A programme of devotional songs was organised from 5pm as part of the festival. Sadhus and youths eloquently sang a collection of bhajans extolling the glory of Bhagwan Swaminarayan and Shri Ramachandraji. 

The assembly hall in the evening was transformed into a scene from 1800s Gujarat. Youths donned the robes of sadhus and devotees in an enactment of various scenes from the life of Bhagwan Swaminarayan. The expertly choreographed and thought-provoking production illustrated the ideals of dharma that Bhagwan Swaminarayan established and brought to life the uplifting impact he had on the lives of so many. 

Interspersed between the sketches were devotional songs and discourses from sadhus elaborating upon the values and principles of Bhagwan Swaminarayan and Shri Rama. 

Children, youths and senior devotees all contributed to an enlightening set of performances, including a vibrant and colourful dancing procession welcoming the image of Bhagwan Swaminarayan into the assembly hall as the festivities neared their climax. 

The assembly culminated with devotional singing and the arti sung joyously at precisely 10.10pm to mark the auspicious birth of Bhagwan Swaminarayan. 

The festival was also celebrated by the Women’s Forum in London on Saturday 13 April 2013. A series of sketches illustrated the positive transformation of people’s lives through the work of Bhagwan Swaminarayan. The inspiring celebrations also included dances which were enjoyed by young and old.

Rama Navmi
Wednesday 5 April 2016

Shri Rama is an avatar of Vishnu and a popular deity for Hindus around the world. He manifested on earth thousands of years ago on the Hindu calendrical day of Chaitra sud 9. This year, that day falls on Wednesday 5 April. It will be celebrated at the Mandir with a host of devotional festivities, including a ceremonial offering of food (the ‘annakut’), singing, chanting, and an arti at noon signifying the auspicious birth.

Children Participate in Road Safety Course
Saturday 27 March 2013

Around 60 children aged between 13 and 15 from the Children’s Forum at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London participated in a road safety initiative called ‘RoadSense’. Facilitated by the Mercedes-Benz DrivingAcademy, the course took place at The Swaminarayan School opposite the Mandir on Saturday 27 March 2013. 

RoadSense is a new educational initiative that provides an opportunity for schoolchildren to learn about road safety from the perspective of drivers, passengers and pedestrians. The programme has been developed in direct response to the Department for Transport’s target to reduce the total number of road deaths and injuries amongst children and young people by at least 50 per cent by 2020. 

The course had both practical and theoretical components, with young children learning in a class before being put through their paces by driving a specially customised car around a controlled track together with professional driving coaches. 

The practical session involved one child driving the car (alongside the instructor) with two others attempting to distract the young driver, thus recreating a typical scenario observed in everyday driving. This demonstrated the challenges of driving with distractions and hazards, and provided valuable lessons of the behaviour that should be adhered to when sitting in a car as a passenger. Each child was offered an opportunity to drive the car around the track as well as being involved in the role-play. 

Members of the instruction team also led an interactive session where they explored the value of ‘responsibility’ using various media. This allowed the children to learn the importance of safety and responsibility not only as a driver but also as a passenger and pedestrian. 

The experience fostered greater discipline and a deeper sense of responsibility amongst the participants, useful not only on the road but in all aspects of life. 

One of the teenagers shared: “That was the first time I had done anything like that. I was quite nervous as I was driving a car at such a young age. However, the support from the instructor gave me the confidence to drive and it felt as if I have been driving for many years. When my friends distracted me, I found it difficult to drive and I now understand that I have a greater responsibility when I sit in the car as a passenger.” 

Another girl expressed: “I never thought I would have driven before the age of 18 and to do it when I am 13 is quite an achievement. After taking part in the course I will definitely look to promote greater safety as a passenger. I did not realise that the passenger has just as much responsibility in the car as the driver.” 

To learn more about the Mercedes-Benz DrivingAcademy, please click here

Disclaimer: BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.