Charity Projects (RURAL/URBAN)
- VISION & PHILOSOPHY
- RURAL & URBAN COMMUNITY HEALTH & AWARENESS
- RURAL & URBAN EDUCATION
- RURAL ECONOMIC SUSTAINABILITY & ENVIRONMENTAL PRESERVATION
- FEEDING THE POOR IS FEEDING GOD!
- MISSION GALLERY
Lokenath Divine Life Mission (LDLM)
This is the vision of our founder Shuddhaanandaa Brahmachari (Babaji) who founded Lokenath Divine Life Mission in 1985 in the sacred town of Bageshwar in the Himalayas.
“My vision and mission of founding Lokenath Divine Life Mission is to see communities thriving on the principle of self help and self dignity and growing together with deepest feeling of fellowship, creating wealth and sharing it with a heart free of malice for anyone and love for all. A community founded on cooperation and not competition. Where everyone lives for the other, where happiness is a shared value. Where personal growth is always in the plane of evolved consciousness. Where this organization is only a catalyst in creating the miracle of humanity free of hunger and deprivation, and children educated to be global citizens with practiced spiritual values of harmony and peaceful coexistence.”
Shuddhaanandaa Brahmachari (Babaji)
The whole Village comes to meet Babaji when he has his annual visit.
A FEW WORDS ABOUT THE HISTORY OF LDLM
Lokenath Divine Life Mission (LDLM), founded by Shudhhaanandaa Brahmachari (Babaji), has completed 30 years of service. Since its very inception the less privileged individuals have always received the help and support they need from the Mission.
The work go on year after year – patterns change, designs change, locations change to match the changing time and the changing need of society. The work of the Mission is done as per the guidelines given by Babaji. His ideology and thoughts are the basis of all the projects of the Mission. Teams of workers and devotees join hands and work with joy, sincerity, and love to make all the projects of the Mission successful.
Since the mission started with the Seeta Pur Eye Hospital in Bageshwar (in the Himalayan regions) it has continued flourishing with new projects increasing every year. There was a time during the 1980s and 1990s when the Mission used to manage more than 2,000 self-help groups and adopted numerous villages. The Mission was the pioneer and established these groups in Sunderbans of West Bengal, India.
During 1980s and 1990s the Mission installed 2,000 low cost latrines in the village homes and made continuous effort to educate and motivate people to use and maintain toilets properly. The Mission had installed twenty-eight Tube Wells drilled to provide arsenic free drinking water to thousands of villagers.
Hingalgunj wool weaving centre of the Mission
Numerous projects were taken up as time demanded and the Mission moved on too there. Once such shift was from The Project Liquor to Project Loom where the illicit liquor making families shifted from the profession of producing illegal liquor to weaving cloths in hand looms through the help and support of the Mission.
There are many such projects the Mission made during its journey since 1985. Please see our Mission Blog for a more detailed chronological history of our successes.
Babaji Shuddhaanandaa addressing at the SHG yearly meeting of the Mission
BABAJI EXPLAINS WHY THE MISSION DOES NOT DO TRADITIONAL CHARITY
We are not fighting poverty; we are only helping the poor to mindfully create more wealth for themselves and for all. LDLM serves women, children and families in the rural villages of West Bengal and slums of Kolkata with sustainable development programs utilizing education, self-help, and microcredit. LDLM does not believe in traditional charity. I prefer to support people in liberating themselves rather than reinforce their sense of powerlessness. Therefore all contributions are used to support the Mission’s programs rather than as direct aid to individuals.
My heart’s first thought in serving all human beings has always been to release them from the crippling, self-created illusion of dependence. To my mind, no true help comes through charity, and no gift from outside can change the plight of the underprivileged. It is all inside.
Traditional charity involves a gift from one who has more than the one who receives it, which generates lower self-esteem and a sense of inadequacy in the receiver. It leaves the receiver waiting for the next handout, more convinced than ever of his or her own powerlessness, and with the depleted personal initiative that is required to move beyond poverty.
LDLM’S PHILOSOPHY OF SELF HELP
Everything LDLM does, therefore, is firmly grounded in the philosophy of Self Help. Our fully democratic Self Help Groups (SHGs) represent and promote this philosophy. LDLM is merely a catalyst and facilitator. Our programs provide the education and health services, and the structural supports and resource linkages to develop awareness as well as personal capacity, to create solid ground for development that is both sustainable and which nourishes the individual and the social context in which he or she lives.
LOKENATH DIVINE LIFE FELLOWSHIP
In 1991, Lokenath Divine Life Fellowship (LDLF) was inspired and founded by Shuddhaanandaa Brahmachari, in California, USA, as 5013c tax exempt not for profit to serve the underprivileged all over the world, and particularly support Lokenath Divine Life Mission’s on going developmental and charity projects. It also is committed to spread spiritual education that is transcendental to all religious faiths and dogmas, to create a more humane society that cares and loves each other and preserves the planet Mother Earth. Shuddhaanandaa visits the US every year to facilitate this transition of human society from the darkness of ignorance to the world of light where all survive as children of one Mother Nature.
Babaji leads a mindful meditation at University of Wisconsin USA.
RURAL & URBAN COMMUNITY HEALTH AND AWARENESS
Overview: Medical Facilities for Poor
The Mission provides medical facilities in both the villages of Sundarbans as well as Kolkata since 1987
The medical service provided by the Mission is through Homeopathy that has least side effects and is most effective for chronic and acute diseases for women and children living in unhealthy slums and streets and also in remote villages.
Urban Medical Programs:
One Mobile clinic reaches to slums and street corners treating an average of 200 + patients every day. There are close to 18 outdoor slum clinics in the city of Kolkata catering to thousands of patients who are most economically deprived. Annually all these outreach medical programs take care of 180,000 patients for free.
Mission Mobile Medical Van in Slums of Kolkata
Mission’s Dr. Ray treating a Patient at Missions Clinic.
Patients Brought from Remote Villages to Kolkata for Treatment:
In certain serious cases the patient is brought from the remote villages of Sundarban to Kolkata for the purpose of treatment. One such case is that of Gosaba girl Dipali. She could not walk properly on both feet and on top of that the veins in her eyes were drying up. She was brought to Kolkata and adequate treatment was given to her. Now she can walk with ease with the help of custom made medical shoes from well-known medical appliance manufacturers in Kolkata. Prolonged eye treatment has given her great benefit. She can see much better now. Her eyes have been saved. There are many such people like Dipali who have been receiving such help from the Mission free of charge. The mission in collaboration with the Nihar Munshi Eye foundation provides various eye treatment facilities and operations to the less privileged.
Gosaba Girl Dipali Das
The Mission, in collaboration with Nihar Munshi Eye Foundation, organizes eye camps in Kolkata where poor patients get eye checkups, treatment, cataract and other eye operations at a subsidized and negligible cost. Patients are regularly brought from remote villages, are treated and sent back after the treatments.
Recently Sri Amal Krishna Adhikari, a poor peasant of Sunderbans was brought to Kolkata for eye cataract treatment. A lump of flesh was noticed in his right eye that needed a very critical, complicated and risky operation. Nihar Munshi Eye Foundation referred to BB Eye Foundation, another renowned Hospital, who expressed their inability to do the particular operation of the particular patient, but finally Mission took up the matter with Shankara Netralaya, the biggest eye Hospital of Asia for the operation. Ultimately the operation was successful, and Sri Amal Krishna has gone back to his village, his eyesight is now just the way it should be.
Dr. examines child while grateful mother looks on.
Additional Rural Health Care Projects:
- Village Eye Camps serve 70-80 people per month
Offer free eye testing, eye care education
Refer for advanced eye care, cataract surgeries
Patients sent to Nihar Munsi Eye Foundation for free cataract microsurgery
- Health Education Awareness Workshops target topics for women and adolescent girls according to identified local needs
Provide workshops on:
Control of water borne diseases, family planning
Arsenic toxicity awareness
Polio prevention and education
- Blood Group Determination Camp:
Ignorance about correct blood group causes severe medical complications
Camp designed to avoid wrong blood administration, damage, and premature death
Serves remote villages in West Bengal
Conducts Blood Group Determination Camps to address problem, raise awareness.
Health Workers, Volunteers Provide Health Monitoring, Training:
In-house visitation program for pregnant and new mothers
Monitor and care for health issues
Provide education on infant care assesses and makes referrals for early treatment
Educate on child development, health issues and disabilities
Workshops on mother-child care
RURAL & URBAN EDUCATION
Mission School kids practicing Yoga at Mission School.
It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words, so please see our urban school projects in pictures!
OUR RURAL EDUCATION PROGRAM IN PICTURES!
They enjoy free meals after the school at the Mission.
They also have Physical Exercise classes at the Mission School.
They perform at the annual functions.
They play at the Mission’s school garden
OVERVIEW OF OUR EDUCATION PROGRAMS
LDLM is committed to bring the light of education to the under privileged sections of society thus enriching their lives and strengthening their moral values. Its literacy and value based education instills the joy of learning in the young children it serves.
Curriculums include formative recreation, sports, excursions, dance, painting, yoga and meditation to channel the children’s energy, creativity, and develop sense of accomplishment. It then coordinates with local schools to mainstream students into the primary level.
LDLM works to eliminate child labor through education. It actively counsels parents on long-term benefits of sending their children to school rather than to streets to beg or into the child labor market.
RURAL EDUCATION PROJECTS:
80 Pre-Primary Schools in the Sunderbans delta villages are providing basic pre-school and value-based education to 2500 students. Yoga, pranayama, and meditation are integral part of the curriculum to strengthen the child’s ability to focus and accomplish chores with a calm mind.
Flexible to the Core – Our LDLM yoga teacher, Nimai Biswas, and his students regularly undertake workshops and demonstrate how almost anything and everything can be accomplished with the human body through yoga and meditation. Yoga fortifies determination and hard work among its students.
These students accomplish major yoga feats with pride and conviction and display spectacular performances of yoga and gymnastics. The Mission stresses imparting physical education for all-round development of healthy mind and body.
LDLM has also started formal schools at the primary level to impart value-based education to the children belonging to the poorest sections of the society. For the children living in the remote villages of Sundarbans like Sandeshkhali, Hingalganj & Gosaba, the Mission has developed twenty-six kindergarten schools which have qualified teachers just like teachers from city schools. 1600 to 2000 students are benefitted every year. The Mission engages efficient teachers just like the teachers we have in the urban schools of the privileged children.
The Mission provides textbooks in large numbers to the meritorious and poor students who cannot afford to buy them. These Book Banks have already helped thousands of students with study materials yearly.
Scholarships are provided every year for meritorious poor students to continue imparting higher level of education to groom them to be worthy citizens imbibing highest level of social, moral and cultural values. Significant number of students from the deprived sections of the village community has been benefited under this scheme.
URBAN EDUCATION PROJECTS:
Babaji judges a race at street school annual picnic outing
At present there are 3 pre-primary schools for the children living on streets and slums of Kolkata. These schools cater to the educational needs of the children living in extremely poor conditions.
The children are blessed with joyful learning through fun and creativity. The curriculum fosters the children’s energy and concentration level through art, traditional dance, yoga and meditation, basic literacy training and formative recreational methods.
The Primary goals are:
To assure children they are loved and are valuable assets, to counsel parents to continue their child’s education.
To eliminate child labor.
To collaborate with local schools to mainstream the children at primary level.
To provide children annual health check ups.
To observe and report health issues.
Additional Quality of Life Programs foster awareness of adolescent girls on menstrual hygiene, reproductive health and rights, and personal cleanliness. Adult and adolescent girls are trained to produce beautiful sewing and embroidery.
LDLM also facilitates the UTSAV home for destitute children from tribal communities.
RURAL ECONOMIC SUSTAINABILITY AND ENVIRONMENTAL PRESERVATION
Shuddhaanandaa Brahmachari addressing the Self-help groups at Dulduli Project of Lokenath Divine Life Mission.
Shuddhaanandaa (Babaji) feels that the mission’s aim should be to ‘build people’, people who don’t only earn millions for themselves, people who do not live life only for their own selves, people who don’t only dream about their own small families. He wants to develop individuals who would care for each other, who would help each other in times of distress.
“My heart swells in happiness when I hear of stories of true service to human dignity. This is my philosophy, to prepare the people to live and die for each other.” Shuddhaanandaa Brahmachari
EMPOWERMENT/SELF HELP GROUPS (SHG)/MICRO CREDIT
At present the mission is also responsible for developing almost 500 self-help groups (SHG) in the villages of Sundarbans that benefit more than 5,000 families. In each group there are around ten female members and a joint bank account of the group. The Mission works as a catalyst, helps the villagers to form a group, to open bank accounts, to get loans from the bank for developing business, agriculture, animal husbandry, pisciculture, handicrafts, or to meet social commitments like marriage or for other emergencies. This whole procedure has helped the villagers in becoming more self reliant and self-sufficient.
As the SHGs of an area become self-sufficient, the Mission shifts the activities to other areas. For this reason there was a time when the Mission used to handle 1500 SHGs all over Sunderbans. Now Mission is working with 402 groups and in future the numbers may change further.
Self Help Group Meeting
Vocational Training Center
In various areas like Dulduli, Charalkhali, Kanai khathi, Bijaynagar, the mission has also set up vocational training institutes to train the villagers about Stitching, Wool weaving and Crochet work.
Thread and Crochet training
The women of the village, after receiving training in these subjects, produce garments that are marketed to Kolkata by the mission again. This way they are able to earn around 2000-2500 INR per month.
Hingalgunj wool weaving centre of the Mission
Research is done on how to produce more and better products, be it cultivation, or be it pisiculture, but the basis should be organic Babaji says.
Mission’s training camp for SHG mothers. –Sunderbans.
In the same way research is done on ways of to do organic farming and cultivation in the lands of the mission to pass on the knowledge acquired to villagers.
The Mission speaks to the villagers to make them believe that organic farming will produce better products and better taste than the one produced of chemical fertilizers. The Mission also makes the Urban and the Rural people aware of the ill effect of the vegetables and crops produced by the help of chemical fertilizers.
Mission’s Organic farming
Organic Farming at Mission centre.
Project – Let’s bring back our Cows to our villages
Mission has brought Shankar Projati Cow (a cross breed of Australian and Indian cow), which will produce 8 times more milk than the local type cows. Cow keeping has become profitable, cow dung will be available for making fertilizer, and Mission is teaching the techniques to keep this type of cow.
Mission’s Cow at Sunderban.
Vermin Compost Project
The Mission’s research centre has developed the vermin compost fertilizer at Mission Research Centre, Sunderban.
Project Vermin Compost
The imported vermin are given processed vegetable wastes, leaves, straws, cow dung, other plants and herbs to eat. The vermin eat continuously day and night and leave the waste from their body, which is the excellent organic fertilizer.
Mission’s Food Project
Mission noticed that the urban food habits have changed during last 10 years. People have become habituated in having frozen food, modern packed snacks, and fast food containing ajinomoto, the taste enhancer and other chemicals, salt and even pesticides used as preservatives. To make the food attractive, chemical colours, not at all permitted for human use, are applied in snack foods and sweets in the market. These are dangerous for our health.
Mission’s SHG mothers have started producing healthier snacks such as Coconut Candies, Puffed Paddy, Puffed Rice, Crunchy Sweet Puffed Rice Balls, and Baked Rice nicely packed and labeled. Some more items are being planned. People have started redeveloping taste for these lost items in the urban areas. These are totally chemical free health friendly products. It is a continuous effort not only to search for a way of earning for the poor village mothers but also a joint effort of the Village mothers and the Mission to change the unwanted food habit of the Urban people and to bring them out of the clutch of chemicals and adulterated food products.
A recent consignment of colour free unpolished pulses (Moog Dal) has arrived at Kolkata from the village for the wellbeing of Urban health.
Another notable project of the Mission is the pension scheme that was started for the aged villagers of Sundarbans. The beauty of the project lies in the fact that the pension money is handed over by the aged recipients themselves and not by young workers of the Mission. Babaji handed over the first pension at the inauguration of the pension project and it is felt that only Babaji has the right to hand over pension to these respectable old village people and give his blessings to them. It is felt that if any mission worker is allowed to give away pension money to the old senior villagers it would belittle them, as they are poor but not beggars. By handling the pensions themselves this makes them feel that they are not just recipients of some money but they are also Baba’s representatives. They feel they also can do important work that they can enjoy.
Pensioners Hand Out Pension Checks in Gosaba
Feeding the Poor Is Feeding God!
Ann Shannon, (US) devotee of the mission offers Narayana Seva, Poor Feeding, Kolkata
Poor Feeding Project
In the year 2007 the Mission started “Naranarayan Seva” (Poor Feeding). The project is outside Kalighat Temple in Kolkata. The less privileged and old people living on the streets in this area either suffering from extreme poverty or health problems are provided with clean fresh and well-cooked food on a daily basis. This not only helps to provide the people with nutritious food required for the wellbeing of their health on time, it also helps to create a wholesome feeling in the hearts of the devotees attached to this project. 100 needy people are fed every day throughout the years at Kalighat Project. The figure comes to 36,500 meals served in a year. Though it is a poor feeding project we don’t call them poor, as they may be financially challenged, but rich in terms of life experience.
Mass Feeding Project
6 Mass feeding events are arranged in Kolkata and Sunderbans a year. 18,000 people at large irrespective of cast, creed, or religion are fed in a year at these 6 feeding programs.
Babaji Shuddhaanandaa offering food at the Mass Feeding Program at Sunderbans.
Lokenath Divine Life Mission (LDLM) GALLERY
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