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Love and Light

Region 3 - Giving With Love: Ladies Service Project

Sunday 23rd June 2013 celebrated the GIVING WITH LOVE Region 3 Ladies Service Project successfully meeting its first deadline to supply the Kazakhstan Medical camp with 130 gift bags for distribution to children and local volunteers at the forthcoming medical camp in August.

Hosted by Upton Park Sai Centre in East London, the programme started with a short video put together by youth girls involved in the project showing how this group of ladies had worked with adults and SSE children across various Sai centres and groups in Region 3 to hand-make cards, clothes and “friendship” bracelets for those less fortunate than themselves. The aim was to serve Swami, not only by sewing/knitting and silent prayer, but also by reaching out to SSE children and youth – introducing wider participation of these craft activities within a value based framework. The video showed how, by being given the opportunity to make cards of LOVE and friendship bracelets for those in need, participants here in the UK made a heart to heart connection with these far – off countries. In line with Swami’s teachings, the ladies had also reached out to other faiths within the immediate community and had succeeded in motivating ladies and youth girls from a local mosque to join the project. The video brought out how our Beloved Swami Himself was the Founder, the very Inspiration behind the project -being the perfect role model for the GIVING WITH LOVE principle during His years in the physical form.

The audience were then treated to a wonderful talk by guest speaker, Dr S Upadhyay who had taken time out of his busy schedule to attend the function and support the project. He spoke of the importance of hand-making items as an offering to God and also his experience of visiting various countries around the world on medical camps, at times bringing him face to face with the very depths of human degradation and need. The doctor shared Swami’s teaching that prevention is better than cure and giving clothing to the needy members of the society is one way of preventing many illnesses. The doctor kept the audience completely enthralled as he also related a beautiful experience of when our Beloved Swami dropped in on the doctor and other devotees carrying out gardening “seva” in Prashanthi Nilayam, many years back. It was very touching to hear how Swami took a moment to stop and explain to the doctor how to gently tend to a little baby plant – providing it with the necessary support and protection, thereby allowing it to grow strong and in turn provide shade, oxygen and beauty. The speaker went on to share his experience of meeting and working with Mother Theresa and how She embodied the principle – Service to Man is Service to God and also how Mother Easwaramma had been such a pivotal figure in Swami’s Mission – thereby illustrating the huge potential for goodness and sacrifice – which all women inherently possess. The doctor finished his excellent talk with a moving video re-counting the scenes met by volunteers on various international medical camps, which perfectly complemented the speech and illustrated the desperate need in these impoverished countries.

Following the Aarti to our Beloved Swami, the audience took time to visit an impressive exhibition of some of the work presented by the ladies group – needlework, knitting, crochet, beading and card-making with several individuals and centres expressing an interest to join the project going forward. Finally, a delicious lunch prasadam was partaken by all before the programme was finally brought to a close and all those who attended fully agreed that Swami’s graceful presence had been felt throughout the morning, which inspired each and everyone involved to work even harder in serving others, where possible, in future. JAI SAI RAM

Sutopa Sen, Region 3 Ladies Co-ordinator