Comparing our small and personal Charity Organization to bigger ones – 19 Dec 11

Now it is the Christmas week and I am sure you all have either completed your Christmas gift shopping or will be searching for the last special presents to give. Like every year we want to encourage you also this year to give a Christmas gift that really makes a change and helps the world to be a little bit a better place: Give someone a sponsorship for a child as a present or donate for the food for a day in someone’s name.

Maybe you had the idea that you would rather give a child sponsorship as a present this Christmas than another one of those gifts that actually nobody needs and which you have already given many times. In that case you may have wondered which project you should choose for giving your support to. So why would you sponsor one of the children at our school?

One factor which I believe is very important is that we are a small organization. We have a very personal approach to each of our donors and sponsors. We reply quickly to any emails and you will always get to talk to the same people – because it is only the four of us, my wife and us three brothers who work at the computer for our projects. And whenever you want to come here and have a look at our free primary school for poor children, you are very welcome!

This is another benefit of the fact that we run a small charity project: it is easy to just come here and see for yourself. Everything is in one place and you get to know clearly what we are doing and where any donation is going. Whoever has been here to spend some time at the Ashram and to meet the children, saw how happy they are that they can learn here and go to school. They made their own connection with the children and not rarely spent time sitting among the kids in school, learning a bit of Hindi themselves.

We want to keep the school the size that it is now because we like to have the possibility to know all our children personally and to take care of each single one of them. We know their situation at home, we have met their parents and we know where they come from.

If you have looked around a bit and have considered sponsoring a child at another organization, you have probably also seen the amount that is required there to enable free education for a child. We have been told by many people who sponsor a child with a big organization that they pay about double the amount of what we ask for a sponsorship. If you want to sponsor a child at our school, it is 160 Euro per year, which is a bit more than 13 Euro – or 17 US-Dollar at the current conversion rate – per month. Some examples for very well-known charity organizations are WorldVision, who take 35 US-Dollar per month or Plan International, who need 28 Euro if you sponsor from Germany.

You obviously ask yourself now why the difference is so big – twice the amount and more. The reason is again that we are a small organization. We are only a few people working here and we don’t take any salary from our charity. Big organizations have to pay a lot of employees and have a lot of administrative expenses to manage their many different projects. A friend told me that many charities spend 30-50% of their funds on administrative costs and he sent me a link for that, too. If they spend 50% of what they get for a sponsorship on other things, you already know why they need to take twice the amount.

Many organizations, especially the big and popular ones, have surely controlled their spending. With a quick search online I found that WorldVision say themselves that 86% of what they get as donations goes to their projects. Considering the amount of donations that they probably get in a year, they can do a lot of great charity work with this money.

What about us? We actually give more than 100% directly to our charity. The amount that we receive from child sponsorships and food sponsorships is not enough to cover the full expenses of the school and the children. So what we do it to run our business, cover our living expenses from that and give the remaining amount to our charity. It is needed there – we cannot keep our children hungry!

Who has been at our Ashram knows how hard we work for both, the charity and our business. Above this blog entry, below the banner, you can see the statistics of how many children are not yet sponsored and how many days of food are still free. When a child has no sponsor however, we still teach him. When a day’s food is not sponsored, we nevertheless feed our children. Whatever is not covered by donations is covered by our own income, by our work.

I have decided not to travel and work abroad in the next year but to stay here at the Ashram and would like to appeal to you to support us even more. Maybe you ask how many times I will ask you again and again for your help and support. Look at the figures above. Whenever you sponsor a child, the number of un-sponsored children will be reduced by one. Whenever you sponsor the food for a day, the number of free days will be reduced by one. And when both figures show zero, I will not ask you anymore.

Maybe this Christmas you decide to make not only that person happy whom you give the gift but additionally give joy to children in India. We and all our children will send you our best wishes for a Merry Christmas full of love and happiness!

Feeding the Hungry – a Perfect Birthday Present – 25 Mar 10

Today someone sponsored the food for a day. But it was a special way of sponsoring from a dear friend. Dagmar, who had spent some weeks at the Ashram in the last two years, gave this sponsorship as a present to Ramona. It was beautiful and really the perfect present. Dagmar wouldn’t have been able to come to India to give any kind of present in person and it is quite expensive to send something from Germany to India by mail or courier. So she did what she knew Ramona would love: she donated for feeding the kids. It is a great gift which makes so many people happy. All the children, who had Puri, special bread, for celebrating the day, Ramona who saw them all eating and who dedicates her whole work to feeding and helping them and of course Dagmar who will see the pictures and be happy with everybody. It is what we all work for: helping these children, feeding those who need it most, supporting their poor families and, if you see it in a big context, fighting world hunger and illiteracy. And Dagmar and many others offer a hand of support in this mission.

Another dear person today unfortunately had to leave the Ashram. Angie had to fly back to Canada today but of course she didn’t leave before distributing sweets to all children. Again, it is just beautiful to see all the children so happy and it makes the heart light and jolly. Children are something special and we all need to help them, support them and show them this world!

Donate food for the children

See pictures of today’s lunch

Sponsor Food in India as a Christmas Present – 18 Dec 09

A few days ago our friends Christina and Roland arrived here at the Ashram. They flew to India from Switzerland and are now enjoying the warmth in India. In one of their workshops in Spain they asked the participants and their friends to donate for our charity projects and they brought the money with them so that it could sponsor today’s food for the children of the school and the kindergarten.

As both of them are teachers they are very interested in our school. They were touched to see these children and also invited their friends to contribute a donation in the Christmas time. If you believe your friends would be happy to know that children have a better future because of your Christmas present, the sponsoring of the food for a day or of a child could be a gift option. With your support our projects are growing but still 50% of our children do not have a sponsor yet and they all daily eat at the Ashram. This is how we are happy about every donation and every sponsor.

So if you think like our friends Roland and Christina, maybe your friends would also enjoy seeing how the children love the food, how they enjoy reading and writing in the school and how this gives a sparkle of hope for a better future in every heart.

Click here to see more pictures of today's food

Sponsor Food for Children in India instead of getting Birthday Presents – 24 Sep 09

Today we received an email from our friend Peter from Germany. He will soon celebrate his 50th birthday and invited guests to celebrate this jubilee. But he asked them to do something different than what they do in all other birthday parties: he asked them to donate to our charity projects instead of bringing presents. He said to me ‘what do I do with more of these things that you just put somewhere?’ And it is true, it is such a nice idea! So in the next weeks there will be donations from his guests and on his birthday this will sponsor the food of the children.

Today’s food at the Ashram was sponsored by our friend Asheem. We also saw him today. It was our last evening in New York, tomorrow we will fly back to Germany. So we had dinner altogether and then went to have ice cream at the best ice cream place in Manhattan, the ‘Screme’ in Madame Tussauds at Times Square. So we had the last dinner in New York for this time, the last ice cream for this time and a great time. Tomorrow I will write the diary a little bit earlier so that you can read it while we are already on the way to the airport. 

Donating Food for Poor Children on your Wedding Anniversary – 16 Jun 09

Today is a special day for our friends Angie and Dan in Canada. They celebrate their 8th wedding anniversary and on this occasion they sponsored the food in the Ashram. I send them many blessings for their love! I wish it grows and gets stronger and stronger. Enjoy being in love!

Purnendu sent me the pictures and when I saw the pictures how the children are eating, I felt that this is really a great way to celebrate your love. You can give your love to others, especially when it is in the form of food. I wrote already that the children have summer holidays now but they also like to come to the Ashram only for food, not for lessons.

We were thinking of the food at the Ashram today while we were preparing food here. We made really nice food and had a great dinner. 

Click here to see pictures of today's food for a day

Sponsor Food for a Day for the Children of the School – 19 Feb 09

It is a great feeling to be here at the Ashram and I enjoy seeing that the number of children in the school and the Kindergarten increased again. There are now 120 children. I am travelling nearly the whole year long to support and feed these children. The worldwide economic crisis has affected our donations, too. I am working many hours each day and without having weekends. I would like to take this daily burden of feeding the children off my shoulders and would like to ask for your help.

It is one year ago that we started our project ‘Food for a day’ and with the number of children increasing we now need 95 Euro to give lunch to all of them. I am very thankful to everyone who sponsored food in the last year. There are ten people who picked one certain day for which they will yearly sponsor the food for the children and I would like to invite all of you to become sponsor. We need another 355 people who would like to sponsor the food for one day each year. It is not a big burden to give 95 Euro per year. You only need to save 26 Cents per day but for the children and for our school it is a wonderful support.

I travel all over the world in order to support these children and their future. It is my joy to help here and also to help people out of India. I give healing sessions and I also give personal Mantras for a donation of 100 Euro which help with their ancient power. Now I am inviting you to sponsor the food for a day at the Ashram and as an exchange of energy I will give a personal Mantra to everyone who decides to support our projects in this way. You can send me your details and I will go in meditation to connect with your energy and to choose a Mantra individually for you. In this way we will exchange help, support and loving energy.

Click here to sponsor food. After sponsoring food you will find a link to a page where you can request a personal Mantra.

On 16th February I wrote in the diary about a story of young parents which I read about in newspaper. I invited everyone to think about it and start a discussion and I received the thoughts of my friend from Canada, Angie. You can click here to read them and also write what you think about it.

Charity Concert for our Children in India – 1 Feb 09

Yesterday Thomas and Iris organized a charity concert in the Indian vegetarian restaurant “Zimt & Koriander” with the motto “Food for a Day”. Since about one year Pavan Sharma, the owner of the restaurant has been supporting the project future for kids in India with a donation box. All in all it was possible to arrange five times food for the children at the Ashram. In order to make people understand this charitable project better Pavan had the idea to organize a small exhibition of photos in his restaurant. So yesterday they had the opening night with a small concert.

Yashendu had sent some pictures and Thomas and Iris added a few of their photos so that they could exhibit a total of 12 pictures. The pictures show different activities at the Ashram:
The preparation of food, a food for a day sponsored by the guests of the restaurant, distribution of food to the pilgrims, a big Bhandara feeding about 500 people and beautiful close-up views of children.

Thomas told that many visitors were noticeably touched yesterday by the pictures of the happy children’s faces who could enjoy a good meal. Iris framed the event with poems of Rabindranath Tagore. Tagore has also founded a school for children in Shantiniketan, Bengal, and thus the lyric verses which he wrote about children suited the exhibition very nicely. With the Sitar Thomas put the atmosphere of the verses into music and deepened it together with his friend Michael who played the arabid Udu-Drum.

Pavan provided all the guests with delicious vegetarian food so that not only the ears and the eyes but also the palate was pampered. The guests also generously filled the donation box so that it will be soon possible to sponsor another food for a day. The exhibition will be in the restaurant until the end of February: www.zimtandkoriander.de.

After that there is the possibility to show these photos also in other cities. It would be possible to create a touring exhibition which makes the work of the Ashram clear in a easy and free way. Whoever has interest in making this exhibition can feel free to contact Thomas at [email protected]

Celebrate your Birthday by Donating Food for Children – 25 Oct 08

Today the kitchen prepared extra vegetables and a special kind of flat bread for the children because today’s food was sponsored. It was a birthday gift for a nun, Sister Mechtild from Germany, who had her 85th birthday. What can be a greater gift for this woman? I don’t know her in person but I know nuns devote their lives to God, to do good. For me God is in the children and I am sure the nun will also see it as a wonderful present.

I have told you already that many children actually come to school because they get a warm meal. Feeding children is one of the most satisfying things that you can do and it is a wonderful support for our school and Kindergarten when more and more people make this present to their loved ones or celebrate themselves in this way. We will be very thankful and we always appreciate this support from this kind of present.

We live in a time in which we often don’t know what to give as a gift because it seems that you already gave everything on other birthdays or on Christmas or because that person seems to have everything anyway. There are funny presents like buying a part of a star in the name of this person and often one just ends up buying some small thing that you can put in a cupboard to look at it and which doesn’t have any other sense. I think supporting a project for children, feeding them or giving them the chance to learn reading and writing is a present that makes much more sense and which makes several people happy at one time.

I like to take walks in the garden now in the afternoon because the weather is pleasantly warm without being hot. When I was walking I saw butterflies in the trees and the photographer in me awoke. I took some pictures and the result you can see on the bottom of this page. They have wonderful colours!

Click here to sponsor food for a day

Click here to see more pictures of today's lunch

A Restaurant donating the Food for the Day – 6 Sep 08

Today was a nice day. The last days we were all hoping that it would cool down because it was very hot which is unusual for September. Yesterday in the evening we went outside and Purnendu said how great it would be to have some rain. Ramona said that in Germany hardly ever someone prays for rain like this. And the wish came true, today in the morning it was cloudy and a bit windy, it rained, too, but not very much. It cooled down a bit so that the weather is more pleasant now.

Today’s food was sponsored by the guests of the Indian restaurant Zimt and Koriander in Wiesbaden. I have written about this restaurant before and when we were in Wiesbaden in the last week of our Europe-Tour, we went there and got to know that after only two months the donation box was full again. People just put their change in after paying for their food. It is really wonderful. We will send a picture to the restaurant so that it can stand next to the donation box. I am very happy and thankful and wish that more and more people get inspired from this and help to give support to our children and our charity projects.

And today Andrea, Ramona’s mother also arrived here in Vrindavan. She said it feels like travelling from home to home and this is the feeling that I would like to give every visitor of my Ashram. Enjoy your time and relax here just as it was your home.
We are looking forward to tomorrow to the medical camp that we will make. A doctor will come together with his assistants and we will turn the school rooms into an examination room, a waiting room and a small pharmacy. We will do our best to provide help to everybody who will come to us tomorrow. There is still the possibility to contribute to this wonderful project.

Click here to contribute food for a day

Experience of Sponsoring Food – 8 Aug 08

In today’s diary I would like to show you an email which I got from Thomas after the food that he sponsored for his birthday on the 6th of August.

Dear Swami Ji,

I don’t know if I find the right words to tell you how happy the Bhandara, the distribution of food to so many people, made me.
I had heard and seen how our friend Roger organized food for so many people and he said to me that everybody should have experienced this in his life. But I would never have imagined how much joy it brings to you to see other people full with food and satisfied.
It moved me to tears just to see the pictures of how the children and the holy men were eating sweet Laddus. This opening up of the heart which I suddenly experienced was the most beautiful birthday present since a long time. And I am happy to do this every year.
Actually we, here in the west, live in such abundance, how much more should my family give me for my birthday?
Very often I am not really aware that I have everything here, food, clothes, an apartment, a profession and a wonderful wife. How often do I worry unnecessarily because I am not satisfied with all that is already there for me.
I forgot how great it is, the joy of making someone happy, of giving a present to someone. The energy of the thoughts of so many thankful people really touched me…
Purnendu called me from India and told me that this Bhandara was the first one to be organized with new cookware without having to borrow anything. So the stars are right!!!
Well, it is great to see how many things are possible via the Internet.
Pavan was also very happy that it was possible to organize a food for a day with the collected money from his restaurant. The picture of that day is already hanging in a frame on the wall! I would like to make it easier to all interested people to set up a donation box. You can just send me your name and your address and I will send you a ‘food for a day’ donation box for free. And when it is full the money can be transferred directly.

Greetings with love, from heart to heart,

Thomas

I am very happy about Thomas’ offer. Whoever would like to get a donation box, maybe for a shop or a praxis, can contact Thomas: [email protected]

Click here to choose the day on which you want to contribute food for a day