Saturday, September 20, 2008

Young, Inspiring Trailblazers for the Street Schools and Active Compassion

Carleen Sinton and Jamey Rossano, two 12 year old friends who live in Boston, have been collecting and sending money for the street schools for over a year now. Last Fall, after Carleen's grandma told them about the street schools, Carleen and Jamey got very excited. They wanted to adopt a school. They wanted to do something for these children who had so much less than they did! They quickly got to work raising money to help support the schools. During the school year, they created a program they called "Save The Change" and got their families to save all their coins. Their efforts generated two separate $100 contributions for the schools . Carleen's grandparents were so inspired by Carleen and Jamey's efforts that they sent $400 for the street schools. Then this past summer Carleen started making bracelets to sell in order to raise more money. She makes bracelets and sells them for $1 each; so far, she has raised $23. Jamey has also started making bracelets now; he plans to sell them in his Mother's store. Carleen and Jamey have also sent letters, artwork and photos over to the street schools, so that the children in the schools can learn something about other people in the world, and will know that others in the world love them and think about them. One of Carleen and Jamey's goals is to get some bit of communication going with the children and themselves. (If anyone would be interested in periodically translating a few letters into Bengali from English, and from English to Bengali for that purpose, please email to volunteer). We all have a lot to learn from Carleen and Jamey, their open hearted vision and concentrated effort to reach out and serve others in need.

Baba Meets Nobel Peace Prize Recipient Dr. Md. Yunus

Baba recently met with Nobel Peace Prize recipient Dr. Md. Yunus , pioneer in the field of Micro Credit as a tool for eradication of poverty. Baba had a long meeting with him in Calcutta on the 17th of August from 5-10 pm, discussing the different aspects of Baba's Micro Credit Program. Baba’s program is being implemented in its purest form in India, vis a vis the model that Prof. Yunus developed in Bangladesh through the Bangladesh Grameen Bank. It was a very fruitful discussion about the possibilities and limitations of the implementation of the model in India. The Nobel Laureate promised Baba all help and cooperation. He highly praised the work that Baba has been doing to empower women in the villages of India, particularly in Sunderbans in West Bengal since the early 90'.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Meditation Group Sponsors Swinhoe Street School

Baba Shuddhaanandaa started Swinhoe Street School to try to give the slum children the feeling that they are important in this world, and that there are people from their own country and other countries of the world who love them and adore their capabilities and creativity.

The children who come to Swinhoe Street School are from nearby slums in Calcutta. Their parents earn through doing menial work such as cleaning people’s homes, carriers of luggage and goods on their heads in the nearby railway station. The Swinhoe slum is situated beside the railway tracks in South of Calcutta. The road to the slum is a dark narrow lane with small shacks on the both sides. The shacks are so small that it is difficult to believe that any human being can fit into it let alone live in it.
The parents are so poor that they are unable to send their children to school. Even some of the parents force their children to go and do odd jobs to earn money for the family thereby robbing the right of the child to go to school and have a natural childhood. These children are abused daily at home. Some of the children roam the streets the whole day doing all kinds of mischievous activities. Our mission’s main role is to make them feel that they are loved.
One of the major focuses of the street schools is to fight the curse of child labor. The Mission continually educates the parents on the need for education for the children and encourages them to not just think of earning some money out of their child's labor.
The major challenge for the Mission is to first bring the children to the school and then hold their attention. To facilitate that major focus is given to the Play Way Method of education. Along with literacy they are continually encouraged to explore their innate creativity and playfulness.
The children are offered training on the practice of Hatha yoga, Meditation, Creative art, Dancing apart from literacy. The initial batches of students from this school were groomed enough to join better schools run by government and private houses. Our task was to create interest in their hearts through fun, playful education and love. Our experience says what they needed most is for somebody to say they are wonderful children of God and deserve to become worthy citizens of mother India.
The Naperville, Il Meditation Group has recently agreed to sponsor this school. Their contributions will cover a honorarium for teachers, school supplies, daily snacks for the children, and an outfit of clothing during the holiday season.
We on behalf of Lokenath Divine Life Mission in Calcutta do express our sense of gratitude and thankfulness to the Naperville Meditation Group for their generosity and love for these destitute yet smiling children of God.

Copyright © 2008 Lokenath Divine Life Fellowship