Las Malvinas, Barranquilla
Colombia ( South America )
By Magaly Saldaña
Centro Educativo Neo-Humanista P.R. Sarkar, named as a tribute to our founder, has been our leading social project for years. Founded in 1984, the school was opened in a slum area where many people live in infrahuman conditions, not meeting their basic needs for housing, food, and education, among others. The Centre has since then educated hundreds of children, leaving a mark on them and on the community. Our children are well-known in the area for being the most respectful, sensible and best-mannered of all. They love the school and do not want to leave when their time comes, which is why after many years of providing only pre-school education, we decided it was time for us to start basic primary school. This has been a big challenge for us, but we have felt such grace in everything we do, and have always got the needed resources. At present, we have more than 220 children from Kindergarten to grade 5 in an environment which would otherwise give them no opportunity to study. Our project is particularly important in the area, because it is the only school which is completely free. The children don’t pay anything and receive the best education, all our love, and a daily meal. We have even started a school for parents where they get classes in subjects such as literacy and vegetarian cooking. The community is very grateful to us.
The Construction Project
In 1984, the “Asociación para el Desarrollo Integral Ananda Marga-Colombia” began the task of working to provide Las Malvinas with a new building complex to house a Children’s Home, a Health Centre and a School as well as a day-care programme for single-parents’ children from the neighbourhood which will allow them to go to work with the certainty that their under six-year-old children will be adequately looked after in their absence. To accomplish all these goals, Ananda Marga purchased a plot at Las Malvinas in 1984,
and gradually started the construction of the Centro Neo-Humanista P.R. Sarkar, with the effective and selfless cooperation of several people and private corporations. Since 1987, more and more children have been educated in the Neohumanism principles. This year 220 children are currently receiving such education.
The leader of the project, RS Dada Divyapremananda, has provided the inspiration and constant encouragement, without which the school wouldn’t be a reality. He has taught us how to work, how to get the most out of our fellows, how to infuse in our precious children the jewel of Neohumanism. He personally supervises everything we do there and helps us get funds for the project, inspiring people in the many lectures and seminars that he gives. He has moved many important professionals and even politicians to contribute in different ways.
Up to the date of this report, approximately 40% of the work on the construction is estimated to have been executed, and the rest is hoped to be finished with the assistance of those who have chosen the path of humanitarian cooperation towards their less-favoured fellows. The present facilities include five rooms, part of the sanitary plant, and the school keepers’ lodging.
A Holistic Medicine Health Centre, which will offer free permanent health care, is also part of the plan. General health care is presently offered only sporadically by some social workers. The projected health centre will serve a considerably greater number of patients by implementing recently developed scientific methods based on the effective Vibrational Medicine, particularly Colour and Sound Therapies. It will be directed and served personally by the project leader Dada Divyapremananda, who is also a well-known therapist with M.D. in Cymatic and Bio-energetic Medicine and a member of the “International Association of Colour” with headquarters in England, alongside with other physicians. Dada Divyapremananda is currently running the Centro de Salud Holística Om Shanti, which was founded in 1998. It is a unique health centre where an average of 40 patients are treated weekly. The subtle and efficient Vibrational Medicine –Colour Therapy and Cymatics (Sound Therapy)– is combined with Bio-psychology to provide an optimum balanced healthcare plan. Thus patients are encouraged to practice yoga ásanas, meditation, and to follow a vegetarian diet as part and complement of their vibrational treatment. In addition to this, the Centre also offers periodical courses on Colour Therapy for health professionals and people in general.
To complete this project according to the initial plan, we need to build the health centre complex, the kitchen, the nursery, an all-purpose auditorium, and a bordering wall for the school. And in order to cope with the expanding new primary school, more classrooms, a library, and a teachers’ lounge are also needed. Additionally, some important repairs must be made in the existing construction: the present floor level in the whole school area needs to be raised, the existing roof replaced, and a system to divert and get rid of the rain water needs to be implemented to stop the current flooding of the school facilities whenever it rains.
At the moment, the construction work is temporarily halted due to financial shortage. To be able to continue, an approximate amount of US $70,000 is needed. To add to these figures, the increasing monthly budget is a burden to this Association. Five teachers’ salaries, school books and utensils, education material, and maintenance expenses add up to US $1300 per month. To cover this, Ananda Marga only counts on the good-willed voluntary members and some sponsors which is not really enough. The organisation does not get support of any kind from the local government. We are interested in getting some more permanent economic support and any ideas or assistance in contacting funding agencies are most welcome. (anandamarga_baqhotmail.com, ddivyahotmail.com)
Las Malvinas and nearby inhabitants will greatly benefit when this project is a reality. More of their children will receive free education; their parents will be trained in basic aspects of child upbringing and various technical skills and will participate in counselling sessions with professionals; the whole community will be warranted a permanent health centre that will provide free holistic health care to promote the all-round well-being of one and all.