Knitting Workshop at Recreo

Recreo, Santa Fe

In Recreo, Sante Fe, on Thursdays, SSIO volunteers host a long-standing service activity where up to 60 ladies attend classes weekly with their children. They learn knitting, and the cloth or wool are provided. The clothing items made can be used by the families or be sold. Expectant mothers are given layettes for their babies. SSIO volunteers and their friends donate household items, clothing and food staples. A typical day of service begins with a spiritual talk and ends with snacks and clean up. Friend’s Day, Mother’s Day and Christmas are regularly observed, with presents for every attending mother.

On Sundays, children ages 2–15 also are kept busy in spiritual and sports activities. The older boys play soccer, following the rules of sportsmanship and playing in harmony. The girls and younger children engage in EHV (Education in Human Values) activities. Birthdays are celebrated and presents are given. Clothing, shoes and school supplies are provided. The activities end with with snacks and then clean up. Regular celebrations involving adults and children are Children’s Day, Swami’s Birthday, and Christmas. Sai volunteers also joined a community group called Weaving Nets, which supports teenagers, enphasises drug- and alcohol-free behaviour and encourages them to stay in school. These volunteers also help abused mothers and children.

More than 600 people attend the activities annually, and SSIO volunteers have been helping these communities for more than 20 years.

Children's Activity at Florencio Varela

Florencio Varela, Buenos Aires

SSIO volunteers have served the Varela, Buenos Aires, community for the past 30 years, providing free breakfast, lunch and dinner every Sunday. About 60 people attend, including mothers, children and teenagers. Apart from the SSIO volunteers, children from the neighbourhood and their mothers also help with the regular chores associated with organising the project. Healthcare is provided monthly by medical professionals in general medicine, pediatrics, dentistry, pediatric dentistry and dermatology. SSIO volunteers also provide human values education workshops and offer school support for children and teenagers. Other hosted activities include singing, playing games and art classes, along with regular celebrations such as birthdays, Children’s Day, Christmas, and Three Kings Day. More than 300 people participate annually in the above activities.

Work Training Course at Las Talitas

Las Talitas, Tucaman

For the past 13 years, SSIO volunteers have served the Las Talitas community, teaching human and devotional values to children on Saturday afternoons. More than 100 students typically attend. The children are also provided healthy snacks, including chocolate milk with tortillas, rice pudding or yogurt. Depending on the season, they receive clothing, footwear and other items. Every 45 days, Sai medical care is provided by pediatricians to promote healthy children. Medical and dental problems are also addressed. Sai volunteers recently began to implement work training courses, aimed at young people and adults and open to the community, starting with a carpentry workshop, with plans to start a hairdressing workshop soon.

Los Sauces, San Marcos Sierras, Cordoba, Argentina

In 1996, a small group of Sai volunteers and residents of a small village in Cordovan mountains, San Marcos Sierras, Argentina, determined to serve a nearby town called Los Sauces, because of the poor, extremely difficult living conditions and hardships endured by the residents and their children. These SSIO volunteers won the hearts of the people of Los Sauces by providing simple assistance with love. Food and clothing were provided first, and subsequently the people were receptive to attending classes in Education in Human Values, which were first held with the classes seated on bricks or stones next to the abandoned railroad tracks. Classes later moved to a home of a family near the railroad who had children attending the classes.

In January 1998, the volunteer group began monthly medical service, which has continued to the present day. The medical service offerings have gradually and steadily increased to include dental, prosthetics, psychological services, physiotherapy and first aid courses. Similar services began in a locality called Chuna, in 2008, that also continue today. EHV classes are also now offered to the children of former students, and three years ago a weekly weaving workshop was also started. People from neighboring villages now participate, and the community of Los Sauces feels like a large family.

Roughly 150 people seek medical services monthly. Around 15–20 people per week attend the weaving workshops and roughly 15–20 children attend the weekly EHV sessions, with about 15–30 families benefiting weekly from food and clothing deliveries.

The years-long process has changed this community, which has now begun to flourish spiritually and economically.