The Sri Sathya Sai Young Adults (YAs), an integral part of the Sri Sathya Sai International Organization (SSSIO), actively participate in a variety of devotional, educational, community service, and humanitarian relief projects worldwide.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, the YAs from around the world displayed stellar efforts to serve the community, through many service projects and humanitarian relief activities. They showed exemplary leadership by innovating and organizing online virtual programs within local Sri Sathya Sai Centers and at the national and international levels.
The programs organized by the YAs were supported by nine international YA subcommittees which provide opportunities to participate in interesting projects designed specifically to cater to a wide range of interests, while nurturing spiritual growth.
Serve the Planet (STP)
The STP YA subcommittee continued its theme of Building a Sustainable Values based CommUNITY. YAs turned their journey inwards with online, nature-based study circles focusing on physical and mental energy. Two live webinars were held on planting the seeds of love (starting a home garden) and making the transition to being a healthy and planet friendly vegetarian. The year 2020 saw the launch of the first Instagram live sessions, giving YAs access to a home garden and answering questions on how to start a garden, beekeeping, caring for animals and how small actions can have a big impact on native fauna.
Major environmental days (Earth Hour and Earth Day) were celebrated with online campaigns encouraging devotees to reinvigorate their connection to nature and God.
Sri Sathya Sai International Leadership Programme (SSSILP) for Young Adults
The SSSILP has been successfully sharing leadership knowledge and practical skills based on Sri Sathya Sai Baba's teachings. The year 2020 marks the 7th anniversary of the program where 200 YAs registered and participated from 36 different countries. The leadership program based on the principles and values of Sri Sathya Sai Baba's teachings are offered in nine different online modules and in three different languages: English, Russian and Spanish.
The class of 2020- 2021 will graduate in 2021 bringing the total number of graduates, since the inception of the program in 2015, to nearly 1,800. Many graduates are serving in various leadership roles at Sri Sathya Sai centers, and regional and national levels in all the zones around the world.
InSAIghts (formerly Young Adults Talent Development)
InSAIghts provides innovative content through masterclasses and workshops where YAs learn about the teachings of Sri Sathya Sai Baba and implement them in their daily lives. The team organized a series of three online masterclasses on Spiritual Wellbeing and Healthy Living, which was viewed by hundreds of YAs around the world. InSAIghts also offers technical support to International Veda Program and hosts the YA worldwide calls held every two months.
Sri Sathya Sai Sadhana of Love (SSSSOL)
In 2020, the SSSSOL subcommittee conducted the Sadhana of Love program for over 100 YAs. The course teaches the four steps to realization of one’s own divinity – Self-Confidence, Self-Satisfaction, Self-Sacrifice, and Self-Realization as expounded by Sri Sathya Sai Baba. The program included nine online modules, with the last two featuring guest speakers, panel discussions and a meditation session.
The SSSSOL subcommittee also began accepting applications for the 2021 program at the end of 2020, which was very successful. Participation has increased every year since the inception of the subcommittee. In preparation for the 2021 program, the team worked on new study circles and other supplemental material based on feedback received throughout the year.
YAs all over the world have been regularly sharing remarkable testimonials of gratitude to Sri Sathya Sai Baba through the Reflections of Sai posts on social media, which were published every Thursday.
Pathways (formerly Group 4 to YA Transition)
The International Sri Sathya Sai Young Adults Pathways subcommittee was formed in July 2020 to empower the spiritual learning and development of future generations of YAs (aged 18–22) through relevant learning along with daily practice of Sri Sathya Sai Baba’s teachings. An introductory video unveiling the logo and the main objectives of the subcommittee was shared worldwide via email and social media channels.
In August 2020, a worldwide YA engagement survey was created to gain greater insight into the spiritual and practical needs of this age group and, in turn, be able to create initiatives on relevant topics. In addition, focus group discussions were carried out with YAs across various zones to gain further meaningful insights. After working with the Information Management and Analytics Subcommittee (IMAS) team to analyze the results from the survey, the subcommittee came up with a high-level plan for 2021 consisting of various initiatives such as Sri Sathya Sai Spiritual Education (SSE) toolkits, a 30-day STPServe The Planet sadhana challenge program, and a leadership development program.
Ocean of Music (OoM) (formerly 'Love All Serve All')
The OoM subcommittee organized all musical offerings undertaken by the YAs supporting the international online celebrations, throughout the year. The onset of the pandemic gave the YAs from all over the world the opportunity to unite as a family, to sing the glory of our beloved Sri Sathya Sai Baba in a myriad of tunes and languages. Over 400 YAs from 35 countries actively participated in recording devotional songs and bhajans for Guru Poornima, Worldwide Akhanda Bhajans, Sri Sathya Sai Baba’s 95th Birthday, and Christmas celebrations.
In conjunction with the 95th Birthday celebrations, a special album titled All is One, One with Sai, consisting of 95 devotional songs and bhajans by YAs was offered. The music was synchronized with appropriate visuals and videos of the YAs rendering the music, in collaboration with the YA Media team.
Information Management and Analytics Subcommittee (IMAS)
The IMAS provides insights by acquiring accurate and timely data from worldwide sources to help in decision making. IMAS collected and analyzed data for the SSSIO Young Adults Surveys and provided insights on YA activities around the world, the involvement of YAs at various levels, the challenges faced, and their partnerships with other organizations. IMAS has also assisted in analyzing insights for surveys conducted by the Pathways team and has worked with the SSSIO IT Committee on several projects.
Sri Sathya Sai Young Adults International Engagement (YAIE)
The YAIE aims to equip YAs worldwide with resources to share the teachings of Sri Sathya Sai Baba and the work of the SSSIO at public events.
In 2020, the YAIE sent a delegation of 10 YAs to represent the SSSIO at the 25th Youth Assembly in New York, USA. This delegation then presented their experience to national YAs, outlining their takeaway messages and learnings. The team also worked on a toolkit, in response to feedback received from the 2019 worldwide YA survey. The YAIE has continued to explore various conferences, webinars, and presentation opportunities, while planning interactive sessions to further empower YAs to represent Sri Sathya Sai Baba and the SSSIO in public forums. The members have met every two weeks for group satsangs to discuss various aspects of Sri Sathya Sai Baba’s teachings and their application in daily life.
Sri Sathya Sai Baba Young Adults Media Team
The YA Media team is the hub for promoting official YA subcommittee initiatives and announcements to devotees around the world. Sai Young Adults are active on serveral social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Telegram, Snapchat, and Spotify under the username @saiyoungadults. These platforms are used for updates, YA initiatives, as well as notifications of various subcommittee initiatives with graphics and videos. An episode of Sai Lens is shared monthly, which collates service activities and reflections from Young Adults around the world.
During the period January to December 2020, along with all the initiatives above, the YA Media team was an integral part of all SSSIO online programs, which benefitted devotees everywhere.
The International YA Editorial team edits various materials such as the SSSIO Annual Report, International YA bulletins and announcements, as well as content for websites, events, and publications. Additionally, the team has supported the subcommittees in reviewing internal documents.
Sri Sathya Sai International Young Adults Veda Program
Sri Sathya Sai International Veda Programme for Young Adults launched its first Veda training on April 24, 2020 on the auspicious day of Sri Sathya Sai Aradhana Mahotsavam with the opening of the registration for Young Adults, followed by the inaugural webinar on June 20, 2020. The program provides a golden opportunity to empower Young Adults to chant and practice the teachings of the Vedas.
About 1400 YAs from around the world enrolled in the yearlong structured training program which consists of fortnightly lesson plans for tutorials including revision and practice classes, and worldwide webinars every two months.
The Veda Program included one year of training and chanting the Vedas during events at all levels of the SSSIO in many countries. The following Vedic chants were taught:
- Ganapati Prarthana
- Shivopasana Mantra
- Mantra Pushpam
- Sri Rudram (Namakam and Chamakam)
- Purusha Suktam
- Shree Suktam
- Durga Suktam
- Medha Suktam
- Bhoo Suktam
- Ganapati Atharvaseersham (optional)
YAs in Trinidad and Tobago launched virtual satsangs on May 24, 2020. They conducted 11 virtual satsangs, on YouTube, with participation from YAs across all regions. They also worked with Hands That Serve, a non-profit organization, to pack 10,000 hampers with food items for families and households affected by Covid-19.
YAs in Barbados assisted with packing and distribution of care packages to front line workers to express their gratitude for their hard work during the difficult times. Students from the Sri Sathya Sai Education in Human Values (SSSEHV) program included inspirational messages such as "Love All, Serve All'' in the packages. This project started in March 2020 during the first lockdown and was repeated 3-4 times during the year.
In Canada, YAs in Montreal cooked and delivered food once a month to a local shelter and sent Christmas cards and cookies to the homes of elder devotees. YAs in Vancouver created care packages for the homeless. In Edmonton, YAs delivered groceries to seniors’ residences, care packages to women’s shelters, collection for food bank, and school supplies for youth shelter.
YAs in USA participated in several virtual programs such as Unite and Uplift and multi-region retreats, environmental sustainability initiatives, workshops, and study circles. YAs with diverse talents came together to perform the first virtual play at national level titled Decoding Divinity and ended the year with a beautiful Christmas offering.
YAs from the Dominican Republic led a service project on January 5, 2020, called ‘Regálame un juguete’ (give me a toy) at the Eugenio Ganao education center in the community of Villa de la Mata de Cotui.
On December 27, 2020, several YAs, children, and senior devotees participated in a service activity in Gosen, an orphanage home in Duarte. The volunteers gave the children toys and food, spent quality time with them, and shared spiritual practices.
Since January 2020, YAs from Mexico have been serving breakfast to the relatives of patients admitted to a hospital in Nuevo León every Saturday morning. The initiative is extended to include people in need around the hospital.
YAs participated in a reforestation project and planted saplings on October 18, 2020, to celebrate the 95th Birthday of Sri Sathya Sai Baba. They also learnt the importance of caring for and respecting nature.
The YAs of Mexico launched the ExperienSai initiative on an online platform, featuring topics such as Balancing family, work and SSSIO, Sai & I in University, and Sai Parenting. Additionally, an online practical spirituality workshop was organized between September and December for YAs.
Over 250 people participated in a live virtual event hosted by the YAs from Zone 2B to highlight several events including an initiative in Brazil to keep in touch with Covid-19 patients by phone.
YAs from Bolivia distributed sandwiches to people living in the streets on April 10, 2020. Chilean YAs served more than 250 lunches to needy people, which were prepared and packed in biodegradable containers.
A special Christmas service was organized on December 25, 2020, for the children of Barrio 7 cascadas in Bolivia. YAs assisted with the packing and distribution of 150 toys, sweets, and clothing for the children. The celebration included storytelling, puppet shows, and other fun activities which brought joy to the children of the community.
YAs from Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, and Chile organized national events, sadhana programs, satsangs and devotional singing throughout the year. After 18 years, YAs from Peru organized a national festival in Lima, themed One with Sai during March 7–8, 2020.
Due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the YAs of Zone 3 made use of several online platforms to conduct study circles and retreats. During these online events, they discussed a variety of topics based on Baba’s life and teachings, which helped them face challenges with love and forbearance.
YAs organized various online programs to celebrate events such as Guru Poornima and Sri Sathya Sai Baba’s Advent. YAs were also actively involved in the webinar series that led to the Zone 3 online conference on the theme Unity is Divinity, Purity is Enlightenment.
Various national YA camps and retreats were held in the zone with interesting themes such as, Being Younique. Additionally, in response to the devastating bushfires in early 2020, YAs in Australia conducted group prayers, provided fruit for local animal shelters, helped with care packages for firefighters, and helped neighbors who were affected.
YAs continued to engage in service activities where possible, providing food for the needy, and arranging a special multi-faith Christmas concert for the homeless. They participated in Go Green initiatives such as tree planting, park clean-ups, and creating recycling bins for plastic bottles, thereby raising awareness in the wider community about respect and love for Mother Earth.
To encourage sadhana, a friendly competition, based on a spiritual theme, called My Divine Conquest was conducted. The competition started on Avatar Declaration Day and ended on Sri Sathya Sai Baba’s Birthday – it was very successful in engaging many YAs.
YAs from Sri Lanka were involved in village adoption programs to help with the construction of a house, toilets, and wells.
During the pandemic, YAs from Sri Lanka also continued to help with blood donation drives, dry ration distribution, and serving food to the needy.
YAs from Nepal attended a two day online national retreat, which included a musical offering, exhibition, talent show, workshops, and spiritual activities. They also reminisced and expressed their gratitude to Sri Sathya Sai Baba for the love and blessings He showered on them during their Parthi Yatra in 2010. This was the 10th year of celebration, and more than 110 YAs presented an online musical offering to about 850 devotees.
YAs successfully organized virtual devotional activities, satsangs, National YA quizzes, and Veda chanting during the year.
YAs of Zone 4B enthusiastically participated in many service projects, including the Taal Volcano Eruption relief, an initiative of the YAs from Philippines wherein grocery bags were distributed to 390 families sheltering in evacuation camps.
In Malaysia, YAs volunteered in a nationwide blood donation campaign in conjunction with the Thaipusam celebration, collecting more than 2,000 pints of blood.
YAs were also involved in many service and soup kitchen activities. The Covid-19 related restrictions did not dampen their heart and mind. Following safety protocols, many YAs served the community by distributing necessities to those affected by the pandemic. A few YAs were involved in feeding stray animals as well.
In January 2020, YAs in Singapore enthusiastically participated in their national YA Retreat themed Unity is Divinity, while in Malaysia, the YAs organized the Young Youth Leadership Program for 18-year old YAs as they step into adulthood. YAs were actively engaged in outdoor recreation programs such as Saicycling with Nature and Run and Ride with Sai.
YAs participated in activities such as online Gayatri chanting, bhajans, study circles, team bonding spiritual satsangs and, values-based social media activities. They also created educational materials to fight Covid-19, which were then posted on social media. The pandemic has boosted the creativity of YA leaders to keep YAs engaged in the spirit of Sai.
In Japan, YAs participated in an inclusive workshop on Shintoism (Japan’s native religion before Buddhism) to appreciate the role of culture, religion, and value-based education. YAs also organized a summer camp in August 2020, which featured activities such as singing, drawing, writing, biking, etc. They also conducted weekly SSE classes with many interactive activities. Meanwhile, YAs from Hong Kong participated in the interfaith program organized by the Hong Kong Network for Religion and Peace to commemorate World Religion Day, with the theme - A Greater thought of Love.
YAs hosted a “bingo night” where participants tested their spiritual knowledge in a positive, fun, and engaging atmosphere. Other YA projects included food for the needy, bhajan sessions, online study circles, weekly Veda chanting, beach clean-up and yoga sessions.
Many YAs in the zone hold senior roles in Sri Sathya Sai centers and at the national and international levels. Several countries such as Slovenia, Croatia and Serbia have dynamic YA groups.
All programs and activities were held online with great motivation and love since the beginning of the lockdown, including new activities, such as online quiz contests. The biggest virtual programs of 2020 were the Veda training program and the online European retreat – in lieu of the YA retreat that is organized every year in Athens, Greece. The online retreat was held over a weekend in early September, in cooperation with Zone 7, Zone 8 and the UK. More than 100 YAs attended the event.
YAs from Poland enthusiastically participated in study circles, workshops, and service activities in 2020. They also updated the national website and translated the teachings of Sri Sathya Sai Baba into Polish for spreading His message and sharing His love with others.
Hungarian YAs embarked on various outdoor and online activities, including a summer camp, yoga demonstrations, a sports festival, online quizzes, fruit picking, and a soup-making workshop in Budakeszi.
In Czech Republic, YAs have been participating in weekly study circles on Prasanthi Vahini. German YAs held online meetings to keep YAs motivated in the spiritual path. A trash collection project has been undertaken by YAs in Belgium to encourage exercise and envirocare. Additionally, YAs conducted regular online study circles and prayer meetings.
YAs organized the annual Zone YA festival in March 2020 with the theme Unity of Sai YAs before the pandemic started. The festival included seminars and workshops, satsangs, creative sessions, yoga, and a musical evening.
In May 2020, the Annual Zone Conference was held, where the interactive components were prepared by the regional and national YA coordinators. All conference participants enjoyed the virtual activities organized by the YAs.
In September 2020, YAs from Zone 8 participated in the European Virtual Retreat. They recorded videos, and participated in guided meditation, cooking workshops and other virtual activities. The participation of Russian-speaking YAs was made possible by the good work of the team of interpreters.
In addition, YAs took part in organizing summer walks, feeding the destitute, and conducting seminars on the prevention of alcohol and tobacco addiction. During the year, YAs also visited a children’s shelter and helped with the preparation of regional and national conferences as well as other SSSIO events.
The Zone 9A YA Media Team successfully launched social media profiles on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube. The YAs hosted an inspirational webinar titled His Divine Play, His Divine Love. YAs also participated in a pan-African service project titled HEAR – HElp Africa Relief, which aimed to give food to thousands of people across Africa. Several containers, each containing 20 tons of food, were sent to several countries in Africa and over 16,000 hampers of food were distributed. Additionally, YAs embarked on a service initiative to distribute 5,000 white canes to visually impaired people across Africa. YAs were also instrumental in the Bhajans for Healing event (12 hours of continuous bhajans).
In Mauritius, YAs embarked on an ecological disaster relief project following a severe oil spill from a carrier vessel. YAs hosted a walk at Bras D’eau National Park. Over 200 YAs came together to connect with Mother Nature, engage in team building and attend study circles. YAs also hosted a national Veda orientation.
In South Africa, YAs hosted the LOTUS (Leaders of Tomorrow United by Sai) Development Course, focusing on communication, leadership, time management, project management and personal wellbeing. Over 186 YAs graduated from this course. YAs were also involved in the Sathya Sai Food Kitchen, which provided 9,000 meals.
In Ghana, YAs gave food hampers to 40 elderly community members. They also served hot meals, fresh water and provided face masks to over 300 homeless people who were affected by floods.
YAs in Benin helped with serving breakfast and lunch to 850 school students to commemorate Sri Sathya Sai Baba’s 95th Birthday.
YAs gave baby kits to needy people, and distributed food at an old age home as part of Eid celebrations in Cameroon.
In Uganda, YAs distributed 80 white canes to the visually impaired in Soroti.
SSSIO of Kenya adopted the Gichagi village, where the YAs distributed wheelchairs and crutches to 50 disabled people. In addition, YAs served 150 hot meals and distributed 100 food hampers to community members.
YAs in Ivory Coast also provided hampers which consisted of rice, oil and hand sanitizers to prisoners and orphans in an area near Abidjan, Riviera.
In Morocco, YAs distributed school supplies to 360 students in the rural village of Marrakech.
YAs from Zone 9B organized 232 satsangs during 2020. They composed music and helped organize several musical offerings for the 95th Birthday celebrations of Sri Sathya Sai Baba. Additionally, they were involved in organizing the Bhajan for Healing online program, held on November 7, 2020 in coordination with Zone 9A.
In January and February 2020, home cooked food was distributed to more than 500 low-income workers in Abu Dhabi. YAs from Abu Dhabi also organized the Annual Sai Sports Day in January 2020 wherein over 200 people participated.
Around 500 workers were served hot tea in Bahrain.
YAs across the zone participated in a photography and videography training in July and August 2020. YAs also helped the environment by joining in tree planting, beach clean-ups, study circles on Nature and Earth Hour initiatives.
UK & Ireland
Weekly virtual bhajan sessions were held during the pandemic. The YAs also helped with recording bhajans for the sessions.
During the pandemic, YAs made telephone calls to isolated, elderly devotees to check on their welfare. They also helped make visors which were distributed to healthcare and sociocare staff.
SSSIO UK’s annual Christmas celebration was held virtually in December 2020 – YAs contributed to an interactive festive program. Several YAs helped the SSE wing, serving as coordinators, teachers, and volunteers. SSSE lessons were held online for the majority of 2020 and a beautiful virtual Easwaramma Day celebration was hosted in May 2020.
YAs from UK participated in the European YA Virtual Retreat Camp, where they created videos, facilitated guided meditation, and led a cooking demonstration.
YAs also organized a book club where chapters from the book, Sathyam Shivam Sundaram were read and discussed. During the months of lockdown, YAs coordinated and hosted online satsangs on spiritual topics such as unity, purity, prayer, surrender, and happiness, to help them connect with Sri Sathya Sai Baba. In addition, they participated in a series of online webinars regarding mental health and spiritual wellbeing, which provided guidance on how to tackle anxiety and worry, by following the teachings of Sri Sathya Sai Baba.