Honoring a Sage – Thondu Style‏

Greetings,

 
As you all know, 2014 is Yogaswami’s 50th Anniversery Guru Puja. To honor this remarkable sage, we have initiated a few small service projects. One of them is helping needy students in Sri Lanka. The All Ceylon Hindu Congress has printed 50,000 Exercise books (notebook) to be freely distributed among these students. The Exercise book’s outer cover has a picture of Sage Yogaswami and the inside cover has a brief  biography his life. By publishing these books we achieved three things at once (One stone throw that yields three mangoes – ஒரே கல்லில் மூன்று மாங்காய் )
 
1) we are honoring Yogaswami,
2) the needy students benefit from the Exercise booksand
3) the students learn a little about the life of Yogaswami
 
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In April, we were able to travel to rural villages in the war-torn Vanni region and personally  distributed the books to many school students. Additionally, we gave them math compasses and  biscuits. Even this small project was a collaborative effort: All Ceylon Hindu Congress donated the Exercise books, Sri Subramuniya Kottam donated the Math compasses, Siva Poomi Trust donated the biscuits, and the Manitha Neyam Trust provided the transportation. All these organizations working together towards a common goal brought appreciative smiles to many needy students. 
 
My thanks to ACHC Jaffna Coordinator, Mr. Jeyasingam, for accompanying us on these trips. And a special thank you to my mother for tirelessly traveling with me for hundreds of miles in Sri Lanka and her ever-ready-to-serve-others spirit. (She is my greatest inspiration!)
 
Below are some photos taken at the villages in Vanni during the exercise books distribution.
 
In Peace,
 
Rishi Thondunathan
 
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A young man’s inspiration helps to build a library

Greetings,

During my travels through Sri Lanka, I was made aware of a school in Kokilai, a fishing village in the Mullaitivu District. This region was greatly damaged during the war, and community was in the process of slowly rebuilding the school. For the school library, the students were using a small sheltered patio with a coconut-leaf thatched roof and plastic tarps for walls.

Last June, during my summer camp program I offer in Chicago, I mentioned this library to my students and told them that even under adverse conditions students are determined to receive their education in Sri Lanka. One of my students, named Nimalan was inspired to help these children on the other side of the world; he organized a volleyball tournament to raise funds to build a proper library for the Kokilai School. Nimalan’s effort succeeded!

Opening the new library

Opening the new library

Newly established library

In April of 2014, we visited the school and my mother ceremoniously opened the new library building. The students and teachers were so happy and appreciative to have their new library! Our sincere thanks to Manitha Neyam Trust for coordinating the building of this new library. And special thanks to Nirmalan and family for this effort.

 

With school students

With school students

In Peace,

Rishi Thondunathan

Nimalan and me