The Pietermaritzburg Sub-centre has been serving the community for approximately five decades and at present conducts/provides:
- Weekly Satsang program on Sunday mornings from 9.30 to 10.30am;
- Children’s Education Program (including Value Based Education for Children) on Sunday mornings from 8.30 to 9.30am;
- Nutrition Programmes for indigent families – distribution of grocery hampers and cooked meals
- Medical Clinic Sessions on a monthly basis
- Annual Community Medical Camp at WA Lewitt Primary School
- Functions for the observance of all major Hindu festivals
- Distribution of school stationery and religious literature
- Scholarships to needy pupils
The work of the Centre has positively assisted disadvantaged persons irrespective of race, religion, language, or other socio-political affiliation.
The city of Pietermaritzburg is synonymous with the father of the Indian nation, Sri Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. It was at the Pietermaritzburg Railway Station on 07 June 1893 when Sri MK Gandhi was evicted from a coach reserved for White travellers only. This incident changed the course of Sri Gandhiji’s life and his philosophy of Satyagraha (non-violent resistance) commenced from that very date.
Pietermaritzburg is the capital city of the province of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa and is the second largest city in the province. As a result of the now repealed Group Areas Act of 1966, which was for the purpose of segregating the population based on race, the majority of the Indian people were moved to the Northern suburbs. Northdale is one of the major Northern suburbs and it was here where the Pietermaritzburg Sub-centre was established sometime during 1970.
The Pietermaritzburg Sub-centre has, for the past five decades, served both devotees of the Holy Trio as well as indigent members of the community. The sub-centre hosts regular satsangs (prayer services) and observes all the major Hindu festivals; it also conducts various humanitarian and altruistic programs. The sub-centre also offers free medical clinics on a monthly basis from its ashram premises. The medical clinic was inaugurated by Sri Swami Shivapadanandaji Maharaj (second president of the Ramakrishna Centre of South Africa) during July 1985. The Ramakrishna Clinic of South Africa (Durban) and the Pietermaritzburg sub-centre organised several successful annual Community Medical Camps at the WA Lewitt Primary School.
With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic during 2020, the sub-centre increased the scope of its Humanitarian Projects considerably to provide relief to needy families through the distribution of cooked meals, grocery packs, fresh fruit and vegetables. The work has contributed significantly to the upliftment of the lives of indigent families across the racial, religious, language and socio-political spectrum.
Social welfare activities at the sub-centre have increased to such an extent that there is now a need for the acquisition of a new site to further develop and expand its activities. The new site will, inter alia, provide for the following:
- a medical centre including a waiting area, consulting rooms, a theatre for minor surgical procedures, and a dispensary to provide free services to deserving patients;
- kitchen and dining facilities for the regular preparation and distribution of meals to indigent families;
- classrooms for the provision of tuition/extra classes for disadvantaged children;
- a skills development centre to teach basic skills to unemployed persons.