April 4, 2022
Sri Sathya Sai International Organization (SSSIO), Zone 7 (Northern Europe) and the SSSIO of Ukraine have been providing humanitarian relief to those afflicted by the situation in Ukraine. The extensive relief efforts are also supported by SSSIO members around the world.
The SSSIO was able to render help from the very first day of the crisis. Since that time, new opportunities and solutions opened up and the SSSIO in European countries as well as SSSIO in Ukraine worked collaboratively to deliver critical aid. With Swami’s grace, Sai brothers and sisters providing volunteer services are safe and doing well.
Between March 14-21, 2022, Sathya Sai volunteers well organized to serve Ukranian refugees, first-defenders and journalists who needed help.
Sai devotees distributed food and basic necessities at various shelters and refugee centers, and provided financial and emotional support. In addition, volunteers delivered and served food to those hospitalized during the conflict.
A new shelter was opened in one of the schools, for refugees from the places of active war zone. Sathya Sai devotees brought groceries for the refugees, including basic food items such as cereals, pasta, flour, sunflower oil, vegetables, sugar, tea, canned corn and beans, dry breakfasts, milk, yogurt, hard cheese, and personal hygiene products such as toothpaste, shampoo, and soap. There was another dormitory where 67 refugees including 14 children were served. Volunteers delivered food including flour, cereals, milk, vegetable oil, sweets and fruit for the children, household cleaning products and personal hygiene products.
Sathya Sai volunteers have been meeting regularly online to coordinate the logistics. They have been praying earnestly to Swami for His grace and guidance. Due to the generous financial assistance from donors, the volunteers have stepped up their efforts to render timely help as needed.
In Central Ukraine, volunteers have been preparing and serving 250-300 hot meals a day. In addition, 3 to 4 times a week the SSSIO volunteers prepare soups, salads, and baked goods. They have also been donating disposable dishes, vegetables and non-perishable groceries such as cereals, flour, sugar, and vegetable oil.
In Eastern Ukraine, a private vehicle was arranged to help refugees who had been isolated without electricity, heat, water or food for several weeks.
A group of doctors from the SSSIO volunteered at a hospital. The SSSIO provided much needed emergency medical supplies for wound care, and other life-saving medications, as well as protective vests for first-line defenders.
After receiving material help from devotees in Zone 7, seven volunteers contacted local stores and organizations to gather and donate 1600 diapers for a hospital. They also helped mothers and children who came in as refugees. In another hospital, SSSIO volunteers supplied 53 packages of surgical supplies and medications. A surgeon in the hospital who received the goods was very grateful and said that these supplies were sufficient to help wounded patients for at least a week.
There were 150 refugees (men, women, mothers with young children) sheltered in a dormitory. On March 26, 2022, Sathya Sai volunteers provided them with 24 bottles of liquid soap, 36 tubes of toothpaste, 24 rolls of paper towels, 21 bottles of dishwashing liquid, 9 bottles of floor cleaning liquid, 36 bottles of shampoo, 24 packages of sanitary pads, 24 kitchen sponges, 48 rolls of toilet tissue paper, 60 pairs of women’s socks and 50 pairs of men’s socks, 67.5 Kg oranges, 53 Kg mandarins and 3 crates of bananas.
On March 27, 2022, a hospital needed 25 ampules of antibiotics for the wounded which were promptly provided. In addition, seven packages of medicines were given to another hospital for their patients. These medicines were not available locally because pharmacies had shut down. Thirteen packages of medicines were also delivered to other hospitals. For safety reasons, these deliveries had to be routed through other towns as direct transportation to the hospital was not possible.
With financial help from SSSIO Zone 7, Sathya Sai volunteers brought food and medicines for the children and staff of a school.
About 120 Ukranian refugees have been housed in a town in Hungary. A Sai Group in Hungary, purchases and transports food in private cars to a domestic refugee center several times each week. SSSIO Zone 7 volunteers have lovingly provided financial support for food, gasoline, and transportation.
SSSIO of Hungary continues to distribute food, goods and medicines to refugee centers in the country and visits a children’s home for refugees.
As of March 30, 2022, there are more than two million refugees in Poland. The SSSIO of Poland, assisted by Sathya Sai devotees from other countries in Europe, are helping refugees by offering food, shelter, clothing, accommodation, as well as emotional support.
In addition, the SSSIO Poland serves refugees in the country. In one of the refugee shelters, more than 200 mothers are currently living with their children. The Sathya Sai Group is organizing help for the shelter and has started to organize activities for the children who currently cannot attend school.
Several families from Ukraine have received accommodation with Sathya Sai devotees in Poland and Germany who lovingly provided free accommodation in their homes. SSSIO Germany continues to organize transportation, aid packages with medicines, supplies for wound treatment, hygiene articles and baby food for the refugees.
As a result of the situation in Ukraine and the economic sanctions, Russians such as truck drivers have been stranded. Here is a touching story from SSSIO volunteers from Germany about an incident that occurred in early March, 2022.
“Today we drove on the highway parking lots (truck stops) looking for Russian trucks that are marked with RUS in their license plate to offer help (the other trucks from the EU can be quickly recognized by the blue EU sign on the license plate).
And indeed, we found a RUS truck. The windows were closed. One of the Sathya Sai volunteers knocked on the driver’s door and immediately a young man looked out of the window. We asked in English if he needed help, but he did not understand us. He said, “I speak a little German” and got out of the truck. We wanted to know if he needed anything, and he made a sign showing us that his credit card was blocked. He said that he was on his way to Italy. Also, before that he said, “I love the Germans.” We replied, “We love the Russians.” At that, we hugged each other.
We offered him some money, which he slowly and hesitantly took while crying. He kept wiping the tears from his eyes and we were all very touched. The Sathya Sai volunteer wanted to know if he needed more money, but he indicated that that was enough. We looked at his tank and asked if he needed more money for gasoline. He replied in the negative. Then we wished him “have a good trip” and said goodbye. We were all very happy to able to touch the heart of another fellow human being.
We are grateful to Swami for this opportunity!”
Prayers and “Walk for Peace”
Sathya Sai devotees from SSSIO Zone 7 realize that prayer for peace remains the best thing they can do. Many Sathya Sai devotees continue to pray for peace daily at their homes, in communities, in Sai groups, or together in online Satsangs.
A “Walk for Peace” was organized in Germany. This group walked a long distance together while singing peace songs in different languages, Gayatri Mantra and Samastha Loka Sukhino Bhavantu.
A large warehouse for food distribution has been established. This warehouse receives food from Western Europe for distribution to refugees. The SSSIO is providing a regular supply of medicines to a Children’s hospital with refugees. In west Ukraine, food is being distributed to people in need by members of the SSSIO.
Several Baltic countries including Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania as well as the Czech Republic, Germany and Austria have accommodated refugees in their homes. They have collected needed items like clothes, blankets, hygiene articles, and food for refugees.
Let us continue our prayers while our humanitarian aid efforts are proceeding. Anyone interested in participating in this humanitarian relief work, may use the information on our website at https://www.sathyasai.org/about-us/organisation/ssswf