Amma’s Women Empowerment Project is Role Model for Entire World says U.N.

3 May 2014 – Amritapuri Ashram

More than 1,500 women from various parts of India poured into Amritapuri for the two-day event “A Celebration of Empowerment.” This was the capstone event of AMMACHI Labs’ Women Empowerment project, co-funded by the United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF) and Amrita University. The participants all shared one thing in common: they were graduates of AMMACHI Labs’ unique computerized vocational education and life-enrichment education courses.

Video: Amma talks about the plight of women and relates a heartrending true story that illustrates why programs like AMMACHI Labs’ Women Empowerment project are so important. This project successfully trained more than 3,000 women with vocational and life skills in less than 18 months.

The chief guests of the celebration, who graced the dias along with Amma, were Her Excellency the Governor of Kerala Smt. Sheila Dikshit; the Head of the United Nations in India, Ms. Lise Grande; and renowned film actor Kunchacko Boban.

Ms. Grande praised the AMMACHI Labs’ Women Empowerment project, saying, “[The United Nations] scours the world looking for the best projects, the most innovative projects, the projects which will have the highest impact. The one we’ve chosen for India is this project, and we chose it because AMMACHI Labs is the most creative way of empowering women. Of all of the projects which the UN funds around the world, this is the one dearest to our heart. It’s the one were most proud of. And it’s the one that we intend to take to the rest of the world so that they can learn from what you have achieved.”

Over a span of 18 months, 3,136 women were trained via 28 of Ammachi Labs’ Women Empowerment Centers across Kerala and Tamil Nadu, both permanent and mobile. In the process, they set up 30 Self Help Groups, seven small businesses, and earned a collective income of more than one million rupees [Rs. 10 lakhs] within 3 months of completing the course. Courses included plumbing, fabric-painting and jewelry-making. Furthermore, the graduates also led more than 70 community awareness and action campaigns, ranging from alcohol abuse to environmental protection.

“Empowerment to us is more than mere economic success. The goal is to equip women with an enhanced ability to participate in the democratic process and increased capacity to make decisions at the individual, family and community levels,” said Director of AMMACHI Labs, Professor Bhavani. “Economic and socio-economic empowerment of women were achieved simultaneously through the delivery of AMMACHI Labs’ cVET and LEE program, both tailored to the participant’s specific needs.”

Governor Dikshit praised Amma as both a humanitarian and a spiritual leader. “Amma, in the spirit with which she works—with love and compassion and an ever-smiling face—gives us all the courage to stand up and live by the ideals that she has taught us. … My congratulations and grateful thanks to her for having given confidence and equality to our women.”

Both UN Representative Grande and Governor Dikshit, together with Amma, then awarded prizes to 23 women who’s AMMACHI Labs’ Self-Help Groups have excelled since their training.

Award-winning actor Kunchacko Boban offered his support of the project and said, “Women Empowerment … is something the Mata Amritanandamayi Math understands, not just in words, but in deeds.”

The program concluded with a short talk by Amma. “Today is a day of joy and satisfaction,” Amma said. “Women face many difficulties and challenges in daily life. It is good if we can help inspire them. The difficulties that the common woman faces in her family and social life are not small. There are economic problems, family problems, safety problems… For women in such circumstances to be able to find a profession and thereby stand on their own two feet comes as a great source of relief for them. That said, even then, problems persist—problems at home, problems with their children, problems at work… When these combine, it can be a tremendous weight to bear. When such women are provided with self-confidence, training and wise-counseling, their lives develop new meaning. In reality, the key to woman’s liberty lies in her own hands. In order to realize this, women need determination, forbearance and constant effort. On our part, we need to provide them with a little encouragement and guidance. If provided with the right opportunities, any woman can become a role-model for society.”

Amma then gave darshan to all the women and to their families. These ladies had put up stalls in the ashram to showcase their achievements. The stalls contained artwork, jewelry, painted fabrics, bags, pillows and other products they had produced. But when visiting the stalls, nothing shined brighter than the confident smiles on the faces of the Women Empowerment graduates.

– Kannadi

Japanese students bring warmth to Uttarakhand

February 2014, Uttarakhand

A group of 73 students from all over Japan came together and travelled to India to help take part in Amma’s rehabilitation of the areas devastated by the 2013 floods in the state of Uttarakhand. Amma pledged to rebuild 500 homes in the area. The first phase of that work is going on in and around the village of Chandrapuri in the district of Rudraprayag, on the way up to Kedarnath.

Students from the IVUSA (International Volunteer University Student Association) organization have collaborated with Embracing the World since 1998, participating in projects to build homes for tsunami refugees in both Kerala and Tamil Nadu after the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, and more recently in 2011 and 2012 in Raichur, after devastating floods in Karnataka.

Many of the volunteers in this group were coming back to India for the second or third time for this purpose.

Remarkably for many of the students, these few weeks of time they spent volunteering, involving long days of hard physical labor, is their only vacation for the year. Inspired by Amma’s own life of dedication and service, they choose to spend this time not for their own enjoyment, but to do something for the benefit of the less fortunate.

Upon their arrival, the students were given a formal welcome and honored as official state guests by Chief Minister of Uttarakhand, Shri Harish Rawat. When addressing the students the Chief Minister said, “Amma is doing wonderful work and if you are with her your path in life will become clear.” The Chief Minister spent some time interacting with everyone and expressed his admiration and support for the students’ efforts.

Over the next several days the students were involved in all aspects of the construction work, including concreting, assembling the metal foundation beams, and transporting building materials from the riverbed up steep hills to the sites. The students are an extremely well organized group and divided themselves up into smaller teams, spreading out to work throughout the valley at all the different construction sites.

Each day when they showed up to do their seva they were met by scores of local villagers who were swept up by the Japanese students’ enthusiasm and compelled to join in the fun. With their open heartedness and spirit of selfless service, the students created joyful interactions, much to the amusement of their local Indian co-workers. Despite the work being very hard on a physical level no one minded. It was really like a party and everyone could be seen smiling and laughing as they worked.

Most of the work involved bringing building materials to the hamlet of Batwadi Sonar where a community hall is being built for the villagers. All day the students and villagers together hiked up and down the steep hill to the hamlet carrying stones and sand that will be used to build the hall. At the end of each day, just before the sun went down everyone would gather together around a giant Pipal tree in the village and sing bhajans together. While there might not have been any professional singers or musicians there, the innocence and beauty of the singing directly carried over from the joy and cooperation the students and villagers had shared working together all day. {Read Blogs here}

On their final morning of work the Japanese students introduced the local villagers to the Amala Bharatam Campaign. Again working side by side with all the locals, the Japanese students fanned out and collected trash throughout the area. Dozens of bags of trash were filled from the riverbed, which is sadly still full of debris from the flooding many months before.

Before leaving the Japanese students took part in a formal cultural program held at one of the local schools just down the road in the town of Chandrapuri. The Rudraprayag District Collector, Mr. Raghav Langar presided over the festivities which included many songs and dances performed by both the Japanese and local students and was attended by hundreds of local people.

When it was time to say goodbye, both the students and locals were sad to bid farewell to their newfound friends. They Japanese students donated their time, energy, and enthusiasm, but the volunteers said that they received much more than we gave.

In the sharing of loving care across cultural boundaries and language barriers, the line between “giving” and “receiving” disappeared, and volunteers and recipients find that they are not so different after all. In truth, even though they spoke Japanese and Garwhali, they share a common mother tongue: the universal language of Love.

– Nath

Read blogs from Uttarakhand

Electrician course for tribals in Attappadi

In Attappady, an electrician course was conducted at Kottatara Karandara Community Hall for Adivasi youth. The 45 day long course was organized under the auspices of the Amrita Self-Reliant Villages program (Amrita SeRVe) in association with the Ministry of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSME), Government of India.

Amrita SeRVe is a program initiated with the goal of helping 101 villages throughout India establish their required infrastructure to become self-reliant role-model villages. The course was organized on the basis of requests received from the chiefs of the tribal hamlets, known locally as Mooppan.


Electrician certificate is being given by Mooppan

The trained electricians performed the wiring of two homes and finished incomplete electrical works in other homes using the electrical supplies provided to them during the course and decided to perform repairs for free for all people in the hamlets.

Amrita SeRVe project launched in Attapadi

During Amma’s 60th birthday celebrations the adoption project of 101 villages throughout India was launched.

The village of Mulli in the Attappady region of Kerala was one among those chosen villages.


Attappady is a tribal area nestled deep in the Western Ghats mountain range in the Palakkad district of Kerala. 85% of this pristine land are reserved forests protected by law and inhabited by the indigenous tribes spread over 189 hamlets. The earth is clean and rivers fed by sparkling mountain streams, enriched with herbal essences from plants the waters pass by in the forest. The village of Mulli in this forest is inhabited by the tribes belonging to the Kurumba clan.


The Amrita SeRVe project was launched in this village on January 25th 2014. The De-addiction and Rehabilitation Centre were inaugurated and Amrita RITE (Rural India Tablet Education) project was also started. The recruitment camp for trainers for Amrita RITE and field workers for De-addiction and Rehabilitation Center began with a class on health and yoga.


After the launch event, the coordinators visited various project locations and distributed rice, pulses and clothing to members of the community.

Financial support for Idukki landslide victims

MAM to give Rs. 100,000 to Families of People Who Perished in Idukki Landslide

The Mata Amritanandamayi Math (MAM) will be providing Rs. one lakh to families in Kerala’s Idukki District who lost family members in landslides that struck the region in early August.

The fatal landslides in the region were triggered by one of the heaviest monsoon seasons in Kerala in 20 years. At one point, the district experienced 17 landslides within 24 hours.

“Amma was deeply saddened when she learned of the tragedy,” says Swami Jnanamritananda Puri, MAM’s sannyasi in charge of Idukki District. “She wanted us to reach out to them to show them that we are with them during this difficult time.”

The families will receive the money on the 27th of September during Amritavarsham60.

On the same day, MAM will be officially launching its 50-crore relief-and-rehabilitation programme for Uttarakhand, through which it will rebuild 500 homes destroyed in 42 villages in the region’s June 2013 flash-flooding. It will also be adopting 101 villages throughout India in order to make them self-reliant.

“Whenever the people of India need her, Amma is always there,” says Jnanamritananda. “It doesn’t matter which corner of the country. Amma has responded to disasters in Kerala, Gujarat, Bihar, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Maharasthra. She feels the people’s pain as her own and reacts accordingly.”

Safety for women, Security for mentally challenged; a device by Amrita

appsHow can anyone live in fear? Most women are victimized for no fault of their own unable to travel and perform mundane activities. In discussions with Amrita University’s Centre for Cyber Security, Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi (Amma), stressed the need for developing technology to protect and make Indian women feel more safe.

According to Dr. Krishnashree Achuthan, the director of Amrita University’s Centre for Cyber Security Systems & Networks, “Amma told us that we should try to develop a device that women can wear secretly through which they can alert the police and family members if they become in danger. With Amma’s directive in mind, we came designed the Amrita Personal Safety System (APSS).”

The Amrita Personal safety system (APSS) device is wearable devices that will never make a women feel all alone anywhere anymore! This device will empower women to trigger communication with family and police when in distress. The device will remain inconspicuous to the offender and yet easily triggerable by the victim with multiple options to ensure stealthy and secure communication. With the ability to record conversations, and communicate immediately by the press of a button or using sms and voice calls to multiple destinations, this device also offers automated information on nearest police station, hospitals, fire stations to the victim to get immediate help. The device will also have ability to video tape events in the near future. The device is designed to function even in rural areas where the speed of the communication is very minimal. Also this device combines many location aware technologies intelligently, to be able to work in indoor and outdoor environments with minimal power consumption.

This customizable device developed by Amrita’s Centre for Cyber Security provides flexibility in design for wearability, and integrates over 15 features pertaining to safety and security of women and other potential victims.
This device can also be used as a safety device for mentally challenged citizens and children with many functionalities to quickly identify their whereabouts amongst other functions.

The APSS  will be dedicated to society during Amritavarsham60 —The 60th Birthday Celebrations of Amma, Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi.

AMMACHI Labs to setup vocational institutes in 101 villages

AMMACHI Labs to setup vocational institutes in 101 villages whcih would be adopted by MAM. The institutes would be centred around Computerized Vocational & Education Training (cVET) and Life-Enrichment Education (LEE) systems developed and managed by AMMACHI Labs.

AMMACHI Labs has already provided training to more than 1,000 women in fields such as plumbing through haptics technology, mobile teaching labs and other programmes. “

“AMMACHI Labs has always had a special focus on training women because research shows that woman are more likely than men to use money earned for the upliftment of the family,” said Bhavani Bijalani, director of the Labs.

AMMACHI Labs is one of the R&D departments at Amrita University.


MAM to adopt 101 villages throughout India

10 Sep 2013, New Delhi

The Mata Amritanandamayi Math (MAM) to adopt 101 villages throughout India, which is being called the Amrita Self-Reliant Village Programme (Amrita Swasraya Gramam).

Announcing this in a press meet in New Delhi, Vice Chairman Swami Amrita Swarupananda said that this would amount to the most massive humanitarian programme ever undertaken by MAM – the adoption of 101 villages throughout India with the aim of helping them become self-reliant and thriving. Uttarakhand village adoption also will deploy Amrita Swasraya Gramam.

“In order to accomplish this, MAM will draw upon the totality of the humanitarian programmes it has established over the past 30 years,” the swami said.


The Amrita Self-Reliant Village Programme will ensure that each villager has a proper home and that the villages have school buildings, community halls and junction street-lighting, he said. Other aspects of the programme will include establishing a free computer-oriented vocational-training institute in each village and keeping children in school through the provision of a tablet-based after school tutoring.

“We will also ensure that the adopted villages will have basic health facilities, trained health-workers, and access to clean water and nutrition,” the swami said. “Furthermore, we will conduct afforestation drives in the villages and teach the villagers how to set up recycling systems so that they can become ‘zero-waste’ villages.”

Other aspects of the programme—which will be unfolded in systematic phases—include the provision of pensions to widows and disabled people, scholarships for children of poor families, holding meditation and yoga camps and reducing alcohol and tobacco abuse through awareness campaigns.

“During the past 30 years, MAM has gradually established all of the programmes required to execute something of this magnitude. We built 6,200 tsunami-resistant homes in the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami in India. We also built 1,200 quake-resistant homes in Gujarat after the devastating Bhuj quake in 2001,” Swami pointed out.

MAM has already built 45,000 houses in 75 locations throughout India as part of its ongoing Amrita Kuteeram housing project and provided 41,000 scholarships to impoverished children. In addition, it has relocated 1,600 families from slums into new apartments and also given absolutely free medical care to 26 lakh people since 1998. In India, MAM feeds 10 million poor people annually, and Amma’s devotee-organizations outside of India annually feed 100,000 outside the country, including 75,000 in the US via soup kitchens.

“Through AmritaSREE ( Amrita Self-Reliant Education & Employment) Programme, MAM has already put more than 100,000 women throughout India into more than 6,000 self-help groups, providing them with the necessary education, marketing assistance and access to start-up capital and micro credit loans and savings accounts from government banks,” Swami said.

Haritamritam, organic farming project inaugurated

10,000 people to cultivate organic vegetables in 1,000 acres
22 Feb 2013, Amritapuri, Kollam

Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy inaugurated Haritamritam, a new humanitarian initiative of the Mata Amritanandamayi Math today in Amritapuri Ashram in the presence of Amma. Haritamritam is an initiative to promote organic farming in the state.


The Math is becoming a role-model for society
Inaugurating the initiative, the Chief Minister said “The social-service activities executed by the Mata Amritanandamayi Math are always conceived with foresight: its cleaning of public places, its tsunami relief-and-rehabilitation program, etc. In my personal perception, it has not been through words, but through action, that Amma has been able to bring about so much transformation. Today, with Haritamritam, a new chapter in the math’s humanitarian initiative. Haritamritam marks an inspiring step for organic farming—a move in the right direction. Assisting these 10,000 people to cultivating organic vegetables on 1,000 acres, the Math is becoming a role-model for society.”

Through Haritamritam, MAM is promoting vegetable cultivation. This will be initiated via Amrita SREE self-help-groups members. More than 10,000 Amrita SREE members from Kollam and Alappuzha will be growing vegetables on their own land. A total of 1,000 acres of land—comprising individual plots ranging from one cent to one acre—have been earmarked for Harithamritam’s first phase.


For good health and to restore the harmony in nature

Explaining about the initiative Amma said, “The goal of ‘Haritamritam’ is to sustain the tradition of organic farming and to revive the culture of growing vegetables that one consumes, without using chemicals and pesticides. Everyone should be able to eat vegetables grown organically at least once in a week. The state of agriculture in Kerala is such that even the vegetables and flowers used for ‘Vishu kanni’ come from other states.”

Amma’s words were full of optimism and hope. “Even if a person is able to do organic farming in one cent of land, it is a big step in restoring the lost harmony of nature. We have not inherited the land from our ancestors; we have borrowed it from our children. We have to return this land to the coming generations without allowing even the slightest damage to happen to it” said Amma in her benedictory address.  “May this ‘Haritamritam’ scheme bring about an awakening and enthusiasm in all to strive for good health and to restore the harmony in nature” Amma said.


MAM is distributing free seeds to all the participants, and is arranging training and demonstration classes by traditional farmers and agriculturalists adept in organic farming.

An instruction booklet prepared by retired agricultural officer TS Viswan—who has dedicated his retired years to promoting organic farming—is also being distributed.

Since 2005, the Mata Amritanandamayi Math (MAM) has put more than 100,000 women into more than 6,000 AmritaSREE self-help groups.

– Kannadi

Justice delayed is Justice denied

Chala is a small town in Kannur District of Kerala. In the recent past it bore witness to a catastrophic accident involving an LPG Gas Tanker Explosion. It was a cruel reminder of a similar incident which occurred in Karunagapalli (not so far from Amritapuri) which only added to the empathy that was felt for the victims. Exactly after one month, the grieving residents of Chala found themselves in the warmth of Amma’s Love. The relatives of the Chala disaster victims received aid of Rs 100000/- from the MAM to help them take care of the injured and finance the necessary requirements {news}.

Mr. Raveendran, the Panchayath President of Chala, was humbled by the extend of love and compassion that Amma shower on her children. “We use to get Amma’s darshan whenever she came to Kannur. But today was the day when we truly and whole heartedly appreciated the wonder that Amma is, and we were able to really feel her full divine blessing.”

When disasters strike it is not uncommon for governments to make promises. But it is very common that these promises go unfulfilled. That is where Amma, makes the difference. “For the first time, we are being offered help, instead of having to ask for it. The response from the Math was quick, direct and with out any kind of bureaucratic delay. The victims can receive the aid directly.” Said Mr. Abdul Sathar. On exactly one month from the disaster, being with Amma and being a part of the celebration of love was the best thing that these residents could ask for.

Rethi, a relative, was speechless as to how she felt being here in Amritapuri on this day. “There is no need for me to say anything more about Amma, the whole world knows and loves her. Even though I am sad, I am glad that I had the chance to see Amma and feel her kindness”. According to Preetha, Amma’s divine touch heals both body and mind, and all she wants and wishes is to see Amma, always. Some relatives however were unable to communicate. But a part of them was healing slowly, encouraged by the divine mother’s love and the promise that their prayers will always be heard.

Solace in Mother’s Arms

The horrific accident at a fireworks factory in Sivakasi, Tamil Nadu, crippled hundreds and scarred them for life. The relatives of the victims, however, have been offered comfort in Amma’s arms. The Math has provided around 1 lakh rupees in benefits to help take care of the victims of the fire {news}. The families who have one member injured were entitled to this aid.

Some of the family members were here in Amritapuri today, for Amma’s 59th Birthday Celebrations. They were presented the benefits by. This was the light at the end of a long and tragic tunnel for them.

Shaktivel was filled with awe and respect for Amma. “She is indeed God in human form”, he said. “She is always there to help people like us who are in need. I will be eternally grateful to Amma for her. On behalf of everyone in Sivakasi, we offer our heartfelt gratitude to Amma.”

Raman, another relative, is pleased with the benefit he has received from Amma. One of his relatives is badly injured – liver injuries and a left hand with multiple fractures. For people from a small village, the hospital costs for such injuries are unfathomable. Raman estimates a huge expense to cure his relative, and had no idea so far as to where he could finance all that. However, Amma has showered her grace on him, and his happiness is beyond words.  “I am not worthy to say anything about what I felt… except that Amma should live long, and forever. ”

“I am blessed to meet Amma, and there is nothing other than happiness in my heart and mind. I felt inner peace for the first time after I saw her smile at me. I feel much clearer now. I thank Amma for all her support.’ gushed Shankareshwari, a mother of two. She is so moved by Amma’s love, that she cannot wait to share her experience and love for Amma back home in her village.

For these villagers, the world as they knew it was shaken up. They are still recovering from their losses and tragedies, and they felt very much like kites whose strings were cut. Even though their sorrow still lingers in their eyes, it is being overcome by a strong belief of hope and faith that they have in our beloved Amma.