Sai Australia

Sathya Sai International Organisation, Zone 3, Region 31

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Sai National Education Conference – 2018

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The 2018 Sai National Education Conference was held at the Sai School in Murwillumbah from Friday 8 June to Monday 11 June, and it was a humbling privilege to be a part of the organising committee.

What a blessing! A weekend dedicated to delve into, explore, inspire and experience “Sathya Sai Education for a Changing World”. It was an opportunity to bring the goodness out from within us and into our environment; love and warmth radiated from everyone throughout the whole weekend.

The three keynote speakers, Marianne Meyer, Angela Loraine Burrows and Abhimanyu Kaul inspired and enthralled everyone with their many experiences with Sathya Sai Baba. Each experience had a profound message and had us wanting more:

  • Abhimanyu reminded us that the teacher is an exemplar of sacrifice, inspiration and love. A true teacher teaches the children and the learning comes naturally; the subject matter becomes secondary. He reminded us that our core human aspirations are eternal and universal by nature, and do not change under different circumstances.
  • Marianne Meyer, while speaking on self-transformation, reiterated that we should let go and inspire to change ourselves. What are the gaps that we need to fill? We cannot change others so we must focus on ourselves. She explained the formal education in the Sathya Sai Schools and Institutes, SSEHV in State and Private schools and non-formal education in the form of SSE, and SSEHV in communities for non-devotees. She emphasised that both Education and Educare were essential for success.
  • Loraine Burrows delivered an inspiring session on opportunities and constraints in the implementation of Sathya Sai Education, based on learnings from the Sathya Sai School in Thailand. Teachers committed to being good examples, fulfilling their responsibilities and selfless service were the key to the success of the school. The school, being a model school, produces students who are ready to serve humanity. The environment is one that educators can learn from, and the goal of the school is to become totally self-sufficient. Already, they have their own rainwater tanks, and use this to grow and harvest all the rice needed to feed teachers, children, and staff throughout the year. They also have solar farms at the school.

Local speakers and presenters shared many aspects of Sathya Sai Education in Australia. Their many initiatives, experiences and messages were welcomed and appreciated by all delegates. The young adults shared their motivational experiences and inspiring journey from being SSE students to becoming SSE teachers. Two students of Raj Chandan also shared their touching experiences of the effect of human values being integrated in their classes at school.

The performances of the primary and secondary school children from both campuses were phenomenal. They excelled in their presentations whether it was through music or speech. Their inherent divinity touched every heart in the audience and brought tears to many eyes. It clearly demonstrated that one does not have to have the label of Sai devotee to uphold the five human values; these students are already excellent ambassadors of Sathya Sai Baba.

Prior to the conference, all delegates were invited to send in their burning issues and questions in relation to Sathya Sai Education in Australia. These were collated to form topics for a series of five workshops at the conference. These sessions focused on streamlining the future of Sathya Sai education in Australia in ten years’ time and what would it look like. Each group came up with an ideal scenario, and a small group will now work on these and prepare some final outcomes which will be put into place going forward.

On the last day of the conference the delegates had the opportunity to visit the Sathya Sai High School in Dungay. The divine, peaceful energy was felt by all upon arrival. After having a delicious breakfast prepared by our group of Sai devotees from NSW Region West, we took part in Nagarsankirtan (devotional singing whilst walking through a designated area; in this case, the school grounds). It was one of the most beautiful experiences, as the cool breeze blew past and the soft rays of the sun shone down on us while we sang the glory of our Lord Sai and radiated the energy all around. We also had the opportunity of seeing the classrooms and other facilities.

The presence of Sathya Sai Baba in the form of love was felt throughout the conference. It was indeed a weekend to recharge and return home happy and blessed.

Anjana Bhan


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The Kinship Festival, Murwillumbah – 2018

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The SSIO Australia was been invited to participate in a community event in Murwillumbah NSW called the Kinship Festival. The objective of the festival was to connect, share and participate in the wisdom and practice of healthy families, strong values and vibrant community culture.

The event was held on Saturday, 19 May. This annual Families Week gathering is designed and directed by members of the Indigenous community in collaboration with service providers to benefit all families with a sense of connection and belonging.

The elements of the festival are defined as:
Kinship – community and the threads that unite us all
Culture – meaning the practices and world-views that have kept our people and country whole and sustained beyond time
Connections – how Culture and Kinship in our present-day community can be and is connected

A brief history on how this came about:
Murwillumbah is a regional town with low socio-economy, high unemployment rates and is plagued with a variety of domestic issues. Around a third of the families have meagre incomes and struggle to make ends meet. This means they are often in dire need of basic food and household supplies.

During the 2016 Service/SSE Retreat we packed food hampers for 100 families and distributed this through the Murwillumbah Community Centre (MCC). Since then, with Sathya Sai Baba’s grace and guidance and generous voluntary contributions from SSIO Australia members, we were able to kick off an ongoing service project partnering with MCC and the Sathya Sai School providing food hampers and groceries for about 20 families every month.

During the aftermath of Cyclone Debbie in April last year, Murwillumbah was flooded and families were evacuated from their homes to makeshift and temporary shelters. More than anything else, they were in need of necessities such as milk, bread, water, instant noodles etc. We were able to supply this aid to over 200 families during this time. Subsequently, when the water level receded, and families went back to their homes, we provided cleaning supplies to help them clean their homes.

Fast forward to now:

We are now in our second year of providing monthly food hampers to families in Murwillumbah. This has established a strong relationship with the Murwillumbah community, and as a result, SSIO Australia was been invited to participate in their local Kinship Festival. This is a significant milestone achievement for SSIO Australia in its focus on Community Engagement.

Collaboration:

Individuals and families depend on the assistance we are providing, whatever it may be. As with any service initiative, it is important to maintain continuity and sustainability. This is achieved not only through financial contribution, but also through collaboration.

The service initiative in Murwillumbah has been successful through the collaboration of the Service Wing, Young Adults Programme, Sathya Sai School and now the Ladies Programme. The Service Wing places the orders for the monthly food hampers. Items are put together in bags by the Young Adults. Food hampers are then delivered to the Murwillumbah Community Centre through the Sathya Sai School. For the Kinship Festival, sweets and treats were prepared to represent the 5 Human Values and the recipes incorporated ingredients of Australian bush foods such as lemon myrtle, kakadu plum, macadamia and bush spices, which resonated with the local Aboriginal culture. The recipes were shared with members of the Ladies Programme, giving them an opportunity to be a part of this festival.

Overall, this is an SSIO Australia Community Engagement initiative, supporting the Murwillumbah community and strengthening the relationship and connection of the Sathya Sai School in the community, an opportunity by Sathya Sai Baba to demonstrate and put into practise Education in Human Values.


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Community Recognition of the SSIO in the ACT

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Over the past few months, the members of the SSIO in ACT were recognised for their outstanding voluntary services within the local community. Below are two awards that were presented to the SSIO.

Award of IRT Kangara Waters Volunteer of the Year Award

The IRT Kangara Waters Organisation have recognised the sincere efforts of SSIO in the ACT Region by awarding the IRT Kangara Waters ACT Region Volunteer of the Year award at a ceremony on the 22 May 2018. A dedicated team of volunteers from the Sai Organisation visit the IRT Kangara Waters Nursing Home to spend time with the residents, talk to them, give them food as well as singing songs to keep the residents in good spirits. The team have received overwhelmingly positive feedback from staff and residents at the venue on the overall impact that they are having on the wellbeing of the residents.

This service activity takes place once a month, on a Saturday, and lasts for approximately two hours. Any members interested in joining this service activity is requested to contact the ACT Region Service Coordinator – Brother Chandra.

Click on the below external links for more details regarding the award:

IRT News 1

IRT News 2

Volunteering and Contact ACT Recognition Award for outstanding voluntary service in the Canberra Region

The Sathya Sai International Organisation of Australia was given a Recognition Award for Outstanding Voluntary Service in the Canberra Region by the Volunteering and Contact ACT Organisation, for the volunteering activities undertaken at IRT Kangara Waters. This was another positive step for the Sathya Sai Organisation, with clear evidence on our service activities obtaining greater recognition in the community. The award ceremony, held by Volunteering and Contact ACT on Tuesday 22 May, was attended by a number of senior ministers from Canberra which provided great exposure for the Sathya Sai Organisation.


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Fun @ The Bunker – an Interfaith Event in NSW Region West

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The Region participated in a community event organised by Fairfield City Council. This is the second year in a row where our Organisation has received an invitation to participate in this community engagement initiative. A stall was set up by the Region displaying service activities carried out by the Sathya Sai Centre of Bonnyrigg in the local council area. The stall also had interactive human values activities for the children.

The highlight of the program was performances by various interfaith groups in the local council area and live musical entertainment provided by our very own young adults!


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Recognition for Services from the Sai Medical Unit

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The Sai Medical Unit regularly provides free medical services throughout our Zone. Ravinesh Chand, a member of this team, was recently recognised in Melbourne by the prime minister of Fiji for his contributions to the people of Fiji on behalf of the Sai Medical Unit. Right is an image of the Fijian Prime Minister with Ravinesh Chand.


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“We Love You Moyia!” – One Year Memorial of Moyia O’Brien

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The program entitled ‘We Love You Moyia,’was held to celebrate the life and memory of the beautiful and youthful pink soul, Moyia O’Brian. Dorothy and Moyia O’Brien have inspired and continue to inspire so many with their legacy of unconditional love for all. Moyia’s one-year memorial anniversary was fittingly held at SWARA, a centre lovingly established by the twins to assist adults with disabilities to reach their full potential. The celebration started with a Gayathri Havan where all Sai devotes participated in the prayer. A pink altar was set up including photos of the twins with Sathya Sai Baba and other items that were dear to Moyia. Reflections and experiences with Moyia were shared, bring back memories and smiles of joy. This was followed by the singing of Moyia’s favourite devotional songs and afternoon tea.


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Toowoomba Winter Collection Drive

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The Toowoomba Winter Collection Service project was inspired by Mother Easwaramma. The service activity followed the SSE Lesson on Compassion. The donations were to The Toowoomba Youth Service and Lifeline.


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Canberra Interfaith Forum

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On the 29th of April, the ACT Young Adults were able contribute to the annual Canberra Interfaith Forum, held at the Environment, Meditation and Healing Garden. Planting trees in the healing garden gave us the opportunity to engage with young adults of different faiths and religious backgrounds. Overall, it was a unique and uplifting experience to celebrate the core similarities in our expressions of faith.

The Canberra Interfaith Forum was established to support interfaith activities in Canberra, and to promote spiritual and multicultural harmony in the nation’s capital.


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Birthing Kit Assembly Day in ACT – 2018

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The ACT Region undertook a Service Activity of assembling birthing kits on Saturday, 26 May 2018. The Birthing Kit Assembly Day activity was organised jointly by the Service and the Young Adults Wings in ACT. This service has been undertaken for the past five years and this year marks the sixth for this activity. Since 2016, this activity has been ACT Region’s service offering to mark Guru Poornima.

The idea for the birthing kit project in Australia began in 1995 with Dr Joy O’Hazy, doctor and a member of the Adelaide Hills’ Zonta Club. In that year Dr O’Hazy attended the 5th World Conference on Women’s Health in Beijing where she heard a speech from actor Sally Field about how a birthing kit, costing less than $1, can save a life. Four years later in 1999 Dr Joy O’Hazy, devised the simple birthing kit which is still in use today and the first 100 birthing kits were sent to Papua New Guinea, receiving very positive feedback. Since then the project has gone from strength to strength in Australia, so much so that the decision to incorporate the Birthing Kit Foundation Australia was made in September 2006.

On a very gloomy and cold Saturday morning, the activity of assembling birthing kits commenced at 9 am at the Griffin Centre in ACT with 18 Sai followers. More than 50% of the participants were Sai Young Adults and children. 400 kits were assembled by this very dedicated group. These kits are intended to promote hygiene in childbirth and thus prevent the most common causes of related infections. Each kit contains items for the birth itself (e.g. plastic sheeting, soap & disposable gloves), for the baby (clamps and a blade to attend to the umbilical cord) and to prevent common post-natal infections (e.g. gauze to clean the baby’s eyes).

Over the past 5 years the ACT Region has assembled over 2000 kits and has thus assisted the Birthing Kit Foundation Australia in giving women a better chance of survival during pregnancy and childbirth in poor and remote communities.

This clearly demonstrated that activities such as these are a great way to bring our community together to make a difference. It also helps us to translate Sathya Sai Baba’s message of “Love in Action” into practice by working together in harmony and camaraderie whilst creating a resound in our communities.


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Gold Coast and Tweed Heads Unity Meeting

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Our first Unity Meeting for 2018, held at the Sathya Sai College at Dungay, was celebrated on 29th April in honour of Aradhana Mahotsavam which was on the 24th of April. We decided on a service project that was a wonderful activity to mark this auspicious day.

Every year around 300,000 women and 3 million newborns die from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. The Birthing Kit Foundation Australia (BKFA) helps to address these concern by distributing Birthing Kits to women in vulnerable settings to help enable a clean and safer birthing environment. We registered with BKFA to conduct our service project for this Unity Day.

Although we are a very small region, consisting of one centre and one group, we decided to assemble 200 birthing kits, which is the minimum number required by the foundation. At a cost of $3.00 per kit, we needed to raise $600.00 within a month. With two weeks to go to the deadline of 29th April, we hadn’t raised even half the amount that was required, and were considering postponing the service activity to a later date. However Sathya Sai Baba, being Omniscient, and through His constant reminder to His devotees that “If you take one step towards Me I’ll take 100 steps towards you”, inspired His devotees to act and within two weeks we raised $1200.00 and were able to increase our commitment to 400 kits. It was real proof of how much Sai continues to guide and inspire us at every moment.

Due to the huge demand for the kits in many parts of the world, we received a request from the BKFA asking if it was possible for us to assemble more kits without any extra cost to us. We agreed to take on a further 600 kits, making it a total of 1000 assembled Birthing Kits ready for delivery to women in vulnerable situations. Through Gods’ Grace, all the kits were ready on the 29th of April as we had initially hoped.

We thank Sathya Sai Baba for giving us this opportunity to take part in a life-saving project and to bring some joy to the recipients, which in turn is a blessing to all the volunteers.

In Sai Service.
Love All Serve All, Help Ever Hurt Never.

Nathan Pellai.
Regional Service Co-ordinator.
Gold Coast/Tweed Region.


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