Amma announces one million for Japan tsunami relief

Tokyo, Japan, July 23

Amma announced a donation of one million US dollars towards the relief and rehabilitation of Japanese disaster victims, particularly for the education of children who lost both their parents in the devastating March 11 tsunami.

The donation will be made by Mata Amritanandamayi Center (MA Center) USA along with Amma’s global charitable network, known as ‘Embracing The World.’

The announcement was made at a crowded public program in the Grand Ballroom of Garden City Shinagawa.  Mr. Keiki Soma,representative of the Miyagi Governor also Deputy Director of the Miyagi Prefectural Government Office was present on this occasion.

You may recollect that ( read blog ) Amma’s volunteers have been actively participating in the relief work from March 13, just two days after the earthquake and tsunami. Their activities included cleaning rubble and debris from houses and agricultural land, assisting the elderly and children at relief camps, distribution of food, household utensils, medicine and other daily necessities. In addition to providing the essentials, the volunteers provided spiritual and psychological counselling to the local people in the tsunami affected areas.

Relief work at Rikuzentakata, Japan

Volunteer doing hand massage for one of the refugee at the camp

Volunteers helping with the laundry

Miyoki Ochi and Minako Hayashi, washing the useable clothes

Within three days of the disaster, Embracing the World sent its first group of volunteers to the affected areas to distribute food and water for the refugees. After two additional trips to Ishinomaki, ETW’s relief teams focused their efforts on the village of Rikuzentakata, a remote coastal town of 23,000 people in dire need of volunteers and support. After their initial visit, the city’s Disaster Relief Management Office submitted an official request to ETW to continue its disaster relief efforts there. About 10% of Rikuzentakata’s population died in the disaster, including about 1/3 of the city officials. At the end of April 2011, at least 70% of the original population was spread across 88 refugee centers, as their households were damaged or destroyed. ETW volunteers worked in coordination with Rikuzentakata Disaster Volunteer Center, concentrating their efforts on whatever was deemed most urgent each day.

Their activities included: supporting the refugees in the camps by cooking and serving food; providing daycare for small children, as well as maintenance and laundry services; removing mud and debris from damaged houses; cleaning up public spaces and damaged government facilities (like the local fire department); sorting and transporting relief supplies; and distribution of clean drinking water. The volunteers also worked to clear rubble from farmers’ fields, so they could resume cultivation.

Beyond continuing to help meet the immediate needs of the people of Rikuzentakata, ETW’s plans for long-term relief include the provision of emotional support for those affected, as well as offering free courses in Amma’s Amrita Yoga and IAM Meditation Technique. ETW also plans to ship relief materials to the disaster-affected area as needed.

Read the blogs from here

July 23, 2010, Google Map

Rikuzentakata July 23, 2010, Google Maps

April 1, 2011 Google Map

Rikuzentakata April 1, 2011 Google Map

Prayer circles for Japan

Amritapuri

Since first day after the earthquake in Japan, there were prayer circles for the victims every day. Daily after the evening bhajans, all have been chanting 108 ‘Lokah Samastha’ mantra sitting around the map of Japan with lamps lit around it.

242 houses handed over to Raichur flood affected

Raichur, Karnataka, 4 August 2010:

Raichur houses

Mata Amritanandamayi Math provides 242 free houses to flood-hit
242 families from the flooded islands of Kurvakurda and Mangigadda received new homes today in the village of Dongrampur, in the Raichur District of Karnataka. As part of its Rs. 50-crore relief-and-rehabilitation project {news} for victims of unprecedented flooding in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh late last year, the Mata Amritanandamayi Math (MAM) has pledged to build 2,000 new houses {news} for victims who lost their homes in the flooding. In February 2010, MAM became the first organisation to complete homes for the flood victims, when it completed 100 new houses just 20 days {news} after beginning construction. At the time, while presiding over the inauguration ceremony, the Chief Minister of Karnataka, Shri. B.S. Yeddyurappa  lauded MAM’s efforts, and said he hoped the speed and efficiency with which MAM had completed the homes would inspire other NGOs to move quickly to help the flood victims.

The procurement of materials, management of the project, and liasion with government officials as well as members of the community was all handled by MAM.  Beyond that, many of Amma’s devotees and well wishers from all parts of India as well as University students from Japan {news}  volunteered their time and energy to help build the houses so quickly. The villagers of Dongrampur, where the houses are being constructed for the people from the flooded islands, were themselves extremely cooperative, despite the fact that their own houses have not yet been constructed.  MAM intends to build an additional 500 houses for the villagers of Dongrampur.  In addition to this, the people of the two island villages of Kurvakala and Agrahara are also being rehabilitated to a site on the mainland at Atkur.  All four affected villages have been regularly getting flooded during the monsoon season; the villagers have expressed great relief at being relocated to the safety of the mainland.

More than one million people were displaced by last year’s flooding.

The Chief Minister was also present for the handover of the 242 homes, where he exhorted the villagers to treat their new houses as temples. “Every morning, when I start my prayers, I remember Mata Amritanandamayi and all her good work. You are fortunate you are being given these new houses. Earlier, you people lived without toilets, electricity or water. All that is being provided to you now.” Revenue Minister G Karunakara Reddy, Housing Minister Katta Subramania Naidu and Fisheries Minister Anand Asnotikar also attended the function.

Swami Amritageetananda Puri, representing MAM, and Karnataka’s Revenue Minister, Shri. G. Karunakara Reddy, Housing Minister Shri. Katta Subramania Naidu and Fisheries Minister Anand Asnotikar were also present at the function.

Raichur houses

MAM provided each house with electricity and clean drinking water, and also paved new roads for the villagers. Rangamma, wife of Dodda Rangappa, from the island of Kurvaka, was one of the recipients. Expressing gratitude for her new home where she will live along with her family, Rangamma said that she was very happy when her name was announced as one of the beneficiaries. Even before the flooding, she never dreamt of living in such a well-built house with all standard amenities.

— Tulasi

Japanese students help Raichur housing project

10 March 2010, Raichur, Karnataka

Sixty students from Japan’s IVUSA (International Volunteer University Student Association)   came from Tokyo to join Amma’s house construction project at Raichur in Karnataka.

They stayed for more than a week and started spending their days in hot sun helping the construction of the houses. Temperature touched above 42 degrees and many of the students and accompanying bramhacharis fell sick. Amma had sent them umbrella-hats to ward off effects of excessive heat.

Most of the students enjoied working at the construction site during this short visit. They even spent time with the local villagers and children, celebrating the Holi festival at the nearby village. During their free-time, they trekked to visit a Shiva temple atop a closeby hill.

As they arrived  in Mumbai and later in Delhi after their assignment,  all of them met Amma before returning back to their country.

When asked what they had to say about their visit, Yukie said “Incredible India!”.

– Tulasi

Amma to start an orphanage in Haiti

orphanage-haiti

Br. Dayamrita with orphanage children of Haiti

9 March 2010, San Ramon, USA
Amma is starting an orphanage in Haiti in order to care of children who lost their relatives in the earthquake of 12 January 2010.
A four-story house rented in Laboulle, a suburb in the hills outside of Port-au-Prince, which is in the process  of being converted into an orphanage. The orphanage will initially assume care for 25 orphaned children.

Reports say that after the earthquake Haiti is now home to nearly one-million orphaned children.

Other Haiti relief-and-rehabilitation work includes the shipment of a container of medical supplies, which was sent two weeks following the disaster.  The supplies included assorted medications, surgical equipment, feeding and drainage tubes, assorted wound-care supplies, diagnostic supplies,     syringes, needles, sheets and blankets, drapes, tents, sleeping bags, face masks, obstetric and infant-care supplies, wheelchairs, crutches, braces, splints, protein powders, saline solution and disinfectants.

orphanage-haiti

Br. Dayamrita with orphanage children of Haiti

Orphanage in Haiti will be its third such institution; the others being Amrita Niketan in Kerala, India (1989) and Amrita Watoto Boma in Nairobi(2009).

The new orphanage in Haiti is being developed specifically through the Mata Amritanandamayi Center’s Health Care Charities, Inc., and the Amma Foundation of Canada.

— Das

Amma will inspire others

February 17 – Bengaluru, Bharata Yatra 2010    `

The Chief Minister of Karnataka, BS Yeddyurappa, was on hand today to receive the symbolic key of the first 100 houses built by MAM for the 2009 flood victims. Upon receiving the key from Amma, the Chief Minister in turn handed it over to the deputy commissioner of the Raichur district. The ashram is planning to build a total of 2000 houses in Karnataka. Earlier the Ashram had announced 50 crores for the rehabilitation of the flood affected area.

After handing over the key, the Chief Minister addressed the packed gathering on the Ashram grounds and said, “For people like me in public life and people living in urban areas with life’s tensions, Amma has come to shower Her Love. All over the world people wait for Amma’s arrival and Darshan like the proverbial chataka birds waiting for the rain.”

The Chief Minister said that the flood-affected areas have been severely damaged; millions of acres of crops have been destroyed, and more than 100,000 houses have been affected.  He commended Amma on setting an example of how to react to a crisis and how honored he felt to have the opportunity to meet Amma.

The Chief Minister shared with everyone how the MAM’s involvement with the government came about. ‘On 15th January MAM entered into an MOU (memorandum of understanding) with the government. And within 20 days, Amma has completed 100 houses and the key has been handed over to me. I am grateful to Amma.  This will inspire other donors to complete projects with the same zeal and urgency.’

Prior to coming to the stage. the Chief Minister had an opportunity to meet with Amma privately.  In that meeting the local MLA, Miss Shobha Karandlaje, proposed that Amma set up a multi speciality hospital.

The Chief Minister ended his address by requesting AMMA to visit the flood affected areas and console the affected.

–Kannadi