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- Chancellor Amma Addresses the Parliament of World’s Religions
- Amrita Students Qualify for the European Mars Rover Challenge
Founded in India in 1985, AYUDH empowers young people to integrate universal values into their daily lives. Starting with themselves, the goal is to establish a future of hope, peace, and social engagement. Today, our international youth movement is active in more than 40 countries across Asia, Europe, North America, South America, Australia, and Africa. The main chapters are AYUDH India, AYUDH Europe, and AYUDH Americas.
AYUDH is based on Amma’s teaching that we are not isolated islands, but are linked to each other like the rings of a chain; that our lives are not meant to be lived only for ourselves. Amma says that instead, we need to set aside some time to make a difference in the lives of those less fortunate. The focus is on four areas: social service, sustainable initiatives, personal development and intercultural exchange, and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are the blueprint for action.
AYUDH India found every conceivable way to assist people who dealt with the country’s second-wave crisis. Hundreds of volunteers ran medical helplines, located hospital beds, and organized supplies and equipment, especially for oxygen. AYUDH India also started delivery of food and essential supplies to people in impoverished areas. In AYUDH chapters around the globe, youth opened helplines for grocery delivery and social support, especially for the elderly and people with disabilities. They also ran drives for food, clothing, toys, and other basic supplies and delivered them to people in need of help.
AYUDH Summits are held on an annual basis by youth organizers who select a theme to shape that year’s efforts for social change. Based on the chosen idea, AYUDH groups develop volunteer initiatives, sponsor talks, and organize awareness programs. Themes from recent years include Now is the Future (India), Celebrating Diversity (Europe) and World Peace through Inner Peace (Americas). Political leaders, acclaimed artists, and influential leaders of the environmental movement also participate and inspire thousands of youth through sessions and debates. During the COVID-19 pandemic, chapters met the challenge by holding events online.
A volunteer helpline was started by AYUDH Amritapuri during the disaster that led to the deaths of 500 people and displaced more than one million in Kerala. When the floods hit, students and faculty at Amrita created a 24-hour helpline to reach people in distress and save lives. The team consisted of more than 400 volunteers who worked in shifts. Within five days, they fielded more than 25,000 calls and connected more than 100,000 flood victims with appropriate rescue and relief services, including Navy and Air Force. AYUDH members also rushed to serve in the Ashram’s more than 30 relief camps across Kerala, and after waters subsided, they assisted in community clean-ups.
Amrita Janani Jagran is a project by AYUDH Mumbai to focus on innovative ways to empower women in urban slums and rural areas by helping them overcome their physical, mental, and emotional challenges. The first phase started in 2019 with a priority on health treatment. A team that included an attending physician visited weekly to provide professional counselling and medical care. AYUDH volunteers distributed Health Awareness/Medical Kits and held health-awareness sessions that emphasized the issues women face for menses, childbearing, and menopause. In addition, AYUDH organized clean-up drives and installed garbage bins in the slum. They also held value-oriented sessions for the women and the rest of the community to re-instill faith in their own worth as human beings.
The event was a collaboration to hold a month-long dialogue between youth and senior decision makers, after which AYUDH wrote its Statement on Cultural Diversity and contributed to the official UN Declaration on Kindness. In 2019, three members with AYUDH Europe travelled to New Delhi for UNESCO-MGIEP’s first World Youth Conference on Kindness. MGIEP is the Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace & Sustainable Development. The goal of the gathering was to impart critical competencies such as empathy, compassion, mindfulness, and critical inquiry to enable young people to transform themselves, build long-lasting peace in their communities, and prevent violent extremism.
AYUDH Japan members team up with AYUDH India on an annual basis to take part in building infrastructure in India’s villages. For example, in 2018, the volunteers worked together to install water-filtration systems in 36 communities over the course of 10 days. The filtered water now reaches about 20,000 people. In 2014, 73 Japanese youth travelled to Uttarakhand to take part in rehabilitation of the areas devastated by the 2013 floods. They helped with Amma’s pledge to rebuild 500 homes in the area.
AYUDH started White C(r)ane in Kenya to provide canes to the visually impaired in impoverished communities, especially the country’s tribal areas. Despite the crucial role white canes play in the mobility of the blind and visually impaired, their access is hindered by cost and availability. White canes primarily allow the user to scan their surroundings for obstacles or orientation marks, but is also helpful for onlookers in identifying the user as blind or visually impaired and taking appropriate care. As of 2022, AYUDH Kenya’s project distributed more than 20,000 canes worth more than US$250,000 (₹2 crore) to visually impaired people of all ages.