We would like to thank all of you who have come forward to help in the tsunami relief effort, as well as those who have participated as volunteers helping our devotees cook and distribute sanctified food to thousands of tsunami victims over the last two and a half months. Our team of volunteers in Tamil Nadu have been extremely busy over the last few months working tirelessly to help as many people as possible recover following the disaster. Besides feeding thousands of people, we have also distributed over 1,000 blankets to families affected by the disaster. The emergency situation is now slowly returning to normal and we will begin focusing on more long term help for the children affected by this disaster.
As things return to normal we must keep in mind the needs of these children who will face hardship throughout their lives as a result of this unfortunate event. The government will ensure that children are placed in orphanages to oversee their care, but this is hardly sufficient to make up for all that these children have lost. What the children need is real love, caring and friendship. As part of our effort to help the children we have begun special programs in orphanages whereby our volunteers can bring happiness and friendship into the lives of these children.
Below you can see some recent photos of a program held at an orphanage in Tharamani. Our devotees and volunteers cook a special meal of prasadam for the children, and hold a number of enjoyable activities for them, from playing games to painting works of art. [Please see bottom of page for more photos.]
The orphanage program is in its initial stages, but we would like to expand it to orphanages throughout Tamil Nadu, adding new activities as we develop more experience with the children. The aim is simple, to just add an element of friendship and caring into the lives of the orphans. It may not seem like much to paint a picture with them, or to play a game with them, or to give them a few toys to play with; but for these children who feel all alone in the world it can bring them a happiness you cannot imagine.
Orphanages in Tamil Nadu are very cold and difficult places for children to live in. The photo below shows S.P. Das, visiting an orphanage in Chennai. Each night most of us turn to the comfort of our bed for sleep, but these orphans have to sleep outside on the concrete floor. This is not a rare occurrence, nearly all of the orphanages that we visit are in the same situation. After seeing the hardships these orphans are facing, we have decided to make these orphanage programs a priority for our relief activities in South India.
We will write more about this new program in the coming weeks. We will also be launching a penpal program where you can bring happiness to these children by simply writing them a letter and sending them a few photographs. I request all of you to join this program and commit yourself to writing one letter a month to an orphan in India. Such a small thing can bring real happiness into their lives.
Below you can find some of the photos of the tsunami relief activities we have been carrying out over the last two and a half months. We thank all of you who have come forward to help this important cause. Your kindness and generosity has allowed us to offer some service to our brothers and sisters in their time of need. We have added a new picture gallery on our website where you can see many more photos of the relief activities being carried out.