Seva in the Middle East
One Meal A Day Program (OMAD)
“If you can look after just another person, the whole world will be happy. I am not asking you to take care of a whole continent, a country, a state or a city. All I am asking is, as a human being, you look after another human being” - Bhagawan Sathya Sai Baba (excerpt from discourse given on February 16, 2020)
One sees the hunger and suffering in the world and wishes to do something to make a difference. One looks at the numbers and notices that hundreds of millions are in need. This makes one face defeat even before one begins, wondering what difference can one individual with limited resources make. The “One Meal a Day” programme is a tool set up to discern from first-hand experience that every small effort collectively adds up to make a big difference.
What each one can do is to care for another person who is in need and who is living just around one, within the close proximity of one’s streets, along footpaths or in parking lots to name a few. A group of individuals in the Middle East, following the advice of Swami decided to do just one thing – Feed a Meal. To whom? To a person in need. And When? Everyday. Humble efforts put in by 50 individuals, collectively added up to over 801 meals in the month of February! To many, this initiative proved to be an eye-opener. “It is only when I set out with a packet of food that I saw a whole new dimension of humanity that I was previously blind to”, says one of the young participants. “I thought that the Gulf was a rich place”, says another who had spent a good number of years living in the Middle East. Two months since implementation, the OMAD programme has overcome many of the challenges it faced in the start-up month, especially in the minds of the youth, discarding restrictions and questions like, “Where do I find a hungry person?”, “How would I fit this into my routine?”, or “What would I tell the person while handing out food to him?”. Most describe the joy that they experience while doing this simple act of serving a meal, as something that cannot be expressed in words, but that can only be felt. It is truly astonishing what a little food combined with a smile can do. One meal shared with another gives meaning to one’s life, showing all that we are all one and the same!