During the celebration of Ugadi in 2007, Baba announced the launch of a new project with the improvement of rural communities at its heart: the Sri Sathya Sai Village Integrated Programme (SSSVIP). Swami emphasised not only the development of village facilities, such as schools and sanitation services, but the personal growth of both villagers and devotees through this seva. This declaration paved the way for the 2018 launch of the Global Adoption of 95 Communities initiative, described by Dr. Narendranath Reddy, Chairman of the Prasanthi Council, as follows:
“As an offering of love to Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba on His 95th Birthday, the SSSIO initiated a programme titled ‘Global Adoption of 95 Communities’. As part of the programme, we plan to adopt at least 95 communities around the world in a sustainable manner. The goal of this project is transformation of the heart – for both SSSIO volunteers and the recipients of the service, as taught by Bhagawan. Our mission is to make a difference in the lives of needy people by providing education, healthcare, food, shelter, drinking water, and other services. I urge all SSSIO members to participate in this wonderful opportunity.”
Since its launch in 2018, the 95 Communities initiative has expanded to include 160 communities in 40 countries (as of January 2021). This fortuitous growth resulted in the renaming of the initiative to the Adoption of Communities.
The Adoption of Communities Update: January 2021-Sri Lanka
- Completed 165 cataract operations out of the 300 funded by UK devotees, rest ongoing
- The original excavation of the second well was found to be dry of water hence the delay , however the Second well is ready awaiting finishing to the exterior and hopefully will be open in February after the rainy season
- SSSIO SL YAs talking to the community members and collecting individual level data to identify who is suitable for cycle distribution based on the senior students sitting for the government 11th exams, distance from their house to school and income levels.
The Adoption of Communities Update: November 2020- Sri Lanka
- Completed one well and opened to villagers on our beloved Bhagawans 95th Birthday , 23 November 2021
- Completed 68 cataract operations
The SSSIO United Kingdom has embarked on two national initiatives, collaborating with SSSIO Sri Lanka to adopt several communities in eastern Sri Lanka as well as supporting SSSIO Nepal in the construction of a girls’ hostel for the Sri Sathya Sai School in Pokhara.
Financially underprivileged children in rural Nepal, particularly young, orphaned girls, have historically been vulnerable to human trafficking. To help combat this, SSSIO Nepal organised the construction of a children’s orphanage and new grounds for the Sri Sathya Sai School in Pokhara. The school has been operating on leased land since the early 2000s and provides an education for more than 180 students at a time. However, the lease’s imminent expiration created a need for new premises. SSSIO Nepal organised the development of new grounds on purchased land in order to sustainably support this institution into the future. To this end, SSSIO UK sponsored the construction of the school’s new girls’ hostel, which commenced on Rama Navami in 2018.
In 2019, SSSIO UK also sponsored the construction of SSSIO Sri Lanka’s Deep Well Project in Sri Vallipuram, which gave more than 500 villagers access to free, clean water close to their homes. Further arrangements were also made to provide 300 cataract operations, for which demand continues to grow, as well as a number of sewing machines to aid the rehabilitation of women.
In 2020, the UK adopted two more communities in Batticaloa, Sri Lanka, namely Palankudyiruppumadu and Katpahakeni in the Pavatkodichenai village. These areas encompass 700 people across 204 families. The project, estimated to continue into 2022, is already underway and will focus on the improvement of village facilities and education opportunities.
The project outline so far includes:
- Construction of 4 dug wells – to provide access to safe and clean drinking water, see progress photos of first well below.
- Setup of 1 nutritional flour industry – to create a source of income for 30 widows
- Construction of 30 individual toilets for the most vulnerable families – to improve sanitation and hygiene
- Provision of bicycles for 20 children – to enable them to travel the 5km distance to school which they would otherwise have to walk
- Establishment of one pre-education and EHV (Education in Human Values) centre – to deliver pre-education and Human Values awareness classes to children and youth
- Delivery of awareness raising sessions on health, hygiene, substance abuse and information on existing social services – to create awareness and promote healthy habits and lifestyles among recipients
How Devotees Can Get Involved
Devotees can support the next phase of the Adoption of Communities initiative in several ways:
- support through provision of bags of grains, learning materials (e.g. activity books, uniforms, stationery) and SSEHV learning resources
- support through creation of online learning sessions in Tamil/Sinhala which can be delivered to villagers
- support through financial contributions for equipment purchases, construction costs and delivery of services
More information on how to get involved can be obtained from your Regional Service Coordinator.