North India has witnessed unprecedented cold weather this year, with repeated cold waves and heavy rainfall. The unlikely combination of the ongoing pandemic and the wintry weather continues to cause concern for the elderly. To spread cheer, warmth, and happiness, our Amrita RITE teachers distributed socks to the elderly in 3 states Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan reaching 11 villages with nearly 100 beneficiaries. Our students too eagerly participated and helped in the distribution of the socks generously sponsored by devotees in the region.
In many cases, it was the first time the recipients had ever owned a pair of socks and had to be taught how to wear them, not to get them wet or use them for tying packages. While some of the recipients were puzzled when they were offered a pair of socks, wondering how they could use it, others were overjoyed with this kind gesture.
Dholiya, age 70, says, “You have done something very good for the elderly, now my feet will be able to escape the cold.” Kalushingh, Amrita RITE teacher, with Dholiya Kirad with Sanjay, Amrita RITE teacher Parmar Madhiben Balaji, age 85, is sentimental and grateful to Amma. “Socks should be worn in the cold season,” she reflects. “Because I am wearing the socks, my feet are not cold any more. I have never worn socks before, but because of Amma’s blessings, I got to wear socks.” As Amma often says, it does not take much to bring a smile to someone’s face.
Value-based Education in Action
The Amrita RITE after-school teachers work closely with the communities they serve in. During the pandemic, our teachers have gone above and beyond to ensure that students’ education continued by visiting students’ homes, going door-to-door depending on the prevailing situation. When the teachers were requested to help distribute socks for the elderly, they were ready to help without a second thought. Our exemplary teachers serve as role models for the students, and their actions embody the values that they inculcate in the next generation.
Babita, one of our teachers, said, “In today’s time, no one pays any attention to these elderly people or their needs. In such a situation, when socks were donated in this cold season, all the elders were incredibly happy.”
Several students came forward to emulate the example set by their teachers and support them, offering to help during the distribution. Nilam Kirad, age 7, studying in 2nd grade, says, “It was very nice to give socks to the elders of my village. Now they will be able to escape from the cold. I am glad I got the chance to give them the socks with my own hands.” Another small example of how Amma’s valuable lessons of service and compassion are fostering respect and harmony within the communities we serve.