Students teach the community about Sikhism


Photo by Andrew Chan

A traditional book of daily prayers, known as a the Nitnem, on display at the WCHS seminar. To its right is a traditional beaded bracelet that Sikhs count while praying.

By Andrew Chan, Assistant Sports Editor

An organization at WCHS is striving to educate the community on a religion known as Sikhism. Many Sikhs are often mistaken for other religious groups or mislabeled. Sikh Kid to Kid was created to help spread awareness on the Sikh religion throughout the MCPS community. Sikh Kid to Kid’s main goal is to “eradicate ignorance with the power of education,” according to their mission statement.

Created by several Sikh WCHS and Hoover middle school students, the group continues to engage in various initiatives to educate others on Sikhism. The group was founded by WCHS alumna Hana Mangat after the Wisconsin Sikh Temple shooting rocked the Sikh community.

“The shooter thought that he was shooting a Muslim temple, but it was a Sikh temple,” Sikh Kid to Kid organization said. “While shooting anyone is unjust, we realized we had to set up an organization to educate others about the Sikh faith.”

Sikh Kid to Kid is a student-run organization comprised of young Sikhs who are active in spreading awareness. By allowing young Sikhs to be active within the initiatives, the organization ensures that the youth of the Sikh religion have a voice in today’s society.

“Sikh Kid to Kid consists of Sikh youth working to remove all misconceptions of who a Sikh is,” Sikh Kid to Kid said. “We want to make the next generation accepting of all cultures and religions.”

One way the Sikh Kid to Kid Organization has spread awareness about Sikhism was through a seminar in the WCHS media center Jan. 17. This session was open to WCHS staff for the entire school day, and many students attended the meeting during lunch. The training was run by WCHS students that belong to the WCHS Chapter of Sikh Kid to Kid.

“The main goal of the seminar was to help teach students and staff about Sikhism and to help get rid of any confusion about the religion,” sophomore Harbin Singh said.

At the seminar, teachers and students saw a presentation detailing many aspects of Sikhism. Students learned how Sikhs study their religious text: the Guru Granth Sahib. Additionally, the seminar included the Sikh articles of faith, the 5 K’s, which stand for Kesh (uncut hair), Kangha (a small comb), Kara (a small bracelet), Kirpan (small sword) and Kachera (special shorts). The presentation not only explained these important parts of Sikhism, but also dispelled any misconceptions about the religion.

The seminar did not just include religious aspects of the Sikh culture. Traditional foods that are common to the Sikh culture, such as gulab jamun and samosas, were served. Gulab jamun is a sweet pastry that is similar to a donut hole, and samosas are fried pockets of dough that can contain various different vegetables and spices. In addition to the foods of Sikh culture, the seminar included educational aspects as well. Displayed on the tables were many different books that Sikh children use to learn things, such as the number system. Everyday clothing items, such as turbans, were also displayed. Attendees were even taught how to tie these turbans.

“We wanted to show the everyday aspects of Sikh culture, and not just the religious aspects so that people could understand Sikhism in-depth,” Singh said.

After the seminar, WCHS held a student panel where viewers could ask questions, discuss and clarify any confusion that they had with the members of the Sikh Kid to Kid organization.

The organization wants to continue to focus on educating teachers about Sikhism. They are already planning several events to continue spreading their message. One of their upcoming events is a teacher training event that will be held at the local Sikh temple. The event is in April and will include food and a tour of the temple.

“We mainly train teachers because they are the ones who educate the future generations,” Sikh Kid to Kid said.

Sikh Kid to Kid has many platforms that they are accessible through. They have many student ambassadors who attend WCHS. Additionally, the group has a website,, and an e-mail, [email protected].

The group hopes to continue educating the WCHS community on the individuality of Sikhism.

“At the end of the day, it is the little things we can do that make a difference in the community,” Singh said.