Community Service
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On their own volition, students and teachers of the university work with local communities around the campuses. Many of these service activities are conceived and inspired by students themselves. They are a reflection of the impact of the unique education they receive here. Examples of these from 2014/15 include:
SAI BANDHAN
Brindavan Campus, April-May 2015
The Sai Bandhan program was a collaboration between students of Brindavan Campus, SSSIHL and Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences (SSSIHMS), Whitefield, Bangalore.
It was a domiciliary outreach program where students set out to meet patients who had been previously treated at SSSIHMS, Whitefield. The objective was to assure the patients and their families of Sai’s continued concern for their well-being and get feedback about their experience at SSSIHMS.
The program spanned 63 districts in 19 states of India, touching the lives of 250-odd patients. It involved 123 students who voluntarily chose to spend their summer vacation time in this selfless manner. The patients visited belonged to different sections of society. They were of diverse caste, creed, religion, age groups and economic strata.
All patient information was provided by SSSIHMS and the logistical support to meet them was extended by members of Sri Sathya Sai Seva organisation in the state concerned.
Students often had to travel to remote corners of their districts or neighbouring districts to meet patients. A few even travelled out of state to reach out to patients. Sometimes, they had to trace patients who had migrated to other places to pursue their studies or vocations after the pause button pressed by the disease had been released.
The hard work was handsomely rewarded however by seeing the patients supremely happy, in good health and with renewed hope in life.
PATIENT RESPONSE
The response from patients and their relatives was overwhelming. The very mention of Bhagawan Baba’s name brought tears of joy to their eyes. Their eyes lit up when they came to know that Baba’s students themselves had come to enquire about their welfare. They were deeply grateful to Him (and the doctors, nurses, technicians and Seva dals at the hospital) for stepping in and saving them from a hopeless future when economic considerations had put the treatment out of their reach.
Their outlook had changed since and they have become positive contributors to the welfare of the same society from which they were once abandoned. They share the news of the existence of this hospital with all those in need. Indeed they have turned into self-appointed brand ambassadors.
From the students perspective, this trip has been most beneficial and enriching. Having set out with the idea of enquiring about the welfare of the patients, they returned with the feeling that they too are beneficiaries of this program. It was a humbling experience to see the impact of Swami’s medicare project on the lives of poor people. Being the carriers of Sai’s love, they returned with a renewed sense of responsibility to equip themselves with knowledge to serve their fellow men and put the unique education they receive in the portals of the Institute to best use.

 
 
KODAKARAI VILLAGE SERVICE
Brindavan Campus, 16-17 April 2015
Seventy students and seven teachers held a service camp at Kodakarai village, tucked away deep into the forest, ninety kilometres from the campus, in April 2015.
The village head and other elders were delighted to see university students from the city chanting the vedas and singing bhajans and enthusiastically joined the nagarasankeertan
The village school needed a coat of paint and a group of enthusiastic students worked tirelessly to paint the interior and exterior of the school. Another group had prepared Sai Deep, a device using a soda bottle and chlorinated water sealed in it to refract sunlight into the dark rooms of the tiled houses of the villagers. These solar water bulbs can transmit enough light as a 40- to 60-watt incandescent bulb to the interior of village homes and can last up to five years.
Another set of students engaged the village children in games and activities such as a drawing competition and teaching them stotrams, bhajans and lessons in hygiene. The remaining students plunged into cutting vegetables and rolling chapatis for women folk, all while singing bhajans.
When the students were getting into the vehicles to leave for Brindavan, the innocent children came and asked if they really had to go so soon!

 
 
OLD AGE HOME VISIT
Muddenahalli Campus, 14 April 2015
The final year undergraduate students of the campus, accompanied by staff members, paid a visit to an old age home, Sri Sai Dwarakamayee Vriddhashrama, at Sultanpet, Nandi village, near Muddenahalli, on 14 April, 2015.
Following a prayer session at the Shirdi Sai Mandir in the village, veda chanting and bhajan singing, prepared food was served as prasadam to the residents as a naivedyam offering. For those who were immobile, food was served at their bedside.
The elders were then personally handed over a small toiletry kit each. This was followed by a brief speech in Kannada by one of the students, expressing (on behalf of his batch) their heartfelt gratitude and joy of being in their company.
The students interacted with all the residents, enquired about their well being and sought their blessings. They were very touched and moved by the life stories of the seniors living there. They realized the importance of the vedic dictum ‘Mathru devo bhava, pitru devo bhava (Mother is God, father is God)’.
Before leaving, mattresses and plastic buckets were given away for use at the old age home.

 
 
ADOPTING A LEPER COLONY
Anantapur Campus
The campus warden, with the help of students and alumni, has adopted a leper colony since 1986.
Aptly named Love Stream, the project has helped transform the lives of twenty-five socially marginalized families through dedicated love and care.
The colony that consisted of 10-12 huts in 1986 now has twenty neat little houses. The creatively raised capital has funded water pumps, stationery items, food supplies and even fifty trees so that they can sell their own fruits and earn an income. As a result, almost every family now has its own bank account.
Practicing human values, bhajan singing, educating the inhabitants in various ways- these are some of the ways that the warden and students have taken time out to help the lepers with.
The long-term objective is to make the families as self-sufficient as possible.

 
 
NARAYANA SEVA
Anantapur Campus, every Semester
The campus undertakes Narayana seva every semester in a slum, a little distance from the campus. The seva consists of the distribution of 250-270 packets of cooked rice to the slum dwellers.
Education is rendered noble when the spirit of service is inculcated.
Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba
© Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, Vidyagiri, Prasanthi Nilayam - 515 134, India.