“The beauty and charm of selfless service should never die away from the face of this earth.
The world should know that a life of dedication is possible;
that a life inspired by love and service is possible.” – Amma
When Amma was a little girl, one of her many chores was collecting food for the family cows. Every day she would roam the local villages, gathering grass and visiting neighbouring homes to ask for vegetable peels and other scraps. At times like these, Amma saw many things that troubled her. She saw how some people were starving, while others had more than enough. She saw that many people were sick and were suffering from intense pain, unable to afford a single painkiller. And she noticed that many of the elderly were neglected or treated harshly by their own families.
If one looks closely at the many humanitarian services provided by the Mata Amritanandamayi Math (MAM), they will see that they are in truth simply an extension of what Amma has been doing since her childhood—taking care of the old, the poor, the neglected, the suffering. There are welfare programs for widows as well as care homes for the elderly; free food, clothing, and homes for the needy; an orphanage; assistance for tribal communities; and post-disaster relief efforts. Not to mention free medical services and hospices. In 2005, MAM was given special consultative status with the United Nation’s Economic and Social Organization. Indeed, Amma’s humanitarian services are an extension of her love, an extension of her darshan — ever-expanding and giving solace to more and more people every day.
Homes for the Homeless
Since 1987, Amma’s Ashram has been involved in building homes for those who lack proper shelter. Read about Amrita Kuteeram project to build 100,000 homes for the poor.
Amma’s empathy was such that the pain of others was unbearable to her. Though just a child, she began to contemplate the nature of suffering. And she felt the presence of God so strongly within her and in the suffering people around her that she wanted to reach out and comfort and uplift them. In many ways, it was then that Amma’s charitable mission began. She would share her food with the starving, and she would bathe and clothe the elderly who had no one to look after them. She was often punished for giving away her own family’s food and belongings to the poor, but her compassion was such that she would not be deterred.
Amrita Nidhi: Free monthly pension for the poor
In 1998, Amma launched Amrita Nidhi, a project to help destitute women throughout India through the distribution of monthly financial-aid payments. Read about this project – Amrita Nidhi
To Curb Farmer Suicide
In America, the Mata Amritanandamayi Center runs a program called “Circle of Love Inside,” wherein volunteers write letters of hope and solace to people serving prison sentences. Read more about the circle of love.
The Ashram is involved in a number of a projects aimed towards the all-around upliftment of India’s tribal populations. Read about tribal welfare programmes.
In 2003, the Ashram established Amrita Neeti Pratishthan, a fraternity of lawyers providing free legal services to the poor. Read about Neeti Pratishtan.
For decades, at the requests of poor families, Amma has been sponsoring the weddings of impoverished couples. Read about mass marriages.
Anna Danam & Vastra Danam
Anna Danam & Vastra Danam (The Gift of Food and Clothing) Amma has established a number of programs to feed and clothe the poor. Read about food distribution.
Care Homes for the Elderly
The elderly come to Amma’s care homes for refuge or to simply spend their final years in a tranquil spiritual environment. Read about care homes.
In 1989, Amma was asked to take over an orphanage and school whose owners had gone bankrupt. The children were in an extreme state of neglect and malnutrition, and the buildings were unsanitary and in deplorable condition. Read on
Vocational Training & Self Help Groups
In order to financially empower rural villagers, the Ashram is providing training in tailoring, organic-crop production, sandal-making and other vocations as well as helping villagers to form and maintain cooperative businesses. Read more