Greece is home to a more unique situation with refugees who are displaced from war-torn areas, which was highlighted in the previous Special Issue in October. Since then, the youth have teamed up with Microsoft to cook and distribute food to these homeless all around the country, serving 400 homeless individuals that day. The Second European Youth Meet was held in Greece this fall and all of the regional youth came together to serve these homeless. This was an unforgettable experience for the youth, as it has made them eager to assemble again to serve the community.
Similarly, the Spanish youth are collaborating with an association called AMASDES to provide food to 200 to 250 people in need every week. The sandwiches, pasta, fruits, and drinks bring smiles to each and every one of the homeless.
The youth in Italy are also seeing bright smiles due to one of their Seva activities. They have teamed up with Dharmic Clown, founded in order to bring happiness and laughter to every place they go, including hospitals, orphan houses, schools, and elder care facilities. The founder of the organisation years ago once met a six year old boy with cancer, who was suffering immensely and could not talk. The boy’s mother was scared for her child’s life, and did not want any distractions with these people in silly costumes. But they went in anyway and put a red ball on the child’s nose. The next week the mother was searching around for them because her child wanted to see them again. The boy had started talking again, and is now all well! It’s anecdotes like this that reinforce that whatever we can do to make a difference in even one person’s day, it is completely worth it.
The United Kingdom, Germany, and Netherlands have lent their service to the elderly. In South London, the youth have added another elderly home to their Seva (they are already working with another elder home), serving over 70 residents. In the UK, residents in homes for the elderly are classified as “vulnerable,” making it is difficult to visit them. But with Swami’s guidance and love, the work done in these two locations has been made possible.
The Germany and Netherlands youth have also created a personal connection with the elderly that they have been serving for the past six months. When they all go for a stroll in the park, the youth learn so much from the elders’ wisdom and their life experiences. In fact, there is so much love and energy flowing that instead of the youth trying to entertain the elders, the elders themselves, rejuvenated by being around a younger generation, entertain the youth.
Similar stories are happening in Croatia as the “Heart of Love” youth group have volunteered to help children at the Special Hospital for Chronic Children’s Diseases near Zagreb. The youth spend a couple hours bringing joy to these children by talking, singing, and doing anything to bring a glimpse of light and a bit of relief to their difficult lives.