A leader of one of our self-help groups explains how they have been able to grow and diversify their business, from making umbrellas to hand lotion, as well as fabric painting and decorative glass. After two years, they were able to secure a loan to triple the size of their business. Watch the video to hear her explain in her own words the difference our program has made in her life.
Suvarnna's father passed away when she was just three years old. Raised by her single mother along with her three brothers, she was encouraged to stay home and help out around the house. But Suvarnna had a dream. She wanted to learn the traditional technique of sculpting wood. Suvarnna's family discouraged her - they didn't feel there was any future in learning a dying art form. But Suvarnna persisted and finally they let her join our school for sculpting.
In 2010, Svarna won the award for Best Sculptor in her home state of Kerala. She was the first woman to do so. Now she’s writing a textbook on traditional wood sculpture, to make sure that this ancient art form has a future as bright as hers.
When Daliya was born, she didn't cry like other babies. The doctors found a serious problem with her heart, which required immediate surgery for her to survive. The normal cost of a procedure like that in India is Rs. 250,000, or 5,000 USD -- an amount far out the reach of Daliya's father, with his job as an auto rickshaw driver. AIMS Hospital didn't charge Daliya's parents anything for the procedure. The surgery was successful, and kept Daliya alive, but her battle was far from over. She would need tremendous courage. Fortunately, she had it in spades. Watch the video.
In the hill stations of Kerala, India, indigenous tribal people live in extreme poverty. Inaccessible by road, they can only be reached by a 90-minute hike through the forest. Our volunteers make the trek every month to provide staple foods and warm clothes to 100 different families who do not receive aid from any other organization.
Parukutty is homeless. She sleeps on the streets of Cochin with her husband and child. When they learned that she had a congenital heart defect and needed open-heart surgery to survive, they were immediately plunged into despair. But then her friends told her to go to Amma’s AIMS hospital and ask for help. AIMS performed the surgery – at a cost of more than $4,000 – without asking her for a single rupee. Today, her son has a smile on his face because his mom's heart is working just fine.
In rural parts of India, it is extremely difficult for women to find opportunities to make a living. We administer funds from a government grant program to provide vocational training in these communities. We helped one group start a small business making pappadam. They started out making them by hand but soon demand was high enough that they couldn't keep up, and with a micro-loan from a bank, they bought a machine to expedite their work. Now they have even been able to give jobs to other women as well. Watch the video to see these women explain their business model, their plans for the future, and the way with hard work, an eye for quality and a little help from Embracing the World, they've been able to turn their lives around.
Ajitha's mother and her husband both have cancer. She joined one of our self-help groups, received vocational training and support to start a business with some of her classmates. With her earnings from the business she shares, she is able to feed her entire family of five and pay for her children’s education and her husband’s and mother’s medical care. The other women in the group also help to support her and her family, both emotionally and financially.
For more than 15 years, Embracing the World has been collaborating with the Japanese student volunteer organization IVUSA, bringing groups of about 100 students to India to participate in housing building projects for the homeless and disaster refugees. Vivek has coordinated this partnership for several years, including projects to build homes for tsunami refugees in both Kerala and Tamil Nadu after the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami and in 2010, after devastating floods in Karnataka.
Inspired by Amma’s teachings of compassion and selfless service, the psychologist started Embracing the World’s rehabilitation initiative for children and adolescents in São Paolo, whose basic rights have been violated or threatened.
Having been trained as an optometrist, I had always had a desire to help outside of my medical practice in Spain, but how and where? When I met Amma in 2004, my heart was opened when I witnessed her continuous example of serving people with selflessness. Ever since then her inspiration has allowed me to help others as I always wanted to.
After meeting Amma, Deborah and Mario were inspired to make a difference by founding "La Cocina de Amma" to feed the homeless and hungry. More than simply providing delicious vegetarian food to those in need, Deborah and Mario have created an atmosphere of love and devotion that truly touches people's hearts.
Employed by the French government as a climate change researcher, Mathieu liked his job but wanted to do something more hands-on in his free time. When he was offered to head up our environmental iniatives throughout Europe, he leapt at the opportunity. One of his first projects was an educational walk-in bee hive.
One of the long-time residents of Embracing the World’s center in San Ramon, California, Leela is responsible for acquiring and shipping material donations for Amma’s charitable hospital in India. Her efforts have helped AIMS to treat more than 2.6 million patients free of charge over the last 14 years.
17 year old Shivansh has been actively involved with the Amrita children's home in Nairobi, Kenya since 2010. Originally a shy and reluctant volunteer, Shivansh is now one of the main organizers who help run fundraisers, food and clothing drives as well as football camps for the children. He feels that working at the home has made him a different person, one who is more caring and giving.
As part of launching an AYUDH branch in her hometown of Nairobi, Sheena introduced permaculture practices to our Children’s Home there, transforming it into a model of sustainability. The cleanup drives she started in Nairobi sparked a wave of similar initiatives by our volunteers all over the world.
Dorian attended his first AYUDH Youth Summit in Germany in 2006. This experience inspired him to become one of AYUDH’s youth leaders in France, managing and implementing projects with youth volunteers across the country.
Getting involved in AYUDH helped Matthias overcome the trauma of losing his vision after a serious car accident. By connecting with Amma and other young people inspired by her example, Matthias rediscovered the self-confidence he needed to become a positive role model and find ways to give back to those in need.
At age 16, Mattia became an organizer of our annual Youth Summit drawing young people together from all over the world to brainstorm and implement strategies for building a better world. This year, Mattia wrote the theme song for the summit – a rap song in 11 languages to express his vision for a hopeful future.
Back in Spain, Abel was searching for a job. Then, from June 2011 to June 2012, he spent a year at our center in Germany, participating in an internship on sustainable living practices. By the time he was done, had learned enough German to enroll in nursing school in Germany. He still lives at our center and continues to contribute his free time to volunteer service.