White Canes to the blind youth in Kenya

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On behalf of Embracing the World, Mr. Nagesh Karuturi, chairman of MAM Charitable Trust, Kenya, is handing over the first canes to students of Thika school for the visually impaired, Kenya.

On the occasion of Amma’s 61st birthday, Embracing the World and AYUDH Kenya volunteers handed over the first set of  canes to blind youth at Thika school, Kenya.

The visually-impaired school has a mixture of students who have varying degree of vision loss, from albino children with photosensitive eyes to completely blind children. Yet, not a single one of them had owned a cane, which can make life much significantly easier for a blind person.

Upon receiving the canes, the entire children body did a big “thank you” jig by clapping, clicking and stamping the floor in succession. Two girls came forward, and one of them thanked AYUDH and the good work being done by the White C(r)ane project, while the second girl recited a beautiful prayer. AYUDH promised them to be back with more canes in the near future and to make sure that every child who needs a white cane in the school gets it. AYUDH has already collected funds for a total of 300 canes and is currently looking into finding the right sizes and models matching the needs of children and youth in Kenya.

 

 

 

 

 

Empowerment through sanitation in Odisha

27 Sep 2014, Amritapuri
Amritavarsham – Amma’s 61st Birthday Celebrations

Public hygiene and improved sanitation for its population is India’s newest priority; in order to achieve this goal, India aims to end open defecation by 2019. Moreover there is a lack of sanitation awareness in these communities that consequently arise in preventable diseases.

 

To address the problems of lack of toilets in the country, Ammachi Labs of Amrita University is rolling out vocational courses such as Masonry, Plumbing and Electrical Wiring through which women in villages are being taught construction, installation and maintenance of toilets. This project is creating ambassadors for women safety and hygiene.

As part of the first phase of its latest project, 20 women in the village of Bhoi Sahi in Odisha have become agents of change and an inspiration for all women, having completed building fully functional toilets in their own homes.

The women started building the toilets earlier this month and have completed 9 toilets with another 11 more on the way.

Amma’s initiatives in empowering women have taken an innovative turn with the introduction of technology to deliver vocational education. The Bhoi Sahi women are thrilled to acquire new skills and learn through computers. One of the students, Shantilata explained that currently the women travel one kilometer to relieve themselves in the field. Many of them travel there in the early mornings and late at nights to attain some sort of privacy.

“It is quite brilliant what Amrita University is trying to do through this initiative – converting their most acute problem which is open defecation and lack of basic hygiene, into an opportunity to solve their immediate problems on ground as well as facilitating the increase in quality of life through skill development.”, quotes Sreeram, a field researcher at Ammachi Labs.

Ammachi Labs has provided vocational training using technology to more than 4000 women from rural and tribal areas, to date. Ammachi Labs’ revolutionary approach strives to achieve economic and social empowerment by using computerised vocational education training (cVET). The lab has developed Life Enrichment Education (LEE) courses to address existing social issues in the communities and practical training to support these women in acquiring new skills, we ensure each student enjoys a holistic experience. LEE awareness workshops were conducted and activities on hygiene, and have plans to deliver gender equality, human rights, and financial literacy modules to enhance their current understanding. With time, leaders emerged from the group of women who showed increasing amounts of initiative to sustain this project.

 

 

“With these new toilets, many expressed that they would feel safer and feel better about themselves; they see the short term rewards of having a toilet while reaping long term benefits for attaining a skill that they can generate an income for themselves and ensure the health of their families. It is our goal for these ladies that upon completion of the project, they form a women’s cooperative and receive support from one another” said Prof. R. Bhavani Rao, Director of Ammachi Labs.

Inspired by this Vishnu Prasad, the Sarpanch of Bhoisaahi came as a testament of his support for the project. He has sanctioned these women to construct 3,000 toilets for 10,000 Rs per toilet.

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Empowering women through vocational training

27 Sep 2014, Amritapuri
Amritavarsham – Amma’s 61st Birthday Celebrations

Amma’s initiatives in empowering women have taken an innovative turn with the introduction of technology to deliver vocational education with, more than 2,000 women have been trained in the last year alone through 33 centers in 12 Indian states. During Amritavarsham61, Radha Mohandas Agarwal, Chief Whip, UP and Vellappilly Natesan gave away certificates of completion to graduates in such fields as plumbing, nursing, masonry and jewelry-making.

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Vocational-training is an important part of the MAM’s Amrita SeRVe village-empowerment program.

AMMACHI Lab’s Heartfelt Arts empowers women artisans and cooperatives to leverage their newly learned skills into creating beautiful handicrafts and products that generate sustainable income for their communities. In attendance, are hundreds of women artisans from 16 centers across India. On this occassion, Vellapally Natesan, General Secretary of the SNDP launched a new website www.heartfeltarts.com where they will be able to showcase their handicrafts.

Amrita Nidhi pension for widows and handicapped extended by 30,000 more

27 Sep 2014, Amritapuri
Amritavarsham – Amma’s 61st Birthday Celebrations

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The Mata Amritanandamayi Math would like to extend the reach of its Amrita Nidhi pension program, from 69,000 to 99,000–30,000 more pensions.  On this occassion of Amma’s 61st Birthday, certificates of enrollment and first pension checks to 100 of the new beneficiaries were distributed.

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Vidyamritam scholarship program extended from 46,000 to 51,000 beneficiaries

27 Sep 2014, Amritapuri
Amritavarsham – Amma’s 61st Birthday Celebrations

Mata Amritanandamayi Math extended the reach of its Vidyamritam Scholarships for the underprivileged by another 5,000.

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Vidyamritam started in 2007 and, through it, 46,000 children are currently receiving scholarships in the form of a monthly stipend until they finish their education. Vidyamritam’s reach was extended by another 5,000 students from 46,000 to 51,000 during Amritavarsham.

Approximately 100 new recipients received their scholarship checks on this occassion.

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Community wedding conducted by Amma

27 Sep 2014 – Amritavarsham, Amma’s 61st Birthday celebrations

Amma conducted marriage of 63 impoverished couples, with MAM providing all marriage clothing, jewellery, feast and other arrangements needed for the marriage for free.

For the last so many years Amma has been conducting the mass marriage during her birthday celebrations.

 

Vastra danam – Giving 1.5 Lakh Saris Away

27 Sep 2014 – Amritavarsham, Amma’s 61st Birthday celebrations

Amma and former Justice Sridevi distributed saris to Amrita Nidhi pensioners and mothers of students enrolled in Vidyamrita Scholarship for the poor program. (Total of 1.5 lakh saris were given away throughout the birthday programs. Representatives of villages will take saris back to their villages)

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Amritadyuti Solar Home-Lighting System

27 Sep 2014, Amritapuri
Amritavarsham 61, Amma’s Birthday celebrations

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Amrita Centre for Nanosciences introduced Amritadyuti, the Solar Home-Lighting System during Amma’s 61st birthday celebrations. This low-costs system consists of three LED lights, a radio and a mobile-charger powered from a solar-power system. It has been designed as a package for Amrita Kuteeram homes and village hamlets (of 101 villages of Amrita SeRVe) so as to ensure them power even if they are cut off from the main power grid.

C.N. Balakrishnan, Minister of Co-Operation unveiled Amritadyuti.

The Minister also unveiled Amrita Karshakan, a solution for farmers facing serious financial problems with regard to receiving fair compensation for their produce. It enables farmers to trade using SMS, Web and mobile platform as well as kiosks. The system also helps beneficiaries getting locally grown produce at a fair price in an efficient way. This will be a major contribution in Amrita SeRVE’s 101 Villages project.

MAM built 500 more houses in Uttarakhand and Kerala

27 Sep 2014, Amritapuri
Amritavarsham – Amma’s 61st Birthday celebrations

As part of Amma’s dream that everyone in the world should have a solid roof over their head, the Mata Amritanandamayi Math has constructed more than 45,000 homes for the homeless in more than 75 locations across India since 1998. Often, in response to floods, earthquakes and other natural disasters, entire villages are reconstructed at a time.

This year, the Math has constructed 500 houses in various locations in Kerala. And, in Uttarakhand, where the Math launched an Rs. 50-crore relief-and-rehabilitation package for flooding victims in 2013, the Math is constructing 250 houses. Sri. Rajnath Singh, the Hon. Union Minister for Home Affairs bestows keys and certificates to beneficiaries of this project, some of whom have come all the way from Uttarakhand.

Amrita Sphuranam, village electrification project launched

The Amrita Sphuranam project of Amrita Centre for Wireless Networks and Applications, the Mata Amritanandamayi Math will be providing solar-powered electrification for the entire rural village of Motakkara in Wayanad. Amrita Sphuranam was created as part of Amrita University’s Live-in-Labs Program and the Mata Amritanandamayi Math’s Amrita SeRVE initiative to make 101 villages in India totally self-reliant.

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Kerala Chief Minister Shri Oommen Chandy launched the solar electrification project “Amrita Sphuranam” on the occasion of Amritavarsham 61 at Amritapuri on Saturday.

Addressing the gathering, Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said “Amma is a strength to the society and her birthday celebrations serve to spread the message of goodness and peace to the world”.