Tuesday, September 24, 2013

September 2013 CORDUSA News



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Last blog, I mentioned the two CORDUSA service visits, one to Sidhbari and the other to Kaza. Here is what the participants had to say…

Hiren Gihwala, a high school student, who went on this year’s service visit to CORD Sidhbari writes "This past summer 25 students, including myself had the opportunity of a lifetime. We all came from different parts of the United States and made our way to Sidhbari, Himachal Pradesh, India. Some students came from California, some from Chicago, some from New Jersey, and one from North Carolina.  As we made our journey to India, we all knew that this trip would be a chance for us to have an impact on this world. But, little did we know that this trip would do and be much more than that. Over the three weeks, we formed lasting relationships and experienced the impact that CORD is having on a daily basis. We had the wonderful opportunity to learn from Dr. Kshama Metre and see the message and hope that her and her constituents have been spreading among the villagers for the last 28 years.  Read more… 

Vinod Sharma, one of the chaperones on this year’s service visit to Chinmaya Vijaya orphanage for girls, under CORD Kaza wrote… "From the moment we entered the Chinmaya Vijaya campus and were greeted affectionately by the girls at Chinmaya Vijaya, to our tearful goodbyes 13 days later; this trip was a heartwarming and inspirational journey in which we got to experience firsthand the power of faith, love and service.  We were immersed in love, kindness, acceptance, cheer and selfless giving…. Our high school students lived alongside the Chinmaya Vijaya girls. Awaking at 4 am, they joined them in their morning chores that ranged from washing and hanging clothes to dry and sweeping the courtyard; to helping the younger children get ready for school. Upon returning home from school, after playing with the girls, they tutored them in various subjects and read them bedtime stories.  Read about their experience….
During the summer, children spend endless hours on the net, cell phones and televison; often facing the possibility of endless boredom. Last summer however, some lucky boys and girls got a chance to make a difference in their lives and in the lives of others at the CORD Siruvani center. Swamini Vimalananda organized a Hari Seva Camp, with 80 youth participants, aged 7 and above. During this 5-day camp, the first of its kind, the youth learned how to build toilets, vermicompost units, make coir rope, silk-cotton pillows, brooms, thatched palm leaves, hand-made paper and gardening. They learned all these processes from start to finish and also got to interact and work with beneficiaries in the villages and farms.  Read more…

Excerpts from the quarterly reports from our CORD India and Sri Lanka centers…

Over the last year, we have been raising funds for trying to provide a permanent home for CORD Siruvani. That moment is finally here! CORD Siruvani had the land for the proposed center sanctified with a Bhoomi Pooja by Swami Tejomayananda.  Read more in their quarterly report…

Keeping hands clean through improved hygiene is one of the most important steps we can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. Hand wash solution production training was held on 6th June 2013 at the CORD Sri Lanka, Jaffna Office. This was a full day training program to empower women affected by the war to be self-sustainable, while pursuing manufacturing cleansing hand wash solution as an income generating activity. This training which was conducted by Mr. Pakeerathan, with 20 participants attending. The Hand Wash solution provides an opportunity for these women to generate income and improve hygiene in the area served; while also helping to decrease the spread of communicable diseases. Read more …


CORD Deuladiha continues to strengthen the rights and responsibilities of women, through regular awareness on local self-governance in the Mahila Mandals and Self Help groups. Women have gradually increased their attendance in the Palli Sabha and Gram Sabha meetings. These women have demonstrated their interect and concerns by asking important questions, which has led to increased knowledge about their rights and the rights of others. For example; these women have become advocates for pensions for the elderly and widowed at the Palli Sabha meetings. Read more…

CORD Lathikata says NO to drugs. On April 22nd 2013, Chinmaya Rameshwari Mahila Mandal, along with the active guidance and supervision of CORD Lathikata, organized a rally against drug abuse.  With the active leadership of Chinmaya Rameshwari Mahila Mandal, 250 women and school children from various villages of Ramjodi Gram Panchayat assembled together to bring awareness to the detrimental effects of alcohol and drug abuse. This rally was inaugurated by Swami Kevalanandaji and spread throughout the villages, inspiring people with powerful anti-alcohol and drug slogans. Read more…

CORD Tamaraipakkam strengthens local self-governance in villages. They are continuously creating awareness on the importance of Gram Sabhas by organizing ward wide Upgrama Sabhas.  During these Upgrama Sabhas, the villagers discuss topics like: sanitation, drinking water, power supply, elder’s pensions plastic wastage, etc... These Upgrama Sabhas give them an opportunity to record all their problems, demand solutions and encourages them to participate in the Gram Sabhas.  Read more…


My co-Board of Director, Vijaya Cherukuri presented about CORD USA to a packed audience in Detroit MI during Chinmaya Mahasamadhi camp in July.   Coming up in our horizon, Minneapolis, Washington DC and New York will be doing their annual Walk for CORD. CORDUSA Portland will be joining hands to lend a hand to Jordan Charters, who has been donating his services for the past 3 years along with his team of massage therapists, to Portland’s Walk for CORD. Jordan is a 27 year old Operation Iraqi Freedom Veteran and former Marine. He has suddenly gone ill, is suffering from a traumatic brain injury and now has trouble even walking.

I will write about these next time.

Big thanks to Paulomi Campbell and Shabana Dipchand for their help with the newsletter!