Happy Diwali also for our Children

Happy Diwali to all of you!

The Ashram celebrated this Diwali again, not only with lots of lights but with the school children! Guests and friends had brought clothes throughout the year and we used the occasion to distribute them to everyone who came. It was lovely to see the kids happy about their new clothes which they would wear to the celebrations!

We wish you all a beautiful time as well!

Much love!

New Workbooks for our smallest School Children – 22 Oct 16

It is Saturday, the weekend has started and for our school children it is another half day of school before they have the Sunday off tomorrow. On Saturdays, they have less hours of classes and the whole school usually meets for some activity time. They recite poems, sing or do some games and other fun things. Today, we used the time for another great activity: the youngest of our kids, the children of our ‘Nursery’ class got new workbooks!

Oh yes, and you can imagine how happy they were! It is always a joy to distribute anything to our kids but especially when it comes to the smallest, it is an incredible fun to see their eyes shining. It doesn’t matter whether it is something special to eat, a pen or a book – they love it!

Another one who loved this program today a lot was my daughter Apra! She doesn’t have school on Saturdays, so she was here to distribute along with us. A duty which she took very serious! In fact, she always tells that on Saturdays she goes to ‘teach at our school’. When we asked for further details she added ‘Only in the classes downstairs – teaching upstairs is too difficult for me!’

🙂

Neue Arbeitshefte für unsere kleinsten Schulkinder – 22 Okt 16

Es ist Samstag, das Wochenende hat begonnen und für unsere Schulkinder ist es ein weitere halber Schultag, bevor sie dann morgen den Sonntag frei haben. An Samstagen haben sie weniger Unterrichtsstunden und die ganze Schule trifft sich üblicherweise für einige ‚Aktivitätsstunden‘. Sie sagen Gedichte auch, singen oder machen Spiele und andere spaßige Dinge. Heute nutzten wir dir Zeit für eine weitere tolle Aktivität: die Jüngsten unserer Kinder, die Kleinen in der ‚Nursery‘ bekamen neue Arbeitshefte!

Oh ja, und ihr könnt euch vorstellen, wie glücklich sie waren! Es ist immer eine Freude, unseren Kindern irgendetwas auszuteilen, aber besonders wenn es an die Kleinsten geht, ist es eine unglaubliche Freude, das Strahlen in ihren Augen zu sehen. Ganz egal, ob es etwas Besonderes zu Essen, ein Stift oder ein Buch ist – sie lieben es!

Noch jemand, dem das heutige Programm gefallen hat, war meine Tochter Apra! Sie hat Samstags keine Schule, also war sie hier, um mit uns zu verteilen. Eine Aufgabe, die sie sehr ernst nahm! In der Tat sagt sie immer, dass sie Samstags ‚in unserer Schule unterrichten‘ geht. Als wir sie da nach Einzelheiten fragten, fügte sie hinzu ‚Nur in den Klassen unten – oben zu unterrichten ist für mich zu schwierig!‘

🙂

Glasses for our Children! – 20 Sep 16

Today I just want to give you a very quick update for something that I am very happy about: the glasses arrived!

I told you that in our eye camp, the eye doctors found several children to be in need of glasses. Now finally their glasses have arrived – just in time for their exams, which have started yesterday. These children can now look at the blackboard and clearly see what they have to write. It will prevent their eyesight from getting worse in future, too!

Additionally, there were some children who need further examinations and treatment. They have had their pre-checkup and we will send them again to meet the head doctor who will make sure that their eyes get the treatment needed!

For the next ten days, the kids will be excitedly coming to school in the morning for the year’s first exams and leave relieved and happy when they have filled their pages with knowledge.

That’s it with news of our school for today. If you would like to support us, you are more than welcome to sponsor a child or the food for a day for the children of our school – we thank you from our hearts for your support!

Free Eye Checkup for the Children of our School – 31 Aug 16

Two days ago, the children of our charity school had a special event in school: a team of doctors came from a close-by eye hospital and every single child of our school received a check-up – completely for free!

An eye check-up doesn’t seem like a big thing to a lot of people. It is however when the doctor’s fees cost you a complete day’s work and any treatment would cost you at least two days’ income on top of that! Glasses come at least at a week’s income – can you afford that?

This is the situation of our school children’s families. They use the daily earned money for their meals. If they spend money for a doctor, they do it when it is really serious, not to be cured by home remedies or simply time and thus definitely not for preventative check-ups. That’s how minor and even bigger problems with the eyesight of children often remain undetected and thus worsen over the course of time due to a lack of treatment.

That’s how the team of doctors did a great work day before yesterday, checking every child’s eye, having them test their eyesight themselves and checking on the exact number for the required glasses. Of our nearly 250 children, 32 children will now get glasses and seven of them have to go to the hospital to have further checkups. They may need bigger treatment or have such high numbers in their glasses that they need to be thoroughly checked to make sure there is nothing else that needs attention!

It is amazing that there are a few children who practically see nothing clear which is further away than three meters – but they never noticed that this was any problem! Our teachers told that they already had suspected something about a few of them.

So now we are eagerly waiting for the glasses to arrive – so that all of our kids have a clear view to the blackboard!

Click here to see pictures of this eye examination

Choosing in between feeding hungry Children and Monkeys – 23 Aug 16

Yesterday, it was the birthday of a dear friend of ours from Germany. Her name is Susanne and she has been supporting us for several years already. She has been here with a group of natural hair dressers and we had great workshops, sessions and also beautiful private time together in the past. She sponsored the food for the children on her birthday – and gave some extra, so that we could buy bananas for them as well!

Just a few hours later I was at the restaurant and looking outside at the traffic, when a car stopped in front of our building. The passengers opened the windows and started throwing bananas out of the car. In no time, there was a big crowd of monkeys, all trying to catch at least one banana, if not two or three! They were fighting for them and finally, when there were no more coming, they ran away with whatever they had been able to snatch. The car moved on.

I saw these two distributions of bananas and I wondered: why would someone distribute this food to monkeys instead of children?

It was the most beautiful thing to see the joy about a banana in the kids’ eyes! We distribute fruit from time to time, whenever it is in the season and we can get it easily in high quantity, so that the children get some vitamins. We know that they don’t have a lot at home because fruit is expensive buy! So giving them fruit – or food in general – is something that doesn’t only fill their bellies but our hearts, too, knowing that we helped these families to feed their children and that in a way that will help them grow.

Those who like feeding the monkeys – and that was not a single occurrence today, it happens more often – have another idea. They believe it is something that god approves of. Many of them will be the ones worshipping monkey god Hanuman and believe by feeding the monkeys, they are directly serving god.

If they serve god, god will be nice to them. They will get good health, luck, success and so on. They feel satisfaction after feeding the monkeys because in the end, it will benefit them. It is a selfish wish that makes them distribute those bananas.

For residents however, this means there will be more monkeys on the roads and in the area. More monkeys is nothing anybody here would appreciate. Not only do they go on rampages in your garden, breaking your plants but they are actually dangerous! In the city, people fell from their roofs and died because monkeys came in clans to attack them – for whatever food was in their hands or simply because they felt it was their ground. The government has made various plans to take care of this problem – catching and castrating them, bringing them to jungles outside of the town and more. They come back and they keep on creating problems for the people living here. But religious people believe it is a virtue to feed them.

Now tell me what makes more sense: distributing fruit to hungry children and feeling good about it or feeding it to wild animals and thinking that a fictive being would reward you for it?

Celebrating a Birthday by handing out new Uniforms – 8 Aug 16

Today is an important day of the year in our family: on 8th August, we celebrate the birthday of my youngest brother Yashendu!

Yesterday, he has just returned from a tour to the Himalayas with a British family. They took a tour from Vrindavan to Amritsar to Dharamshala and Palampur – and returned happy and full of impressions and experiences from this trip.

So we started the day with sharing what has happened on the journey and then, after we had had our breakfast, the children came class-wise for their surprise: we distributed new school uniforms! We had been collecting for a while last year and have been able to get the help of friends who support our charity work. Of course a big thank you goes to them for their support, too!

It had become necessary with the old uniforms having become old and, in many cases, too small already. It is beautiful to see the joy you can bring to these children simply with some pieces of cloth! Nothing else, only something to wear for the time they will be at school!

And that’s how we love celebrating our birthdays – sharing with those who need it and especially our school kids! This joy of giving to someone can never be experienced by getting a gift!

Of course however we also had a cake! In the evening, we all got together, our Ashram guests, the family and our staff and shared the huge chocolate cake our baker and pastry chef had made!

It was once more a beautiful day!

Click here to see the pictures

Four Girls and two Boys – and five of them learning with us! – Our School Children – 29 Apr 16

Today I will introduce you to one of those children who will be in our school for the first time in the next school year: Hari Om. Arriving at his home, we realize that the members of this family are no strangers to us! Hari Om will definitely feel at home at our school – three of his sisters are currently learning with us and his oldest sister has already finished her primary education with us!

It is one of those families that would not have had as many children had a few chromosomes been different: they had four girls before they finally had the two sons they always wanted to have! What they did not think about, just as so many other families with illiterate or less educated parents, is that they still need to raise those four girls! They don’t have the funds to send them to school – how are they going to pay for their weddings?

It is quite a predicament which the family got itself into, especially as the father’s health is not good at all. He has a kind of a permanent cough which gets better sometimes and at other times gets so bad that he cannot even leave bed in the morning! After having been to their home the last time, I already told you that doctors had denied treatment, saying that it would not be possible to do anything about it. A childhood injury which is impossible to treat today, at least that’s what the family tells us.

They have their buffalo cows that give milk when they had calves but at the same time eat a whole lot, which narrows down the profit. That’s how they started opening on of their rooms towards the street, selling sweets, snacks, pens and similar small things from there to people walking by. As the father goes out to search work, the mother sells there and, whenever she is busy for example with the buffalo cows, the girls take care of the shop.

They are very poor, no doubt about that, but as I told you already last time when I wrote about them: they are among the jolliest people, enjoying life, laughing and having fun whenever you meet them!

You can support family’s like Hari Om’s with a child sponsorship or by donating the food for a day for the children of our school!

Farewell Party at Ammaji’s for our Fifth Graders – 26 Apr 16

Yesterday I mentioned that Ammaji’s Ayurvedic Restaurant also supports our charity school and when rereading, I remembered that I had not told you about an event we had at the restaurant last week: the farewell party for the children of the 5th class of our school!

Yes, the year has already progressed so far that the end of the school year has arrived and the oldest children of our school, those of the fifth class, have completed their time with us. Exams are over and the day they had their last exam, we invited the fourth and the fifth class over to Ammaji’s for the farewell party.

It is a tradition that the second-oldest students bid the oldest ones farewell. They had hand-made cards for those whose places they will take in the next year, each equipped with a poem and a few personal lines for the fifth-grader. The kids of the fifth class, in turn, had cards prepared for the teachers and Ramona, praising a quality of each and thanking them for their time, effort and love they put in into educating them.

After this exchange, the kids, all in their best clothes, sat down at the tables and had the first fine dining experience of their lives, with our waiters serving them a delicious lunch!

When their meal was over, all there was left to do was to take a picture and then say good-bye – to which we added a reminder and encouragement for the fifth-graders to keep on studying well. And of course we told them that we, as well as their teachers, would always be there for them, whatever questions, problems or needs would arise in future years.

It is always a bittersweet goodbye. Children who have grown in front of our eyes from small kids to young adults. Children of whom we are proud because they have learned so much more than their parents ever have, just in primary school! They have faced odds and will face even more in future but we know that we have given them a base to build on. Basic education which will be the seeds for what they will do in future.

We are looking forward to seeing them in future and finding out where their ways took them!

When the warm Lunch at School is the best part of the Day – Our School Children – 18 Mar 16

Today I would like to introduce you to Dhruv, a boy of our school who started learning with us in July. In that time we were at first unsure whether he is not too small for our school – but soon noticed that he is only shy at first and is quite clever picking up new information!

Dhruv was with his five years among the smallest children of our newly admitted students. His father being a hairdresser in a poor area of Vrindavan, his parents had heard of our school from the neighbours and their children. Dhruv’s family owns a small house in the second row from the main road. The entrance is a door leading into a rather narrow walkway that then opens into a courtyard. It has three rooms, one of which is used for sleeping and living, one as a kitchen and one for storage.

This means that Dhruv’s parents share that one living room with their three children as well as Dhruv’s grandmother. They have three beds, one of which is just a metal frame with cloth stretched in between. When we ask Dhruv who sleeps where, he tells that his father usually sleeps on the floor – so that the women and kids sleep on the beds. Dhruv is the oldest of three, with two younger sisters.

Dhruv’s father is a hairdresser, renting a shop two houses further and paying the rent for it from his income. As there are several more men of the same profession just next door, the income can vary greatly – and often, the result is that they have not more than the essentials for dinner. ‘We eat bread, lentils and pray that it gets better’, Dhruv’s grandmother tells. Of course, vegetables and fruit would be important for the kids, too, but that is something that is reserved for times when business runs well.

That’s how it is not only important for the family that we provide Dhruv quality education for no money at all. No, he also gets a warm lunch at our school every day, making sure that at least one of three kids has had something warm and nourishing in the stomach!

Dhruv is just about to start his exams for the end of the year and is obviously excited due to that. We are happy that we have several years ahead of us supporting this boy and his family!

If you feel like helping us with this effort, you can sponsor a child or the food for a day. We already thank you for your support!