Amma to participate in ‘Swachhta Hi Seva’ re-launch on Sept 15, interact with PM Modi

>>Prime Minister Modi and Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi (Amma) will have an interaction over video-conferencing on the occasion, which will be broadcast nationally and live-streamed on social media

Mata Amritanandmayi InfographicThe globally renowned spiritual leader and humanitarian Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi (Amma) will participate in the national re-launch of ‘Swachhta Hi Seva 2018’ programmeon Sept 15 and have a video-conference interaction with Prime Minister Modi between 10:30-11:00 am on the occasion. The event will be broadcast live by the state-run broadcaster Doordarshan and live-streamed by social-media handles of Amma’s ashram.

Immediately after the launch, hundreds of members of Mata Amritanandamayi Math in Amritapuri (Kollam District) and its affiliated institutions all over India, including schools, university campuses and ashram branches, will offer a massive shramdaan [voluntarycontribution of physical effort] to make their surroundings clean. The residents of the Amritapuri Ashram will conduct a cleanliness drive in a six-kilometre stretch of the coastal belt near the ashram.

Speaking on the importance of environmental protection and cleanliness, Amma said, “We should not leave Mother Earth with scars. Instead, we should leave her with flowers bedecked in her hair. We should leave her in a better condition than she was when we came to her—never worse. Cleanliness and sanitation are fundamental to the development of any country. If we care about the coming generations—the world that will be inherited by our children and grandchildren—we must act now. In the old days, there was no specific need for environmental preservation because protecting Nature was part of worshiping God and part of life itself. More than remembering God, people used to love and serve Nature and society. They saw the Creator through the creation. They loved, worshiped and protected Nature as the visible form of God. We should try to reawaken this attitude. Today, the biggest threat to humankind is not a third World War but the loss of Nature’s harmony—our widening separation from Nature.”

Swachhata Hi Sewa is a mass mobilisation campaign carried out between September 15 and October 2 to encourage people to help fulfil the vision of Clean India by making their surroundings clean. The national launch this year will be done by the Prime Minister through video conference at more than 15 locations across India, with different sections of the community and eminent public figures participating.Theevent will mark the fourth anniversary of the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM), a government-sponsored campaign that aims to clean up the streets, roads and infrastructure in the country.

Under Amma’s guidance, the Mata Amritanandamayi Math and its worldwidecomponent, Embracing the World, have taken environmental protection as one of their primary aims for decades. In 2015, Amma contributed Rs. 100 crores to NamamiGange — ‘Clean the Ganges’ Project. This sum was used to construct toilets in poor villages along the Ganges. The Math has also constructed more than 10,000 toilets for the poor in Kerala and has an on-going programme wherein it trains women in basic plumbing and masonry so that they can build not only their own toilets but toilets for others as well.

Throughout the world, the Math and Embracing the World have planted more than one million trees as part of the United Nations Billion Tree Campaign, and the Math regularly organises cleanliness drives in cities, temple grounds, rivers and parks, as part of the AmalaBharatam Campaign it launched in 2010. As part of this, MAM volunteers have cleaned the famous Sabarimala Temple and Pampa River annually since 2011, each year removing tons of trash. Through education campaigns in Amma’s 101 adopted Amrita SeRVe villages, the Math has helped 16 villages throughout India attain Open Defecation Free status by Swacch Bharat Abhiyan.The Math iscurrently involved in a self-financed Rs.100-crore project called “Jivamritam,” wherein it is providing free water-filtration systems to 5,000 rural village centres throughout India, with the goal of thereby providing water purification for one crore villagers.

Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi

Amma has delivered addresses at the United Nations several times and has spoken twice at the Parliament of the World’s Religions. Among other accolades, she has received the Gandhi-King Award for Non-violence in Geneva, the James Parks Morton Interfaith Award in New York, and an honorary doctorate from the State University of New York. In 2014, at the invitation of His Holiness Pope Francis, Amma was one of 12 religious and spiritual leaders to travel to the Vatican to sign a joint declaration against modern slavery. Throughout her life, Amma has embraced and comforted more than 38 million people. When asked where she gets the energy to help so many people while also building and running a massive humanitarian organisation, Amma answers: “Where there is true love, everything is effortless. Love transforms.” (For more information: www.amritapuri.org)

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