Lifetime Achievement 2021
Mr. Mul Raj Sethi is a dedicated, conscientious, and highly respected community member and caring social worker by occupation (1990–2002), who has spent many of his later years working for the betterment of society, especially the seniors’ community.
In Nairobi, Raj Sethi worked as the Principal of Fort Hall Primary School (1964–1968) and Arya Boys Secondary School (1968–1971). He then moved to the United Kingdom, continuing to teach with the London Borough of Brent until 1989. He and his family have called Richmond Hill their home since arriving in Canada in 1989.
Raj was elected as the Vice-Chairperson of the Arya Samaj Seniors Club in 1993 and the Chairperson from 1998–2010. He founded York Region Indian Seniors Club (YRISC) Richmond Hill in 2006. Beginning with a membership of twenty-two people, it presently boasts 144 members, and he remains the current president.
Among numerous awards, Mr. Sethi was selected by the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration, Province of Ontario, to receive the 2007 Senior Achievement Award, which honours the extraordinary contributions made by seniors to their communities. He was recognized at a ceremony in the Lieutenant Governor’s suite in the Main Legislative Buildings, Queen’s Park, Toronto. A truly special memory.
Establishing the York Region Indian Seniors Club in 2006, and seeing it flourish, has been a humbling experience for Raj. Uniting Indian seniors from Richmond Hill and the GTA through a forum for them to partake in social activities, entertainment, and excursions have been exceptionally rewarding. Raj emphasizes that staying integrated within Canadian society is more important than ever, so he continues to work closely to connect various government officials at the municipal, provincial, and federal levels to ensure that Indian seniors in the community are heard, and participation is engaged.
Even with the unprecedented times that resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic, the leadership of the founding members and everyone’s commitment has helped sustain the weekly YRISC meetings that support and engage seniors, despite many members now participating virtually. YRISC has strived to ensure that isolation, boredom, and neglect were not going to affect York Region’s most vulnerable communities—these seniors. Given their amazing efforts in dealing with the pandemic, YRISC received a grant of $11,000.00 from New Horizons Seniors Program.
Raj is sociable and outgoing, pre-pandemic enjoying in-person visits with those in his community and taking daily walks with his friends. For now, Raj tries to keep busy at home. He considers himself blessed to have a caring family who contributes to his good health and well-being, and he makes it a priority to keep in touch with YRISC members, particularly those who may not have the same support and environment he has.