May 2014 CORDUSA News

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Service Visit applications are pouring in!  If you haven’t already, you might want to look online to see if you are eligible.  You might meet the two children pictured here, I met them at Deuladiha last May.

GlobeMed Boston College (BC) partners led a panel at MIT during the Grassroots Initiatives for Global Health Summit on February 8th. In the panel, the four students discussed the importance of partnership; the upcoming GROW Internship, and shared some of the amazing projects of CORD Siruvani. Other leaders in global health were present and collaborated with the GROW team on the topics of cultural awareness and sanitation advancements.  In March our Globemed-BC partners finished selling t-shirts for the Boston Marathon and made $3,294!! Congratulations Maggie and her team!

CORDUSA-Miami held their 2014 “Walk for CORD” fundraiser on February 16th at Miami’s Metro Zoo with nearly 200 attendees. Everyone loved their CORD T-shirts. Miami CHYKS (youth groups) facilitated the registration. While leading their group of walkers color coded by beads through the zoo, they were giving them fun facts along the way and quizzed them at the end. It was a unique and exciting experience for all.TV Asia reported on the event. They raised close to $4.5K from this event so far, and are still counting. Congratulations to Sunita Nandwani and her team!

On March 20th CORDUSA launched AmazonSmile campaign. Shop at AmazonSmile and Amazon will donate an extra $5 to CORDUSA. Click on this link to get started:

PLEASE SHARE and bring money to CORDUSA, your favorite Charity!

Chinmaya Dhara in Niagara Falls held a fundraiser camp “Stepsto Siruvani” from March 21st to 23rd to raise funds for CORD Siruvani’s new center. This was spearheaded by Acharya Vivek Gupta and some young adults (Ages 18-35) across the country. The camp was priced at just $51 with a request for participants to raise a minimum of $201 per person.

CORDUSA-University of California, San Diego (UCSDis one of the University Chapters of CORD USA. They primarily focus their efforts on CORD Siruvani, and are planning their second visit in September. Here is the link to their blog.

Another University Chapter, CORDUSA -American University (AU) needs your help to take five members on a 1.5-month service trip to CORDUSA’s project site in Tamaraipakkam, Tamil Nadu. They have a May 15thdeadline to raise funds. All are International Development majors at AU and members of the AU Chapter of CORDUSA. See the link for more details.

CORD Deuladiha fuels farming techniques! Under theRastriya Krushi Vikas Yojan (RKVY) scheme, 29 farmers have received subsidized farming materials, including fertilizer, seeds, and pesticides. Additionally, the Chinmaya Divyajoti Farmers’ Club of the Sarei village has begun ground nut cultivation training under the direction of CORD. The implementation of the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) and Line Transplantation (LT) in farming communities has yielded 50 additional hectares of land for paddy cultivation relative to the previous year, and crop-cutting demonstrations have been realized by farmers’ clubs in various regions. Read more

CORD Lathikata goes green! Farmers are engaging in a program called Swabalambi Krishi that promotes sustainable and environmentally friendly methods of crop cultivation through the use of readily available technologies and natural resources. CORD has recently implemented six organic farming awareness programs, which have benefited hundreds of people. The use of such resources as bio-fertilizer and vermin compost is becoming more prevalent in Indian farms. Not only do such organic methods reduce chemical contamination and illness in plants, animals, and individuals, but they also eliminate the cost of investment in artificial pesticides and fertilizer.  Read more

CORD Sidhbari goes international.  Twenty-seven students and two professors from Kelly School of Business (KSB), Indiana University visited CORD Training Centre Sidhbari under its Globase India program. The students worked on five different projects i.e. Rural Careers (Farm Sector), Vermin-Compost promotion (Farm Sector), Talent Acquisition, Impact study on CORD’s Social Justice Program and CORD Community Marketing strategies. They conducted in depth research, teleconferences/Skype calls and documentation with recommendations for past four months before their actual site visit from March 10th to March 15th 2014. This has greatly helped CORD Sidhbari in the scaling of different programs.  Read more

CORD Siruvani brings awareness to mental health.Thennamanallar Vennila Mahila Mandal conducted a theme based awareness program in October 2013. Around 500 women participated in the program that was held at Rajalakshmi Kalyana Mandapam. Various topics were presented including self-defense, preservation of the environment and global warning. The program was a grand success.  Read more

CORD Thamaraipakkam empowers the differently abled. Two major events were held at Athupakkam in connection with community-based rehabilitation for people living with disabilities. On Gandhi Jayanthi Day, 20 people living with disabilities received valuable equipment to make their life easier and more meaningful. They received donated items such as custom-made footwear and crutches.  Read more

You remember our BREP (Bhutanese Refugee Empowerment Program) call to action, “Penny Wars!”.  It was coordinated by a set of enthusiastic CHYKs.  I have the following report from Padma Mana about this program –

‘’The Penny Wars was initially envisioned at the Youth Empowerment Program in Piercy, CA in the summer of 2013. The culmination of 31 eager students, 4 compassionate residential acharyas andGurudev’s grace, brought out many sparks of creativity in terms of service projects and fundraisers for Chinmaya Mission West. The Penny Wars was one such idea which came about to support CORD USA.

The framework of the initiative was simple; it would be a competitive fundraiser implemented at Balavihar sessions across the continent. Students would compete with students from other classes for raising the most money, mostly in the form of change. CHYKs would facilitate the fundraiser with the help of their boards in order to help the movement gain momentum and provide a contagious excitement for the cause.

For the program’s first roll-out this year, 5 centers across the US were able to implement it successfully. Several other CM West centers also responded positively about hosting the initiative next year. Nevertheless, between Ann Arbor, Austin, Bentonville, Dallas, and Portland, a total of $8,556 was raised! All the proceeds will go towards the Bhutanese Refugee Outreach Program (BREP), an initiative of CORD USA.

BREP by CORD USA is an effort to help Bhutanese refugee communities maintain their heritage while integrating into their new surroundings in the US and Canada, after fleeing political turmoil in their homeland of Southern Bhutan. BREP efforts with adults include addressing issues like health, education, awareness, and financial independence. Efforts with children include cultural integration through Balavihar, helping with school work & college entrance exams. Overall, CORD USA hopes to better understand the issues and needs of each community and empower them thereafter.

CHYK involvement was pivotal in the operation of the Penny Wars for BREP. CHYKs from each of the centers organized the logistics, publicity, and finances at their respective center. They served by communicating with the board and the Mission family about the fundraiser, making announcements at Balavihar sessions and raising awareness in other ways. They were responsible for the collection jars of each class, and encouraged healthy competition among the children in order to raise as much as possible towards the good cause.

They also found themselves in the midst of the enthusiasm at their centers. Juhi Amodwala, an Austin CHYK, mentioned that “All the classes got pretty excited especially because the class that raised the most money would get a pizza party. There was an overwhelming response from especially the younger classes that got competitive. The fundraiser was a great way to get the message about the Bhutanese community to mission members, while involving students in a fun activity!”

The fundraiser not only excited the children and involved the CHYKs, but spread awareness to parents and adults. In Ann Arbor, Shubhum Siddhar said that,

“The kids were enthusiastic, but the adults were also engaged once they learned about these efforts.”

It is thus no surprise that Sridhar Karra, a CHYK of Dallas, felt the strength of the strong ties of the Mission family- “It was great to see them come together to help the Bhutanese community here. Healthy competition and an innovative method of raising funds made for a memorable and effective fundraiser.”

Another fruit of Gurudev’s grace through this fundraiser was the cross-cultural awareness brought about by the initiative. Kapil Varma, 13-year-old student of Portland Balavihar, organized for the local Bhutanese representative to speak on BREP to the other students. Everyone learned more about the Bhutanese refugees, and Balavihar students were especially keen to help.

At CM Bentonville, the initiative added to the fuel of the year. After several CHYKs attended their first CHYK camp and then hosted the CHYK West Regional Planning Conference, the fundraiser provided even more momentum to the high standards of the year. Balavihar students were very pumped for the fundraiser and are excited to compete again next year.

As all five centers expressed, the Penny Wars was a successfully run fundraiser. With momentum building for the coming years, and with Gurudev’s grace, more can be done for the BREP through CORD USA.’’

Big thanks to Paulomi CampbellShabana Dipchand,Arista Jhanjee, Samihita Bhat and Kapil Varma for their help with the newsletter!

As always, if you have any questions, concerns or suggestions, I am just an email away…


Thank you!

Subha Varma Pathial


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