Upon entering the New Year 2020 and the new decade, ACT teams across the globe look back at the year 2019 with joy and pride, remembering many loving service initiatives that touched tens of thousands of lives, reaching out to more than 50,000 needy people in various countries around the world: South Africa, Ethiopia, Namibia, UK, USA, Canada, Peru, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Philippines, Slovenia, Serbia, Croatia, Macedonia, France, Australia and Qatar.
All these projects were conducted by dedicated ACT volunteers and their loving teams which keep expanding, inspiring a growing number of people to join the global platform of ACT and experience the life-transforming beauty of social service.
Indeed, unity and teamwork spirit was the main theme of ACT for 2019. ACT teams in different countries started organizing joint initiatives and also supported some amazing service projects of ACT’s sister charity in India – Ammucare Charitable Trust. As more and more volunteers come together in the spirit of joy and unity, understanding how much more effectively one can serve the needy once we join our forces, we welcome all people of good will to join us in hands-on service from the heart.
In summary, in the year 2019 ACT Foundation served / distributed more than 23,000 hot meals, 21,735 kg of vegetarian/vegan food for hungry people, 1050 food packages, 2508 sandwiches and 4100 kg of animal food world-wide. Moreover, more than 500 packages of hygiene items were delivered to people in need; more than 1000 children were touched by loving care, support through food, clothing, stationary equipment and educational workshops and joyous artistic celebrations to boost their positivity, motivation and desire to be a force of goodness in this world; ACT Youth Writers Club was created in South Africa; blood donation drives supported hundreds of people, people and children with special needs were given special attention through joyous moments of togetherness through music, dance, singing and massage; victims of natural disasters were supported with most essential items; abused women were supported through various women empowerment initiatives; old age homes were supported in creative ways; victims of natural disasters (floods and typhoon were given support in most essential supplies).
In 2019, Devi Mohan, Global President of ACT Foundation, presented the work and philosophy of ACT Foundation and its founder Mohanji at several prestigious international events:
In July 2019 Devi spoke about the values and impact of ACT Foundation at the largest vegan conference in India – Vegan India Conference in Delhi, India, highlighting the importance of nonviolence and social service as we assume responsibility for creating the better future that we and our children deserve.
In November 2019 Devi Mohan spoke about the key service projects, philosophy of ACT and importance of social service for peace and stability on Earth during her meeting with the representatives of Qatar Foundation in Doha.
This was followed by several ACT initiatives for the first time in Qatar: 550 warm vegan meals were served to the poor construction workers from Asian countries whose labor is very exhausting in the heat of the Middle East, and life conditions coupled with isolation are often dehumanizing.
To have someone reach out to them with warm vegan meals was the moment of experience the grace at the heart of humanity. The same kind of support was extended to stray animals, who get almost no support in this part of the world – animal shelters were supported with hundreds of kg of food.
The spirit of ACT was also honoured during Devi’s speeches at the multi-cultural Unity Earth event “Varanasi Convergence” in the ancient city of Kashi (Varanasi) on the banks or river Ganges in India. Expression of love through direct action in social service beyond all man-made barriers has been celebrated as one of the key fabrics within the tapestry of lasting peace on Earth.
Let us now take the time to honor the key service initiatives and projects of ACT Foundation teams in various countries in the year 2019 through the following review:
ACT South Africa
With more volunteers coming on board to support the amazing long-term and short –term ACT projects in South Africa, the number of ACT teams in this country has increased drastically and their impact has become even greater.
20,000 meals in total have been served in the year 2019.
In Shumbashaba (one of key long-term projects of ACT South Africa), alone 6000 meals were served. Yoga and meditation were introduced and this was received with great joy by the children. The Year End party brought 400 needy children together, who spent the day with live music, dancing, drumming and laughter. Special meals were cooked and served and children were treated with sweets and presents. ACT supported the needy children through regular donations of clothes, as well as books and stationery that children love to use.
At Knysna, where many children come to school hungry, ACT team started the tradition of serving nutritious breakfast to these needy children. This morning meal has made a big impact on their learning and skill development. More than 2000 meals were at this location throughout 2019. Children also received a donation of stationery packages just before the exams.
Plastic View is another location with a huge turnout of needy children who come to experience the blessing of a cooked, healthy meal served on regular basis. Over 100 children come almost every Friday and enjoy a home cooked meal. More than 700 meals were served in 2019 at this location alone.
Durban team focused on cooking and serving food to homeless this year and offered support to children shelters and homes. Phoenix is the new area that was visited. ACT team in Durban gave talks in ‘Vegan Market’ on veganism and started successfully collaborating with Sai Center too. 1565 meals were served, 200 toiletry packs donated and 50 clothing items. At baby homes, more than 1200 babies were supported through nappies, baby food and hygiene items.
At the Motala Farm ACT SA team served 3000 meals during 2019.
Through the ACT Dignity program 500 pupils were given health packs, school bags and stationery, and workshops on menstrual hygiene and male circumcision were received very well by more than 500 pupils. There was also a project for school learners held for students with learning difficulties called Elson registered schools. At these special needs schools, 6400 meals were provided by ACT teams, along with a donation of school bags and toiletries.
The Drama group created awareness for 14320 learners in high schools and primary schools and shopping Centers in KZN.
Through the Book Fair at Mitchell Park and the Booksellers of Mzansi Project, ACT supported the homeless by arranging to hand over the books for them to sell and support themselves.
The ACT Youth Writers Club was set up and facilitated by publishing house Micromedia where ACT team pays for the facilitators to run the workshops. ACT team partnered for international Year of persons with disabilities at Mitchell Park, and with The Durban Book Fair & DAISY SA to bring the “READING FOR ALL” vision of having all published information available to people with print disabilities in an accessible, feature-rich, navigable format which also benefits the wider community.
On Mandela Day in aid of baby Arianna’s stem cell operation, ACT SA team made cup cakes for sale to raise money. In the end, with a bigger donation of one kind person, total medical costs were covered.
In Sibaya 7000 meals were packed by ACT teams and the further 5000 meals were provided to the flood victims.
A Green Diwali project was held to raise environmental awareness. ACT teamed up with a team of vets to provide funds for rabies injections, leashes, feeding bowls and pet foods.
At the Hospice, ACT contributed to women empowerment through care packs and workshops to help liberate disadvantaged and underprivileged women from their shackles of domestic abuse, hopelessness, and other social hardships that they have to endure. ACT team had 797 bags sponsored and distributed 687 to individuals and groups.
On the World Cleanup day in Langabaan, ACT team contributed significantly to help clean up the area.
On special religious festivals ACT teams organized 221 blood drives, through which more than 660 lives were saved.
For Gandhi 125 years celebration ACT team donated health products. There were also 500 ACT Bears donated to children battling cancer.
ACT shopping bags, towels and toiletries were given to needy children and senior citizens during Mind Body Festival and International Yoga Day.
Randburg center organized food service in Mayfair in February. More than 500 meals were served to the homeless in 2019.
In Stanger, regular visit to Inqolobane children’s home where meals were served with so much love, was coupled with meals for the homeless on the streets and children.
In Ivory Park Saturday lunch was served for many children with lots of love and year ended with memorable year end party for 120 children. 700 meals were served in 2019. Gas stove was donated so that local volunteers can carry on with cooking meals for children. School bags and health packs were donated too.
In Centurion center, ACT team has visited Old Age Home in Laudium, Kalafong Hospital for children and homeless people to whom they served food.
In 2019 ACT UK team had several new projects: they expanded the ‘Cooking for the homeless people project’ and have started working with another homeless center called DENS in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire to provide cooked meals for them. ACT UK continues with the feeding of the homeless and needy people in Mother Teresa Home, Southall, UK.
Moreover, the ACT UK team started working more closely with the ACT Croatia team (sponsored several food donations to families who were in desperate need; sponsored a Christmas party for 15 disadvantaged children. A useful hamper of food, toiletries and toys were given to each child. They have also started a new initiative of sponsoring a child for their studies. ACT Croatia has identified a child and ACT UK started to contribute 50 Euros a month).
ACT UK team joined hands with Skanda Vale ashram and transported and distributed 1600 kg food items to a school of disadvantaged children in Blackpool, UK and 1800 kg food items to the refugees in Calais, France. This initiative will surely continue.
On birthday of the Founder of ACT – Mohanji, the badly needed baby food, health drinks, clothes, blankets and toiletries were provided to 140 abandoned children sheltered in a Mother Teresa House and Mother Teresa Missionary in Kolkata by ACT UK volunteers visiting India.
The team also provided 80 bags of fodder to Sanjay Gandhi Animal Care Centre, New Delhi, India.
300 food parcels were distributed to the needy in Gurgaon, New Delhi area, India.
Furthermore, ACT UK team supported the existing Arunachala accommodation for the elderly in Tiruvannamalai, South India. Provided a new wheelchair and also a handmade cupboard to secure their medicines.
Provided winter clothes, shoes, art and craft materials and a music instrument (Dhol) to the ‘Mohanji School of Supplementary Education to underprivileged children’ in Jammu, India.
Distributed food and cakes to underprivileged children in Bangladesh – this was organised by a dedicated ACT UK member.
ACT UK also engaged in supporting the victims of natural disasters: 60,000.00 INR was donated to Ammucare India to support the people who were badly affected by the Cyclone in Odisha, India.
There were several other service projects internationally:
100 children’s school uniforms were purchased in UK and sent to Namibia in Africa.
Arranged a Health Awareness clinic and distributed 300 mosquito nets in Bangladesh – this was organised by a dedicated UK ACT member.
Sent 650 sarees donated by the Skanda Vale ashram to underprivileged women in Sri Lanka. They were distributed by a Buddhist temple near Colombo and a Sathya Sai centre in Eastern Sri Lanka.
Took part in a local Environment Project – cleaning and maintaining the Canal in Slough, Berks, UK every quarter.
Cooked meals for the homeless people in Mother Teresa Home Southall, UK – took part in 19 sessions and provided more than 760 hot meals. Also provided toiletries on an ad hoc basis.
Provided mattresses, along with bed linen, sheets and Christmas gifts for the children to a poor family in Slovenia.
Sponsored ACT Serbia to provide 2 big pallets of food items, 90 pillows, several bags of hygiene items and 14 packets of diapers to a Monastery about 100 km from Belgrade where 15 nuns take care of abandoned children.
Took part in several dry food collections – Collected more than 7280 kg of food items from Skanda Vale and distributed to the following charities:
Also, there were organized various Fundraising events throughout the year:
To show our gratitude to Skanda Vale ashram for their generous support towards our ACT Foundation, our members carried out several food stall fundraising sessions during the summer months at Skanda Vale ashram. A significant amount was raised and donated to the Skanda Vale Hospice.
Overall, this year has been an amazing year for us with the team of dedicated volunteers growing. The passion and drive to live and breathe the message of ACT’s Founder Mohanji inspires each and every member of ACT UK team.
Volunteers across the USA conducted many activities and some events were sponsored in India and Peru.
In Texas, a full fledged meals were donated to Fort Bend County Women’s center for 60 women and kids including salads, main course and ice cream. Food donations were made to Krause Children’s Center, which has 80 kids. For Halloween candies were donated. Food was delivered to Harmony House, a homeless shelter in Houston for 100 people. ACT USA team also delivered gently used warm clothes to the people there. Also donated Ice cream and snacks to FortBend women’s and children’s homeless shelter, Richmond, Houston.
On ACT Foundation day, donation was made as breakfast with doughnuts and juice to Krause Children’s shelter.
In Iowa, team members volunteered in Animal shelter in Davenport on multiple occasions, and food donations were made.
On ACT Foundation day, donations in food and clothing were made to a homeless shelter.
From New York City, clothes, sweets and money donated at an orphanage in Kerala, India.
They organized wild bird feeding at the lake in California.
In Middletown Connecticut, food donation was done at a few locations. On ACT Foundation day, 250 cheese sandwiches, fruits and drinks were delivered to the St.Vincent de Paul Soup Kitchen.
In Boston, Food was prepared and donated for 250 men and 200 women.
In Florida, food was donated to Tri County Humane Rescue Center.
On Act foundation day, ACT teams in California and Florida donated supplies to an animal shelter. ACT volunteer also spent time with the kittens waiting to be adopted at the shelter. Two other volunteers continued their activity of feeding stray kittens in their neighborhood. Our Florida volunteer served bird food to our feathered friends in the area.
In Virginia – One of our volunteers went to an Assisted Living senior home and spent the evening with 15 senior citizens. They played trivia and had a fun time together. The group of seniors was in the 80-90 age range.
ACT USA donated funds to Ammucare in India to serve food to children at an orphanage:
Mohanji ka Aangan in Banglaore, is an initiative in India that provides basic learning facilities to under privileged children. Food was served across the North and South locations of Mohanji ka Aangan in Bangalore for approximately 90 children. In a leprosy colony in Chandigarh 15 blankets, 115 kg Rice, 60 kg Daal, 100 pkts of biscuits were donated. And more than 200 blankets to homeless people who were sleeping on the street in Jammu.
ACT USA also donated money to Peru, for food to feed the school children.
Canada team has done different activities such as:
Food for homeless people:
ACT Serbia team experienced exceptional growth in 2019. Number of activities was almost doubled up to 43 service initiatives of various kinds: from participation in 7 charity events, empowerment through educational workshops, yoga classes and similar forms of support, donations of food, fixed assets and a shelter for our fellow citizens and animals. In 2019, ACT Serbia team focused mostly on socially disadvantaged families, women who are victims of violence, people with special needs, shelters for children and adults, and abandoned animals in asylum.
Also, the number of new volunteers has increased significantly, which definitely had effect on the final result in 2019. In addition to 3 cities that have regularly organized humanitarian activities so far (Belgrade, Novi Sad and Vrsac), ACT has been activated in two more cities: Subotica and Zrenjanin.
Out of all the activities, ACT Serbia team would like to highlight four significant ones:
1. Visit to the Safe House in Sombor, empowerment workshop in Aug 2019:
ACT volunteers visited the Safe House in Sombor, whose beneficiaries are women and children victims of violence. The director of Safe House brought together current and former beneficiaries who need empowerment and support. During the specially created workshop for women, participants shared their stories, exchanged words of support and empowered themselves through a new perspective and opportunities for their personal growth which we believe that will serve them. On this occasion we have donated clothes and yoga mats for this women.
2. ACT Foundation president’s birthday celebration through empowerment action on 4 November 2019:
Another very nice action was a visit to the Shelter for Old and Adults in Belgrade. We were very happy because this was the way we celebrated the birthday of ACT Foundation President Devi Mohan and also that the Founder of Mohanji Foundation joined us at this event, who is great inspiration and support to us. In addition to the donations we provided, with the users we did breathing exercises, laughter yoga, sang and played with the sounds of the guitar, offered a loving massage to the older people at the shelter, which all gave them great joy.
3. Humanitarian Concert – Evening of Indian Culture and Music, Belgrade, on 6 November 2019:
ACT Serbia, in cooperation with Theater festival for children and youth „Festić“ and other performers organized a humanitarian concert The Evening of Indian culture and music. The collected funds were designated for helping the Shelter for women with special needs in the Monastery of St. Petka in the village Izvor near the town of Paracin. The evening went beautifully. The magical sounds of India were spreading through the hall, the visitors participated by singing and applauses, and many of them danced. There were also kids who enjoyed the concert. Later the team visited this Shelter and donated food, 90 pillows and 14 packs of hygiene products which they needed the most.
4. Visit to the Home for Disabled Children in December 2019:
ACT Serbia team visited the Home for children with disabilities „Kolevka“ in town of Subotica. To say the least, this visit was touching for the entire team. We were amazed by the enthusiasm of the workers in this Center and even more by the warmth, smile and desire for gentle contact that awaited us from babies through preschoolers and schoolchildren. Despite the fact that we gave them the food they need as well as hygiene items, once again we have gotten confirmation that the most important element is sharing of love and attention. It is difficult to find the right words which can describe how much love and gratitude these children have given to our team during the visit.
The following is a summary of donations ACT Serbia team made in 2019:
Act Macedonia team distributed around 968 freshly cooked vegan meals and approximately 136 packages of food with bread, sweets, juices and fruits for the homeless. Also made various donations for underprivileged families made of furniture, food, clothing, hygiene items, school items and founds to pay bills and rent for one of the families.
The team also fed the birds and dogs on the streets and donated 50kg of dog food to a dog shelter.
This year was productive, intense and very interesting for the ACT Croatia team, filled with a variety of service initiatives. ACT Croatia team helped kids, elders, families, animals and a lot of new friendships were made.
In 2019 ACT Croatia team donated and distributed the following:
There were several important projects that marked 2019 for ACT Croatia:
In 2019, the following service initiatives summarize the loving acts of kindness of the ACT Australia team:
1. Dedicated daily bird feeding in Sydney and Melbourne throughout the year
2. Regular support of the Asylum Seekers Refugee Centre through food and required grocery items
3. Support of the communal free kitchen at the Sai Temple in Melbourne
4. Donation to a charity called Variety in support of needy children in Melbourne
5. Crowd-funding in support of the Leprosy Patients in Delhi, India
6. Regular financial support of the Animal Centre in Delhi, India ($1000 for feeding of the animals)
ACT teams globally wish all a deeply fulfilling year 2020 and a decade filled with unconditional love through service and joyous love expressed through ACT-ion.
Join us in bringing smiles, light, joy and relief to those who have experienced a darker, tougher side of existence. Join us in the experience of a deep fulfillment though service.
Happy New Year!