School Uniforms for Children in Vizianagaram

This month we were approached by Mr. Victor, the principal of Mandal Parishad Primary School in the rural village of Jonnavalasa, Vizianagaram district of Andhra Pradesh. He heard of our ashram’s food distribution programs in Vizianagaram and requested us to do something for the children in his school. Already the children receive daily meals from the government, through the national mid-day meal program, so we asked in what way we could be of assistance. He replied that the children could use school uniforms, as their families cannot afford them.

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Food Relief launched in Andhra Pradesh

We are happy to inform you that the Bhaktivedanta Ashram has recently begun food distribution programs in Andhra Pradesh. Currently we are conducting the activities throughout Vizianagaram district based from our ashram located in Vizianagaram, in the North of Andhra Pradesh. In the initial stages we are planning to distribute food 15 times a month in various tribal villages within 100 kilometers of our ashram.

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Distribution of School Supplies at Bhadrak Primary School

Below are a few recent photos of a program for 300 children at Bhadrak Primary School. We have begun distribution of school supplies to poor students in rural areas who are unable to afford their own. We do not want children to feel discouraged from studying due to the expenses involved in purchasing basic things like notebooks, pens and school uniforms. Already the importance of education is often not understood in rural areas. When poor students are required to spend money to attend school, few will be willing to participate.

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Toys for the Children of Randiya

In our previous newsletter we showed you pictures and a video of the children of Randiya and the weekly food distribution we conduct in that village. For the new year we thought it would be nice to give these children a small gift that they could really relate to, something that would allow them to just be children for a day.

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Meet the Children of Randiya

Below are a few recent photos of the food distribution program being conducted in Randiya at our Ashram’s relief center. There is also an 8 minute video, so that you can get a better view of the children whom you are helping.

Randiya is a very poor rural village located around 20 km away from our main Ashram in Orissa. The village consists of people from the adivasi (tribal) community. Most of the villagers work as field laborers on other people’s farms, tilling the fields and growing rice. Due to poverty, the children of the village have to start working as young as 6 years old, and their usual daily meal is one of just plain rice and salt. As you can see in the photos and video, many of the children do not even have clothes to wear.

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Ashtadhatu Deities of Sri Devi, Bhu Devi and Vimala Devi Installed at the Bhaktivedanta Ashram

Vimala Devi, Sri Devi and Bhu Devi prior to installation.

On the auspicious occasion of Puri Jagannatha Ratha Yatra, the sacred deities of Sri Devi (Lakshmi), Bhu Devi and Vimala Devi were installed at the Bhaktivedanta Ashram in Bhadrak, Orissa. Each deity has been crafted from 110 kilograms (242 lbs) of ashtadhatu metal (a combination of eight metals: gold, silver, copper, zinc, lead, tin, iron, and mercury), and they are each approximately two and a half feet tall. Work on these sacred deities had begun more than two years ago, and it has finally culminated in the pranapratishtha ceremony held on Ratha Yatra day.

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