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”.

Deaddiction in Kerala by American University students

Two PreMed students from the USA chose to spend part of their summer break doing a rural internship project organised by Amrita University. Roshan Nair (Siena College, New York) and Divya Ramachandran (Loyola University, Illinois) spent 3 weeks, from mid July 2014, learning about the problems of alcohol addiction in Kerala. The students set a list of objectives and created a Powerpoint presentation on the dangers of alcohol addiction before setting out. They visited Njaarackal, Kalpetta, Mananthavaady and Pulpally areas to learn how the coastal and the tribal people are affected by alcohol, drugs, and tobacco. The team explained about all this with the help of some videos.

Together they all pledged not to use alcohol and quit smoking.

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“It was shocking to see that even students in first standard are aware of most issues dealing with alcohol, because they see it daily in their own family and around” says Divya.

“At the end of each class period, the children understood that they could trust us, so many of the students spoke to us freely about their family problems. I was extremely moved by all of the stories that I heard: each one left a deep impression on me while constantly reminding me that the topics we were discussing were the harsh realities that these children faced each day” said Roshan.

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Reflecting on her experience, Roshan Nair related, “In the past three weeks, I feel that I have learned more about life, the world, and myself, than I have in the past two years at college. I was able to experience and understand the pain and misery of the underprivileged tribal people who are addicted to alcohol and tobacco. Additionally, I saw on a daily basis, how these substances have torn families apart and destroyed their peace. In retrospect, I feel that perhaps Amma directed us to do this project to identify with their pain and understand how deeply rooted these problems are in their society. I am inexpressibly grateful to Amma for this invaluable opportunity.”​

– Dass

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Amrita SeRVe snapshots

Nearly 11 months have passed since Amrita SeRVe was officially launched during Amma’s 60th birthday celebrations. Village clusters have been identified in 27 states of India and work has begun in the seven focus areas of Health, Education, Water and Sanitation, Agriculture, Eco-Friendly Infrastructure, Income Generation and Self-Empowerment.
Many activities are ongoing in all states. Below we provide a snap shot of some of these activities.

 


In Sawai Madhopur district in Rajasthan, as in many other parts in India, women will often not sit on a chair when men are present. They will keep their faces covered with veils. Amrita SeRVe is endeavoring to empower them through forming self-reliant groups or SRGs that will tackle problems in areas of Health, Education, Agriculture, Water and Sanitation, etc.
In rural India, there are few doctors and nurses. In our villages in the Kondagaon district of Chattisgarh, as in some other states, trained health workers are now regularly conducting medical camps. Training at the Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences will empower more SRG members focusing on health so that they can themselves solve basic problems in the community.
Open defecation, where it exists, contaminates the environment and causes many health problems. And where toilets exist, often the waste water ends up polluting water bodies. Our goal is to address these issues as we begin to solve the problem of sanitation. In our villages in Khurda district of Odisha and in some other states, the quest has already begun.
In many rural places, women and children have to fetch water from faraway places. In our tribal villages in Wayanad district in Kerala, for instance, people needed to haul water from the bottom of a hill for their daily needs. Now wells have been dug and Amrita SeRVe has made arrangements to bring relief to this community.
Planting trees, making check dams, and digging ponds – all these help to harvest rainwater and recharge ground water. In Ransai village in Maharashtra, the goal is that the well that now dries up during the summer season will have water all year long. The first step is to raise awareness, so that all villagers enthusiastically come together and participate in watershed projects.

 


Raising awareness is also the first step to making the transition to organic agriculture. Farmers from many of our villages, such as in Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat, are being trained to adopt natural ways of farming. How wonderful it would be, if the whole village completely stopped the use of expensive and harmful chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
Over 30% of the people in Bihar are illiterate. The Amrita SeRVe education team is committed to changing that. It is focusing both on adult literacy and back-to-school camps especially for children who have recently discontinued studies. For those in school, free tuition support is being provided so that they may do well in studies.
Free tuition classes are also on going in Madhya Pradesh and many other states. The tuition teacher is often a young graduate from the village itself, and sometimes has students from many different classes. Innovative learning programs on tablets help as the students are empowered to learn together in groups and on their own.
For youth who have no jobs, Amrita SeRVe is providing support through vocational training. The goal is to check migration and provide opportunities for income generation in the village itself. Using local resources and making value-added products, especially from agricultural produce has begun in our villages in many states such as Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.
In villages such as Udalaka and Asthal in Uttarakhand, Amrita SeRVe is continuing the work of the post-disaster reconstruction and relief teams … re-building communities and lives. Several people from these villages met Amma for the first time when they traveled to Amritapuri during Amma’s 60th birthday celebrations. Amma continues to remain a strong presence in their lives.

“I have only one desire now – to meet Amma soon,” say others, like Neetu Devi. Perhaps the opportunity will come soon – during Amma’s 61st birthday celebrations. Amrita SeRVe is now serving in 27 states of India. Villagers everywhere are making plans to come to Amritapuri for Amma’s darshan. The miracle of Amma’s love is starting to change their very lives.

When Amma visited Ranchi in Jharkhand in 2006, the villagers in Dev Gain met Amma for the first time. “Not a day goes by when I don’t remember Amma,” says Bharath. Today Bharath coordinates all Amrita SeRVe activities in his village, chosen as one of Amma’s 101 villages from all over India.
– Dass