Amma s goodness inspired tsunami relief work

26 June 2005, Amritapuri

“Amma’s hands of goodness inspired tsunami relief and rehabilitation activities in the state” said Mr. Oommen Chandy, Kerala Chief  Minister at a function in Amritapuri. “Endowed with a big heart, symbolising  the goodness of the society, Amma has completed the construction of Tsunami houses at a fast pace” said Mr. Chandy in his inaugural address.

Shri Oommen Chandy received the keys of 89 tsunami houses from Swami Amritakripananda puri, representative of the Math and handed them over to Mr. K R Muraleedharan, Alappuzha District Collector.

Ashram is the first NGO in India to finish building houses for the tsunami victims, based on the government plans.

‘Math was at the forefront of Tsunami relief and rehabilitation operations’ the Chandy recalled.

‘The ashram’s relief activities is a role model for society’ Shri. K C Venugopal, State Tourism Minister said while delivering the presidential address. He said that Amma’s ability to take quick decisions in tsunami relief is highly commendable.  He also said that the government is highly indebted to the ashram for taking the initiative to resolve even minor issues faced by people in their daily life.

Handing over the keys to the next 89 houses

25 June 2005

The Honourable Chief Minister of Kerala, Sri. Oomen Chandy will be handing over the keys to another 89 houses built for people of Arattupuzha Panchayat, Alappuzha District who had lost their homes in the tsunami. The ashram delegates will first present the keys to the Honourable Chief Minister. With this the total number of houses handed over to the beneficiaries by the Ashram will be 122.

The function will be held at Mata Amritanandamayi Math, Amritapuri on 26 June 2005 at 3.30 pm. Sri. K C Venugopal, Hon. Minister for Tourism will preside over the function.

In Tamil Nadu, where concreting for 30 houses is complete, the Math is the only organization to have started construction of replacement homes for the tsunami affected.

LA County presents award to Amma

21 June 2005, Los Angeles

On behalf of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors (of five districts) Ms. Lorie Bell and Ms. Leila Sharma presented the award to Amma during her program at the halls of Hilton Hotel, Los Angeles. The certificate was presented thanking Amma for her outstanding humanitarian contributions, efforts and compassionate love that she has shared and continues to share with the tsunami victims in India & Sri Lanka. Amma’s extraordinary humanitarianism has touched the lives of many, not only in the United States but throughout the world – cited the award.

As Amma entered the hall this evening, Ms. Yolanda King, d/o Martin Luther King Jr.II performed the padapuja. You may recall that Ms. King one of the main speakers at the summit during Amritavarsham50 (news) in Kochi, September 2003.

Ashram is a role model in tsunami relief work

18 June 2005 — Varavila, Klappana Panchayat, Kollam District, Kerala
oommen chandy receiving key from Amritakripananda puri

“I don’t know how to thank Amma for her offer of unconditional aid and the plethora of services she has rendered,” said the Honourable Chief Minister, Sri. Oommen Chandy, during the inaugural address. “The government has not been able to keep its promise of rehabilitating all the victims before the monsoon. The relief work done by Amma and the Ashram is an example for others to emulate,” he added.

Swami Amritakripananda Puri handed over the keys to the 16 houses at a function held at Varavila in the Klappana Panchayat to the Chief Minister, who in turn, handed over the keys to the District Collector B. Srinivas.

The houses are constructed at Klappana Panchayat. Each house, with an area of 430 sq. feet, consists of two bed rooms, a toilet, a kitchen, a living room and a verandah. The houses have proper electrical wiring and plumbing; overhead water tanks have been provided and septic tanks constructed. The construction of these houses was started on May 11 and finished in about a month’s time.

Honourable Labour Minister Sri. Babu Divakaran distributed the driving licenses to the first batch of 60 youth of Alappad who had been given driving lessons at the Ashram’s driving school. More than 1,000 youth have registered to learn.

In his address the labour minister said, “The government is indebted to the Ashram for finishing the work in record time, understanding the suffering of the people. Those who have been working on the construction of these houses are role-models for others and they are to be applauded.”

About 80 people will be able to move out of the temporary shelters and live in their own houses.

The Ashram is the first NGO in India to have finished building houses based on the government plans for tsunami victims.

–Kannadi

Ashram finishes its first 100 houses in Kerala

16 June 2005 — Alappuzha, Ernakulam & Kollam Districts, Kerala

The Ashram has finished building a total of 100 houses in Kerala as part of its the tsunami relief efforts. The government of Kerala has entrusted the Ashram with building 1,600 houses. The Ashram is the first NGO in India to finish building houses based on the government plans for the tsunami victims.

The first 100 houses completed by the Ashram in Kerala include 18 in Ernakulam District, 66 in Alappuzha District and 16 in Kollam District.

The 16 houses in Kollam are in the village of Kulasekharapuram (Klappana Panchayat, three km from Amritapuri). These houses were built for people who formally lived right on the beach. In case of future tidal flooding, the houses were rebuilt three kilometres inland.

These houses will be officially handed over to the Government on 18 June 2005.

The 66 houses that the Ashram built in Valiya Azhikkal, Alappuzha District are on individual private land holdings [pictured below]. It has a remaining 84 houses to builed in Alappuzha District.

Each of these 100 houses, occupying 430 sq. feet, consists of two bedrooms, two toilets, a kitchen, a living room and a veranda. The electrical, plumbing and painting in these houses are also complete.

These house were built according to one of two plans: the ordinary houses and the tsunami-resistant houses. The families selected the plan according to their preference. The tsunami-resistant house is a two-storey structure built on concrete piles that extend seven metres underground and which extend upward in a column to the top of the superstructure.

These houses have been built in strict compliance with government plans. Government officials have been inspecting each stage of the construction work, before granting approval to the Ashram to proceed to the next stage of construction.

In Kollam District, construction of houses began on 11 May 2005, with the laying of the foundation stone. As of date, the piling work of almost 300 houses is finished, and 50 others have already been concreted as well.

In Ernakulam District, the Ashram was permitted to build 50 houses, but land for only 18 houses was originally allotted. Those 18 houses were completed on 11 April 2005. On 10 June, the Ashram started constructing the remaing 32 houses, following the government’s release of more land.

The Ashram plans to finish building as many houses as possible before the monsoon gets heavier.

— Sakshi

An alternative to traditional means of livelihood for the villagers

Amritapuri, 12 June, 2005

Lord Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita:
parasparam bhaavayanta param sreyam avaapsyata
[‘By nourishing each other, may you attain supreme prosperity’].

As part of the Amrita Tsunami Rehabilitation Project, the Math has initiated a project to make families living in the Alappad village more self-reliant.

Called Matru Gramam (‘Mother’s Village’), this project aims to equip every family with a means of livelihood, promote programs that can generate income using locally available resources, encourage self-employment, help in community health, sanitation and education, and revitalise local traditions and cultures. Representatives of all the 10 karayogams [local governing bodies] in Alappad panchayat are actively participating in this project.

The Ashram’s involvement in this project will take one of two forms: in the first instance, the Ashram will provide the necessary training, say, in telephone or computer repairing, to the villagers. They must then source for their own business. It is worthwhile to remember that the Ashram has already trained villagers in tailoring, and provided them with tailoring machines.

In the second instance, the Ashram will provide training in making household items like soap, clothes and pickles. The villagers who undergo this training will also receive financial aid from the government. Thereafter, the villagers are expected to assume responsibility for both the production and marketing of these household items. It is envisaged that different karayogams will produce different items. Each will sell their particular product to the other, thus paving the way for a mutually supporting and self-reliant community. The villagers will also be compelled to ensure that their products are of good quality, if they wish to get buyers. These villagers are expected to repay the loan from the government in due course.

In these ways, the Ashram aims to offer these villagers an alternative to their traditional means of livelihood, such as making coir. Ultimately, it is hoped that the Matru Gramam scheme can create matruka gramamideal villages. By thus uplifting the socioeconomic conditions of families in villages the mainstay of India’s culture and heritage the progress of the nation can be ensured.

— Tulasi

Amma lent support to the kerala government

12 June 2005 — Amritapuri

“The government and other organizations were not able to do much to help the tsunami victims, no matter how hard they tried. They were not able to ease the pain and sorrow of the people. But Amma came to our rescue. The Mata Amritanandamayi Math lent us a supporting hand,” said the Hounrable Tourism and Devaswom Board Minister of Kerala, Sri. K.C. Venugopal. “M.A. Math was leading the way for other organizations involved in the relief and rehabilitation efforts,” he added. Mr. Venugopal was inaugurating the distribution of the clothes and educational aids distribution for tsunami victims in Amritapuri.

Amma’s Ashram distributed a set of new clothes and educational aids such as books, instrument boxes and stationery to the children living in the tsunami-affected Alappad Panchayat. The beneficiaries of this distribution are the thousands of students who had attended the Yoga, Spoken English & Personality Development camp conducted earlier in Amritapuri.

Ashram residents had taken each of the children’s individual measurements during the camp. The clothes distributed to them were prepared according to these measurements.

“The days that you spent with Amma will guide you for the rest of your lives,” the minister told the children during his address.

Swami Amritakripananda Puri delivered the benedictory address. He reminded the gathering that the pleasures and pains of life were not caused by God, but were of our own making.

—Tulasi

What Government officials say about the Ashram s tsunami relief work

Government of Kerala

“In the coming years, India will be known—not for its population of 100 crores or its nuclear power—but for the far-reaching humanitarian activities of Mata Amritanandamayi.”
His Excellency R.L. Bhatia, Governor of Kerala, 27 September 2005
(on the occasion of distributing keys to 550 tsunami-relief houses constructed by the Ashram)

“Amma has proved that serving mankind is serving God…Amma is a living legend of motherly love…Amma’s humanitarian activities are a model for the world to follow. In reaching out to the tsunami victims, helping them and consoling them in an area where the government has failed, Amma has been successful. What no government has been able to do, Amma is doing. In this dark world someone has lit a candle. Instead of complaining about the darkness, follow the light.”
Sri. Therambil Ramakrishnan, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Kerala, 9 April 2005, Trissur

“Amma’s hands of goodness inspired tsunami relief and rehabilitation activities in the state. Endowed with a big heart, symbolizing the goodness of the society, Amma has completed the construction of tsunami houses at a fast pace..”
Sri. Oommen Chandy, Kerala Chief Minister, 26 June 2005, Amritapuri Ashram
(on the occasion of giving away keys to 89 houses built by the Ashram for tsunami victims)

“The Ashram’s relief activities are a role model for society”Amma’s ability to take quick decisions in tsunami relief is highly commendable”the government is highly indebted to the Ashram for taking the initiative to resolve even minor issues faced by people in their daily life.”
Sri. K.C. Venugopal, State Tourism Minister, 26 June 2005, Amritapuri Ashram
(on occasion of Ashram-built homes being given to tsunami victims)

“I don’t know how to thank Amma for her offer of unconditional aid and the plethora of services she has rendered…The government has not been able to keep its promise of rehabilitating all the victims before the monsoon. The relief work done by Amma and the math is an example for others to emulate.”
Sri. Oommen Chandy, Chief Minister of Kerala, 19 June 2005
(on occasion of giving away the Ashram-built homes–the first tsunami-relief homes built in India according to the government plan)

“The government is indebted to the Ashram for finishing the work in record time, understanding the suffering of the people. Those who have been working on the construction of these houses are role-models and are to be applauded.”
Sri. Babu Divakaran, Kerala Minister of Labour, 19 June 2005
(Inaugural address at a ceremony where keys being to houses built by the Ashram were given to recipients.)

“The government and other organizations were not able to do much to help the tsunami victims, no matter how hard they tried. They were not able to ease the pain and sorrow of the people. But Amma came to our rescue. The Mata Amritanandamayi Math lent us a supporting hand…. M.A. Math lead the way for other organizations involved in the relief and rehabilitation efforts…. The days that you spent with Amma will guide you for the rest of your lives,”
Sri. K.C. Venugopal, Kerala Minister of Tourism and Devaswom Board, 12 June 2005, Amritapuri
(speaking to the children who had attended Ashram’s personality development camps, which were conducted as part of tsunami relief)

“There is no need to have any anxiety about the success of any project launched by the Mata Amritanandamayi Math. I have firm faith that any noble endeavour in society will have Amma’s grace and blessings.”
Sri. Tiruvanchoor Radhakrishan, Kerala Minister of Forest and Water Resources
5 June 2005 (speaking at the inauguration of the Harita Teeram Project)

“Amma and the Mata Amritanandamayi Ashram are the embodiments of compassion. On behalf on the National and State Governments, let me offer our gratitude for the immense relief work done by the Ashram. Amma”s work extends all over the world and in all parts of India.”
Shri K.M. Mani, Minister of Revenue, Kerala, 13 January 2005
(at the inauguration of the temporary shelters built by the Ashram in Srayikkad, Alappad Panchayat, Kollam District, Kerala)

Government of Sri Lanka

From a letter from the Sri Lankan Government inviting Amma to Sri Lanka

“… to bless Sri Lankans of all faiths and races and to bring peace and prosperity in their lives… We are deeply touched by the great spiritual and humanitarian work undertaken by Your Holiness and by your Ashram to the poor and needy people in many parts of the world… Your gesture to dedicate one billion Indian rupees for the welfare of tsunami victims will surely inspire many other organizations to do likewise.”
Sri. K.N. Douglas Devananda, the Sri Lankan Minister of Agricultural Marketing Development,
Co-operative Development, Hindu Affairs and Minister Assisting Education