Amma’s 62nd birthday was celebrated on September 27th. As per tradition, her birthday was used to introduce our new projects and to expand our current humanitarian initiatives, in total touching the lives of more than 400,000 people in poverty.
A total of 375 poor people were presented vouchers for free heart, brain and kidney surgeries at Amrita Hospital, our 1,300-bed hospital in Cochin. 400,000 poor women throughout India were given new saris. 150 free homes were provided to the homeless throughout India. Boats were also given to fishermen whose boats had been tragically destroyed this year with financial assistance provided to wives of fisherman lost at sea. Amma helped dozens of impoverished couples to have a traditional Indian wedding by providing all the requisite clothing, gold jewelry and a feast that they could not afford themselves, and personally conducting their marriages.
Additionally, our researchers unveiled their most recent advances in sustainable development they have made as part of our village adoption program. We provided clean drinking water to every resident of three villages: one in Rajasthan, one in Odisha and one in Kerala. We also announced a smart irrigation system for farmers in Tamil Nadu, and brought electricity to an entire village in Kerala via hydro- and solar power.
Finally, Amma announced a commitment to dedicate a value of $US 15 million (Rs. 100-crore) in toilet construction and other sanitation efforts in her home state of Kerala, in support of India’s effort to end open defecation and improve public health nationwide. This pledge is in addition to her donation, earlier this month, of $15 million for the construction of toilets for villagers living along the banks of the Ganges River.
In her birthday address, Amma said that the world was going through a time of intense turmoil, but if people worked selflessly, in unity, a positive transformation in society would come.
“Every day, we hear news of refugees fleeing to other nations to save their own lives. The stories of their suffering will melt anyone’s heart. Amma wishes that all her children will be able to love, forgive and accommodate others,” she said before the crowd of 200,000 people.
“We also see the economies of so many countries crashing. The effects of climate change are threatening all of humanity. It is said that 22,000 children are dying daily due to poverty,” she said. “We hear about such deaths so regularly that our ears have become desensitized. We may say, ‘So sad,’ but then forget about it. However, mere words of sympathy are not what the world needs. What the world needs are hands that are ready to serve selflessly.”
“We hear about such deaths so regularly that our ears have become desensitized. We may say, ‘So sad,’ but then forget about it. However, mere words of sympathy are not what the world needs. What the world needs are hands that are ready to serve selflessly.”Amma
“Seeing the extent of the pervading darkness, one should not withdraw, thinking, ‘What possible change can my efforts make in this situation?’ If we can light the lamp of faith and love in our hearts and walk forward together, then we definitely can bring about a change in society.”