As Azad Hind Express chugged out of howling Howrah station at 10pm, I said goodbye to Calcutta’s chaos and cacophony. A much-needed break I was looking for! What a relief!
Our destination: Amarkantak via Bilaspur
Objective: to attend the 151th birth anniversary celebrations of Swami Vivekananda at Ma Saradakanya Vidyapith (a tribal girls’ school) at Pondki, a sleepy village 12kms from Amarkantak. The school is run by septuagenarian Dr Prabir Sarkar.
Hong Kong Sathya Sai Centre has been doing a yeomen’s service for the local community, providing charity for the poor and needy, and imparting values-based education to parents and children.
As a spiritual organization, the centre, located at Tsim Tsa shui, Kowloon, has three wings – Seva (or service), Spiritual and Education, says Ashok Sakhrani, National chairman of the Hong Kong Sathya Sai Centre. There are also a Ladies’ Wing and a Youth Wing.
The name is absolutely apt. It gives you truly a second chance for a new life!
Based in Switzerland, 2nd Chance, a non-profit organization, does reconstructive surgery in emerging countries. Their motto is: Reconstruction Surgery for Life Reconstruction.
The association provides the academic and technical framework needed by surgeons who are willing to use their knowledge to help traumatized patients. Mutilated by congenital defects, burns or war wounds, or suffering from crippling diseases, many people wait for a surgical treatment which will enable them to begin their lives anew.
A guy named Gregory Grobon in the U.S. rode on his bike across the country to raise funds for 2nd Chance. He travelled from Los Angeles to New York, covering 5,770 km through 14 states, in 9 weeks.
For more information on 2nd Chance, log on to their website www.2nd-chance.org.
Amarkantak (Madhya Pradesh, India):
Dr Prabir Sarkar is a young man at 62. His boundless energy and indomitable spirit at this age is awe-inspiring. He has been waging a virtual war against educational inequality in a faraway place in the state of Madhya Pradesh (MP) in India.
His is a story of unwavering commitment, selflessness and relentless pursuit for the good of humankind. His mission: Ensuring primary education for poverty-ridden Baiga (most primitive tribe in the state) tribal girls in MP’s Anuppur district.