Adoption of Six Communities, Malaysia
SSIO Malaysia has adopted six communities, in which various activities are ongoing. An additional four communities are projected to be adopted by 2019, and SSIO Malaysia would like to offer 10 community projects to our beloved Swami for His 95th birthday.
SSIO Malaysia has set up a committee with criteria for acceptance of community adoption. The projects should include sustainable service, devotional and educational projects. The current adopted communities include:
- Desa Mentari, Selangor
- Kampung Ujung Batu, Butterworth Penang
- Taman Cenderawasih, Pahang
- Matang Jaya, Selangor
- Lukut, Negeri Sembilan
- Nigel Garden, Selangor
Desa Mentari, Selangor State
Regular devotional activities include weekly bhajans, group Gayathri mantra chanting, temple bhajans, poojas on special occasions, self-transformation programmes (12–15 people monthly), well-attended spiritual lectures (100–120 people), public programmes for Swami’s Birthday (700 people) and young adult spiritual programmes for promoting unity. SSE (Sathya Sai Spiritual Education) students also presented a drama and dance programme.
Ongoing, regular service activities include the following: Needy families (26 families) receive food provisions with many varieties of food on a monthly basis. Twice weekly cooked meals are served to 150 needy people. Classes teaching single mothers to stitch clothing are provided multiple times a week to help them gain independence and earn a living. Other programmes include temple cleaning, blood donations, animal care at the animal shelter, and providing nearly 300 needy school children with uniforms, shoes and school supplies.
On the educational front, ongoing tuition (tutoring) five days a week has helped many needy children (60), who have improved their studying skills and exam scores. At an SSE Sankranthi (Ponggal) Celebration, 60 children enjoyed many educational and fun activities. At an Educare Carnival, 30 children performed a drama based on “Siti Hagar,” the Noble Mother of Ishmael (Abraham’s first born) and her sacrifice for her beloved son. More than 1,000 members of the public enjoyed the festivities.
Kampung Ujung Batu, Butterworth Penang State
Regular devotional activities include weekly bhajans, an EHV programme and spiritual talks. Every few months, meditation and motivation classes are held, which include young adults and Gayathri chanting.
Other activities include the following. Ongoing tuition (tutoring) classes are held weekly with a focus on early high school and improving English speaking skills. Additional projects include EHV students participating in temple cleaning, food distribution to the needy and back to school service for needy children (school supplies, clothing, shoes). A quarterly health programme educates the community on preventive measures, including proper hygiene.
Taman Cenderawasih, Pahang State
Devotional activities include weekly bhajans, weekly Gayathri mantra chanting and monthly temple bhajans. Service activities include weekly tuition (tutoring), temple cleaning and other temple service. Educational activities include weekly SSEHV classes and teen youth classes. Students also perform dramas for various festival celebrations.
Matang Jaya, Selangor State
Matang Jaya is a housing project comprising about 400 houses, 50 kilometres from Kuala Lumpur. These low-cost houses were mainly built for low income, needy families. Several Sathya Sai Centres (Cheras, Brickfields, Batu Caves and Sentul) participate with an emphasis on helping the school children and needy families. An acquired two-story home serves as a hub for various activities serving this adopted community.
Devotional activities include EHV classes, emphasising the importance of spirituality and bhajan classes. Monthly classes on teaching children their own religion are held. Major religious festivals (Sankranthi/Pongal, Deepavali and Christmas) and Chinese New Year are celebrated. Children are taught to respect their parents on Father’s and Mother’s Days. Bhajans and Gayathri mantra chanting are also conducted periodically in the homes of the people in the adopted community, with family participation.
Service activities include a free medical clinic every Sunday, a monthly recycling project, an annual tree planting and an annual visit with provision of food and soft toys to children in a local hospital. There is also a regular food service and a Light Meditation programme, along with an annual food delivery activity for prisoners in the local prison.
Educational programmes include weekly EHV classes, every other week tutoring, monthly classes on Hinduism and unique field trips every six months. For examples, students were taken to visit the Forest Research Institute and to KidZania, an experiential children’s learning and fun centre.
Other NGOs have recognised the service provided by SSIO in this community project and volunteered to support and contribute towards the sustenance of the project, including:
JCI – Junior Chambers of International (M), an International Organisation, which provided the setting up of a library and computer lab in the house for the children.
TAR University College donated funds towards the children’s activities in outings such as to the Forest Research Institute’s Enjoy Nature Programme, and donated dictionaries for the library.
Metta Foundation, a Buddhist Organisation, has undertaken yearly sponsoring of school uniforms and school bags to all students.
Lukut, Negeri Sembilan State
The Sathya Sai Organisation of Negeri Sembilan established a Surau (Muslim Prayer House) near the adopted community location, where 30 Muslim families can perform their daily prayers. The Muslim community works closely with other communities at the Surau, on joint programmes.
Devotional activities include regular bhajans in the temple, monthly spiritual talks, Gayathri mantra chanting and temple cleaning. Educational activities include SSE classes twice a month, SSE festival celebrations and coloring contests for the children.
Service activities include back to school provision of school uniforms, bags and shoes to more than 100 children, monthly service of cooked food, providing dry food supplies to 15 needy families and animal care by serving food to stray dogs. The home of a mentally challenged woman living with her daughter was also repaired.
Nigel Garden, Selangor State
Service activities included food service at the local school canteen. Human Values Day was celebrated as a family event with activities including children’s games and teaching respect to parents by stressing the importance of a mother’s blessing, as many of the children come from broken homes. Medical and dental screening were provided by healthcare professionals. Students were also taught personal hygiene skills.
Superhero Motivational Camp was held for students, encompassing learning and communicating in English, personal hygiene and some outdoor fun. Some of the activities included indoor and outdoor games.
SSIO volunteers organised a UPSR Examination (a primary school achievement test) preparation for year-six students and parents and a UPSR Academic Camp. For this three-day crash course prior to the UPSR examination, students were given audiobooks to aid independent learning, and the new technology added an engaging aspect to students’ learning.