For the past 24 years, the Sathya Sai College of Australia has provided education to the youth of New South Wales, Australia. The first group of 12th-grade students graduated in 2021 – an important milestone in the history of the school. In February 2021, more than 30 SSSIO volunteers participated in the Working Bee program at the school, cleaning, landscaping, and performing other maintenance work.
On March 1, 2021, SSSIO volunteers organized the Sai-Mazing Race – a fun-filled family day to bring families together, following the trauma of the COVID -19 pandemic. Everyone met at the Perth Human Values Centre where they received instructions and formed 11 teams, with one car per team. Each group then embarked on a road trip to solve a riddle with an educational message. They collected trash along the way, especially recyclable bottles for recycling.
In March 2021, about 15 volunteers from the Sri Sathya Sai Centre of Strathfield in New South Wales participated in the Clean-up Australia Day, an annual national service day. They collected eight bags of trash and four bags of recyclable materials in parks around the Cooke River.
Commemorating the 10th Aradhana Mahotsavam on April 25, 2021, SSSIO volunteers of the Victoria Region West in Australia organized a Blood and Plasma Donation Drive. Twenty-seven volunteers donated blood at blood donor centers in Werribee and Bundoora.
On June 26, 2021, the SSSIO Ladies Wing of the Victoria Region assembled and delivered 18 toiletry bags with soap, shampoo, towels, lotion, and other hygiene items to the Blessing Bags Organization and the Missionary of Charity for distribution to the needy.
SSSIO volunteers from New South Wales, Victoria and ACT regions of Australia participated in the annual Mother’s Day Classic Walk held across the country. The event promotes research and creates awareness about breast cancer.
SSSIO members of the NSW East and West regions assisted state and local authorities to bring relief to people impacted by massive floods in the region. The volunteers filled three vehicles with non-perishable food items, personal hygiene packs, bed sheets, and towels, which were delivered to the Rural Fire Services for further distribution. On the following day, two vehicles filled with bread, cleaning items, and anti-septic creams were sent as part of the second phase of the relief effort.
On July 17, 2021, 40 Western Australia region volunteers, including SSE children, planted over 2,000 native Australian saplings in the Canning River catchment area. The volunteers worked along with the Southeast Regional Centre for Urban Landcare (SERCUL), which brings together the community, business, and government to improve local waterways and ecosystems.
On August 28, 2021, the SSSIO Australia Sai Medical Unit hosted a National Healthy Ageing Webinar where medical professionals provided useful information on the better management of common health issues. The program featured insightful talks on early recognition and prevention of stroke, the importance of diet, exercise, preventative health checks, and many other health-related topics.
SSSIO volunteers in the Queensland Region, in partnership with the Baha’i community and the Tzu Chi Foundation, organized Prayers for Peace for the peace and well-being of people in war-torn Afghanistan. The Afghan Community Association in Queensland participated in the session and expressed their heartfelt appreciation for the thoughtfulness and generosity of all three organizations for their prayers and support.
The year 2021 was marked by the impact of COVID-19 and two cyclones that devastated the islands. During the second quarter of 2021, the incidence of COVID-19 (Delta variant) increased significantly. Responding to a request from local health authorities, SSSIO volunteers from New Zealand supplied Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), and a cardiac monitor, and assisted with the purchase of medical supplies. A consignment from the Medical Unit of Australia, containing PPE, oxygen flowmeters, oxygen regulators, and single-use oxygen masks, was sent by air to Fiji on August 31, 2021. The Viseisei Sai Health Centre (VSHC) became an emergency birthing Unit for Lautoka Hospital, which was closed due to COVID restrictions, and the first baby was born at the Centre on Easwaramma Day, May 6, 2021.
SSSIO volunteers in Fiji distributed 275 care packages and essential items to support families impacted by the Tropical Cyclones Yasa and Ana in Viti Levu. In addition, 440 students from 3 key rural schools were provided bags, stationery items, and schoolbooks. SSSIO volunteers also supported three schools in the region by giving food items so that these schools could cook and provide over 11,000 meals for more than 425 students.
On December 8, 2021, Dr. Swaran Naidu received the ‘Fiji Independence Medal–Order of Fiji’, in recognition of her valuable contributions to nation-building as a doctor, teacher, researcher, and community leader. Dr. Naidu served the community for over 40 years in Fiji, Australia, and New Zealand. She is the co-founder, trustee, and Medical Director of the Viseisei Sai Health Centre established in 2011.
Despite the lockdown, SSSIO members provided dry food rations, warm clothing, blankets, school breakfasts, meals, and school supplies in many parts of the country. They cooked meals for the homeless, provided support to women’s shelters, and when the lockdown ended, delivered ‘meals on wheels.’ There was a focus on support to the elderly, including house-cleaning, shopping, meals, transport to medical appointments, and telephone support. Young Adults participated in blood donation drives throughout the year. In Auckland and Lower Hutt, SSSIO members conducted tuition classes to help young children in their education.
An ongoing project in New Zealand is Kai from Sai (Kai means food in the local language), which involves providing hot cooked meals for needy people at seven different venues in Auckland. Twenty-eight groups of SSSIO volunteers are engaged in this service and more than 1,000 meals are served weekly, except during the lockdown periods.
Care for the Environment is a priority across the SSSIO in New Zealand. In the Waikato Bay area, SSSIO members joined with the Hamilton City Council to plant around 1,000 native shrubs and trees at Minogue Park on June 13, 17, and August 15, 2021. Park and beach clean-ups were done under the guidance of the Auckland City Council. In Trellissick Park and Wadestown, the volunteers participated in weeding and planting activities on November 28.