Vijaybhai Shantilal Shah was recently felicitated by the mayor of Antwerp, Mr. Bart De Wever and received an Award on behalf of the Jain Cultural Centre of Antwerp. The award was presented at an event was held at the newly renovated Antwerp City Hall in the presence of an esteemed delegation of members from the Antwerp Indian Community.
The Mayor congratulated Vijaybhai for his three decades of community service and the work of the Centre, including the establishment and management of the magnificent Antwerp Jain Temple.
The Jain Cultural Centre of Antwerpen VZW was formed in 1992 and constructed the imposing Antwerp Jain temple and meditation hall between 2001 and 2010. It has been a key centre for religious and social activity of the Indian community since then.
Located in the municipality Wilrijk, the building has a surface area of 1,000 m2 and has been in use since 2010. Construction started in 1990 in India. After it was completed in 2000, the building was dismantled piece by piece, shipped to Belgium and rebuilt on its current location.
The white marble design is inspired by traditional Jain Temples.
It is the biggest Jain temple outside of India. The temple houses an information center about Jainism also housing the prestigious Indian Study Center, an educational and cultural association affiliated to the University of Antwerp.
In addition, Vijaybhai has steered the activities of The Shantilal Lallubhai Trust, a trust dedicated in Memory of his late Father. The trust has financed several institutions for charity, hospitals, schools, rest homes and camps for the blind. Some of its projects include:
• Along with Dr Panda contributed setting up Mumbai’s first “Children Heart Centre” at the Asian Heart Institute. The Centre incorporates the most advanced medical technology and infrastructure in an entirely child friendly environment. The Center is dedicated to memory of his late mother.
• In Bijapur, Gujarat a bhojanshala where tourist and pilgrims are provided free meals.
• In Shantinagar, Mira Road, Mumbai a Jain temple along with a school which can accommodate up to 3,000 children.
• In Walkeshwar, Mumbai a Jain Temple in memory of his late father.
• In Dharamshala, a resting hall for tourist and pilgrims.
• Contribution to The Mahavir Hospital, Surat where the needy and destitute are given free medical treatment.
• Contribution to The Rajasthan Bal Kalyan Samiti, Udaipur for educational support for the girl child.
• Contribution to The Ekal Vidiyalaya Foundation of India to bring basic education to every child across rural India
Additionally, Vijaybhai is also actively involved in the upkeep of the Balaji Temple, Birmingham.
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