Michael Jai Dev returns after several months in Lesbos, Greece working to rescue refugees from the ocean. After a few weeks working as a lifeguard from the shore, he teamed up with an Irish group and worked round-the-clock on open-sea rescues. Before he and his team got onto the ocean, 35 people a day were drowning. In the time that they worked on lifeguarding, zero people drowned in the Greek waters. We are utterly grateful to each and every one of you for contributing and will have more information from Jai Dev about his time there soon.
Our Seva Retreat 2016 to Ramana’s Garden Children’s Home had such an incredible time! We were blessed to stay in the dormitory built by our Kirtan Aid funds and that we worked to move rocks for during our first Seva Retreat in 2014. Each room has beautiful windows, stone walls, and a private bathroom. The entire building is operated off the grid with solar and wind power. There was even a yoga hall built behind it that has lovely bamboo floors and an incredibly ornate hand-made door (all volunteer work!)
Our sevadars this year were excited to paint a large mural with the children just outside the new dormitory. Harnam Singh led us in the project (sponsored with paint by Liquitex…thank you!) and everyone, adults and kids alike, had a blast creating this beautiful piece of art. We are thrilled they will get to enjoy this forever!
Our brand new dormitory built entirely through Sat Nam Foundation funding is finally complete at Ramana’s Garden Children’s Home in Rishikesh, India. Many young children will finally have a clean, warm and safe place to live, learn and attend school. We are so proud of everyone who contributed, especially our Seva Retreat volunteers who helped to clear the rocks to lay the foundation for this project and the musicians who donated to our album “Kirtan Aid: Orphans of Rishikesh”!
We continue to accept donations on behalf of the children at Ramana’s Garden to further their care and education!
Some shots of the children enjoying their new home…
And our volunteers removing the stones for the foundation!
Nepal is one of the homelands of the yogic tradition, and its time to take care of the people whose culture has so richly nourished ours. The Sat Nam Foundation is funding groups on the ground bringing supplies and support to the hardest hit areas of Nepal.
We are working with our friends at Ramana’s Garden Children’s Home, the site of our last Seva project, who are organizing tents and supplies to be hiked in to some of the most remote regions where aid isn’t already getting in.
We are also working with The Divine Shakti Foundation, headed by leaders of Parmarth Niketan Ashram in Rishikesh, India, who are organizing large truckloads to take desperately needed aid into Nepal.
They are sending food, tents, lanterns, blankets, clothing, insect repellent and medical supplies. Lives are being saved with each delivery.
It is people like us who must step up now and serve. We can help prevent the second wave of disasters…the aftermath of the earthquake brings disease, poverty, and violence.
We have already raised over $37,000 for people in Nepal. Help us change more lives by giving to our Nepal Relief fund today!
You can now support Sat Nam Foundation through Amazon Smile. Just search for Sat Nam Foundation is your Amazon Smile account and let a portion of your shopping go to supporting our projects around the globe!
Kirtan Aid began with a simple email to employees at Spirit Voyage. Hurricane Sandy was raging up the US East coast. A member of our warehouse team emailed everyone and said, “Why can’t we do something to help?” And I couldn’t think of a single reason we couldn’t. I called Karan Khalsa, CEO of Spirit Voyage and future Founder of Sat Nam Foundation, and got approval for the project. In my work as Director of Marketing for Spirit Voyage at the time, I had gotten to know many artists and musicians in the kirtan world. I called on everyone and asked for a simple favor…”Can we sell your music to raise money to help people rebuild their lives?” YES! We heard from artists one after another. Very quickly we pulled the contracts together, a cover was created and we launched Kirtan Aid: Chants for Hurricane Sandy which raised thousands of dollars to Hurricane Sandy relief. When it was all said and done, we were amazed at what the yoga and chant community had come together to do. We asked ourselves the question again “Why can’t we do something to help?” and Karan Khalsa began the process of establishing the Sat Nam Foundation to answer that question again.
There have been several Kirtan Aid albums now. Over $100,000 has been raised to help people in times of trouble and situations of need. The yoga and chant community continues to amaze us with their support and energy.
I’ll never forget that it all came from one question…”Why can’t we do something to help?” The answer is always “We can!” Let’s get to it…
The second annual Seva Retreat to Ramana’s Garden in Rishikesh, India is scheduled for March 7-13, 2016 and already I am excited for our adventure. Last year’s retreat was life changing. Each morning we woke before the rise of the sun and Ajeet Kaur and Harnam would lead us through meditation and chanting. Then after an ayurvedic breakfast, we would come together for the first class of the day. I was so honored to teach by the banks of the Ganga, letting the sound of the flowing river inspire our practice and choosing Kundalini yoga kriya that connected us to the timelessness of our souls. Lunch was at Ramana’s Garden to our delight and many of the children we would serve in the afternoon began by serving us. Their delicious organic cafe was just the ticket for smiles and laughter and true heart connection. In the afternoons we joined the children at school for help with writing English, or working on art projects. Some of us would work on manual labor projects such as moving rocks to lay the foundation of the dormitory Sat Nam Foundation funded (and it was incredible to see how surprised and delighted the laborers were to see a bunch of Westerners pitching in like one of the team), or playing with the children on the playgrounds. Free time was a chance to recharge, to go shopping, tour a local temple, or visit an ayurvedic treatment clinic. In the evenings we came together for meditation and chanting, for a fire puja to release all that no longer served us, and to dance under the stars. A very special weekend celebration allowed us to bring the children into our resort pool for a special picnic, many experiencing a pool for the first time, to their glee and delight!
What happens on a Seva Retreat? Pure magic. The chance to serve and support children who need us to have an opportunity for a better life. The experience of yoga in the place where it was born. The transformational practice of yoga and chanting with a group of people who will become family.
See you there!