Faculty, Staff and Students Volunteer for Vidyamritam Contests

September 23, 2009
Amritapuri Campus
Amrita University faculty, staff and students recently had the opportunity to participate in a unique activity. Volunteers from the Amrita campuses joined ashram brahmacharins to conduct essay writing, poetry, elocution, painting and pencil sketching competitions for 3000 children in Kerala. These children, aged 9-16, were all recipients of the M.A. Math’s Vidyamritam scholarships, provided to help those from impoverished agricultural families, continue their studies.
“These are Amma’s children from the most deprived sections of society in Kerala,” stated the Pro-Chancellor, Br. Abhayamrita Chaitanya. “Vidyamritam was envisioned by our beloved Amma to benefit children all over the country. There are 10,000 recipients in Kerala alone, and over 30,000 total. The scholarships support studies of these children from 5th to 12th standards, and help them remain in school. This year, as desired by Amma, we conducted literary and cultural competitions for these children also.”
On September 5, faculty, staff and students from the Coimbatore, Kochi and Amritapuri campuses arrived at the 22 competition centers in the northern, central and southern parts of Kerala respectively, with papers, pencils, pens, chart papers, paint boxes, painting brushes, etc. The next day, they oversaw the smooth conduct of competitions simultaneously at all these centers. “Students and staff from our university campuses planned and executed everything with meticulous finish,” added the Pro-Chancellor.

From Wayanad and Idukki hill districts of Kerala, to the planes in the coastal belt all over the state, the day started early for the 3,000 participants. Ashram buses picked up the children from remote villages and brought them to the competition sites. After the competitions were over, they were served free lunch together with their parents who had accompanied them. The children were each given a pen, a pencil and a box of water colors before being dropped back to their homes in the evening.
“This was quite an experience for me,” shared Binu P.K. of Amritapuri campus who traveled to Tiruvalla to conduct the competitions. “I was moved by the way in which the children articulated in the elocution, also by their beautiful strokes with paints and brushes that expressed their hopes and aspirations for a harmonious world.” Twenty days prior to the event, the twin themes of Nature and Peace & Harmony* had been announced to these children. They had come prepared with the help of their parents, teachers and devotees.

25 best entries in each category were selected and sent to well-known writers and artists in Kerala. The winners, the thousands of children who participated, as well as those who couldn’t, will all assemble shortly at Amritapuri for the grand finale. Nearly 10,000 children, all Vidyamritam scholarship recipients, are expected to arrive in Amritapuri on September 25, to take part in the cultural events planned for them during Amma’s birthday celebrations on September 26 and 27. Stay tuned to amritapuri.org for birthday updates from the ashram.


* One hour prior to the competitions, the following topics were announced.
Junior Students
Nature, My Mother
Through loving and contented family life, one can achieve peace in society
Senior Students
By protecting nature, we protect mankind
World peace can be achieved by developing human values in individuals
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