ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY ISSUE
2017 WORLD YOUTH SERVICE
In 2017, brothers and sisters from across the world accomplished incredible feats of service. Youth from every corner of the globe, from Indonesia to Greece, Nigeria to Canada came together as one and served their communities. Here are just some snapshots of the activities from each country and region in which the youth participated. Thank you to all of the youth for their hard work!
In 2017, youth all across Region One set their sights on serving the children, elderly, and low wage workers. In Australia, youth volunteered at the Minnawarra house, a community house for needy families. They strengthened their personal connection with children by incorporating the Human Values into activities that will help children build self-confidence and gain life skills.
In Fiji, the youth helped facilitate a monthly medical camp at the Dilkusha orphanage home, where around 40 children were assessed by a medical team comprised of a dentist, dietician, pharmacist, and general practitioners. Medical camps are being utilised across the region, spearheaded by The Divine Mother and Child Health programme. providing service in Australia, Indonesia, and Singapore. This programme provides medical and dental screenings, and allows medical professionals to identify potential health risks, especially to younger women and older children.
Project Home Meals in Singapore is a programme that provides food for low wage migrant workers. There are more than one million such workers in Singapore, which makes up about 20 percent of the total population. Even though they are thankfully not homeless, the migrant workers suffer unconscionable exploitation, so the youth decided to act, guided by Swami’s message of ‘Serving Humanity.’ The team, comprised of 20 to 30 chefs and five to six drivers, deliver 300 home-cooked food packs every Sunday.
Japan turned its Seva towards helping the elderly by going to an elder care facility and sharing their pure love and gratitude for them. Many of the residents do not have close family members or friends to visit them, so the youth wanted to rekindle that spirit. Some presented beautiful handmade cards meant to hang in their rooms, others sang songs to which the elderly could dance, and others read children’s stories to them so they could reminisce about their childhood. By the end, they had all the elderly in the room feeling like youth again.
Earlier in the year, the Singapore youth joined the Malaysia youth and participated in the Seva activities in Malaysia. Let us take this as inspiration that when we come together, we can achieve anything. This was the spirit of the Second Asia Pacific Youth Meet as over 700 youths from nine countries gathered in Malaysia to put in to practice “Seva For Transformation.” They held a medical camp, a provision camp providing dry rations for needy families, ‘Ananda Cares,’ as part of the Needy Women and Children Empowerment programme. and Narayana Seva. The conference culminated with Bhagawan announcing the launch of “Sri Sathya Sai Medical and Dental Outreach programme,” The youth have since acted on these instructions and are serving packed food to needy families, homeless, and school children, Arati as well as having a medical camp providing extensive care, treatment, and prescription medication.
In India, one of the flagship endeavours is the Annapoorna Breakfast programme. as was highlighted in the previous Special Issue (http://conta.cc/2zTxp9V) It has since reached five million breakfasts served, including to over 110,000 school children in over 1500 schools with 5000 volunteers! India has kept this momentum going by introducing a new programme that helps students apply what they learn in the classroom to their own lives. The Integrated Rural Development programme (IRDP) is helping over 600 students learn in a hands-on approach a way to facilitate rural development and execute targeted initiatives and activities. This not only impacts the rural community, but also benefits the students by developing their communication, leadership, and problem-solving skills to set them up for success in the future.
Children are the future of tomorrow, and it is crucial that youth do everything possible to ensure children are given the best opportunity to succeed. That starts with nutrition; then giving them the knowledge and resources to do well in school, so they are inspired to give back to their community. ‘A healthy mind in a healthy body.’
With that in mind, the youth in Nigeria conduct breakfast Seva at Ereko Methodist Primary School in Lagos for primary students as well as children with special needs. The Nigerian youth serve breakfast every week to 200 regular and 59 special needs children, making sure they are properly fed, so they can excel in the classroom.
One of the main projects taking place in Sri Lanka is in partnership with Eye Care Foundation. Sri Lanka youth have joined hands to help the organisation bring forth dedicated and committed youth to help people to get their vision back by providing lenses that are inserted surgically. The patients are selected by the Village Government Official and the list of requirements is sent to the youth so they, in turn, can provide the proper lens for each patient. Since becoming a team, the Sri Lanka youth and the Eye Care Foundation are helping around five to ten people each month and are giving new life to the fading eyes of these beautiful souls.
The service activities in the Middle East are focused on properly feeding workers and empowering women. Laban, or butter milk, is provided to 300 low income construction workers at two different sites every Saturday to quench their thirst due to the hot weather there. At a different site, volunteers provide fruits, vegetables, and juice to almost 50 workers on a weekly basis. The youth are also continuously working on empowering less fortunate women by holding sessions on hygiene, personal health, and English to purify and enhance the mind and body.
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.
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.
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.
Upon Bhagawan’s instructions, Region Four’s mission was to serve the homeless, and serve the children. In the USA, Sai Ashraya Street to Stability was founded to “find a permanent solution to homelessness.” All across the country, from California, to Texas, to Alabama, the youth mobilized by doing weekly and monthly Seva to help serve the hundreds of homeless scattered across each
city. Making breakfast and lunch for them, and just interacting with them as they would with anyone else, bringing pure joy to the homeless faces. But, most importantly, youth are talking the steps from temporary fixes to permanent solutions to get the homeless back
to stable, productive lives. After all, by serving humanity, youth are indeed serving Him.
As per Bhagawan’s divine command and instructions for Canada, the youths were asked to get together and form a group as “Peace Pilgrims”. The youths took steps and initiatives to fulfil and adhere to the Divine request. Regular monthly food packets were distributed on the streets of Edmonton, Surrey and Vancouver. A group of youths from Toronto also did similar food packets for the needy friends. The youths joined in with the adults to conduct regular workshops on Values Based Education to unemployed youths and assisted in educating teen mothers to nurture and develop their child with a strong vision of reducing homelessness.
In Argentina, the youth serve child patients who received ambulatory treatment in Rivadavia Hospital by giving gifts and interacting with them wearing clown costumes. Items like clothes, toys, and school supplies as well as the time spent laughing and playing with them give the entire family love and support and hope that the children’s health can improve.
In Mexico, the youth were guided by Swami to a man, who himself is a reformed drug addict and ex-gang member, that spent every afternoon giving free boxing lessons to children ages 6 to 21 in the community. The gym, “Salvando Angeles” (Saving Angels), was created because he wanted to save his own children from
joining the gangs. After joining his mission, the youth have strategically planned on how to grow the gym. It has now been conducting weekly values classes for the children on reading comprehension and mathematics. This is a remarkable example of collaboration between the youth and individual citizens and how, with Swami’s direction, we can find unsung heroes in our community and help them all serve the underprivileged.
2018 YEAR AHEAD
As we have seen, there seems to be an endless amount of challenges facing society today in every corner of the world. But with each problem comes even more opportunities for youth to help the community. This was the case in 2017, as there were countless natural disasters like hurricanes, earthquakes, and fires testing the faith and will of people across the world. But humanity is
resilient. What challenges they may have are no match for how people are all alike, and that is all are human beings. No hurricane is powerful enough; no earthquake is destructive enough; no fire is intense enough to stop any one of us from coming together and serving another. Whether it be Hurricane Harvey in Texas, the earthquake in Central Mexico, or the wildfires in California, no natural disaster can stop Swami’s unbounded and unconditional love. But how can youth help? Youth can take a page out of India’s or Greece’s books by teaming up with organisations to serve the community. Annapoorna partnered with Oracle in India, and the Greek youth collaborated with Microsoft to provide food to the children and homeless.
And, everyone can share in this joy by using technology to communicate experiences and journeys. Inspirational radio programmes like the ones in Italy and Singapore allow youth to reach even more people, and spread the message of service, love, and peace. It allows all to come together. And this is a must do…come together as one country, as one region, as one world. Swami willing, let the youth continue to build on what they have started in 2017, and achieve even greater feats of service in 2018 and beyond.
Youth should take inspiration from all the wonderful people around the world who selflessly serve their community. Let the youth embrace technology, but also understand the purpose and love behind it so they can utilise it to benefit those who are less privileged. Let the youth come together from different parts of the globe and serve those less fortunate. For it is not a matter of ‘us serving them,’ but a matter of ‘Him serving Him.’ Once this is understood, youth can fully immerse in His love, and share it with all. Keep up the wonderful work done in 2017 brothers and sisters, and all join hands and hearts to realise this immense potential together.
FIRST ANNIVERSARY MESSAGE
From Brother Bobby Patel
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
We have come to the end of our first year of the Love and Peace Newsletter!
Although we know that Swami is the doer of all things, He uses us as His instruments. Youth are the future, as Swami stresses, and so the service projects we all start now are the positive changes we will see for our children and our children’s children, for lifetimes to come.
As mentioned in the One Year Anniversary newsletter article, there is much more to do. This year Swami has stressed to the youth so many different ways to serve. One of the major initiatives is ‘Sai Ashraya - Street to Stability’ to create a permanent solution to end homelessness in the world – starting with the homeless and disadvantaged youth. Swami says "This must be a permanent solution, temporary solution alone is not enough".
A big effort for sure, but with all of us as His instruments, it can be done! So what is the effort needed in 2018 and beyond? We must go beyond just feeding, clothing and screening – this is definitely needed, but is only a short-term solution. The real need is for permanent solutions to create jobs, provide housing, education, training and physical and mental therapy programmes, medical and nutrition help – a complete ecosystem that takes a child in need straight from Street to Stability.
Seems like an incredible expectation, yet extremely exciting, but with Swami by our side He has and will provide solutions for all the obstacles – faith and conviction in Him is the key. In one year with Swami’s Grace, other countries and regions have been able to start ‘Sai Ashraya - Street to Stability’ and have taken children off the street, who are on their way to stability. It is a great opportunity to unlock the undiscovered talent that these children possess.
The ‘Love and Peace newsletter’ provides inspiration to young and old around the world to take action and serve their community. Youth to date around the world have started inspirational radio stations, built vehicles to deliver nutrition and perform medical screening, serving the homeless with much needed food and clothing, helping elders in their time of need with love and warmth, and have created many outreach programmes for those who have been struck by disasters, all being recorded and uploaded into One World One Sai.
Youth have helped bring love and joy to children, the elderly, families and the downtrodden around the world! Let us keep up this noble work with full force and energy of the youth and Swami.