Pune: Celebrating Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba’s 92nd birthday, the Sri Sathya Sai Loka Seva Trust, in a splendid ceremony held the “Sri SathyaSai Award for Human Excellence” at Sathya Sai Grama, Muddenahalli, Karnataka on 23rd November, 2017.Sister Lucy Vacachalil Kurien from Pune has been awarded “The Sri Sathya Sai Award for Human Excellence” in the “Unity of Religions” category. The award was conferred by the winners from last year and the jury members from the respective category. Eight other inspiring women from various parts of the world have also been bestowed this award for their contributions in different fields.
Sister Lucy Kurien established ‘Maher’ in 1997 which translates to ‘my mother’s home’ in Marathi, an institution in Pune, Maharashtra that works with destitute women, irrespective of caste, creed or religion. The centre has a range of services that range from awareness programmes to creches,Balwadis (kindergartens), tutorials, workshops, and self-help groups that help these women lead independent and dignified lives. Over the course of 15 years, Maher has helped more than 15,000 women and children achieve a life of normalcy and currently houses over 860 street children and more than 320 destitute women.
TAFE Chairman & CEO, Ms. Mallika Srinivasan, speaking on behalf of the awards’ organizing committee said, “These exemplary women are powerful beacons of hope for the world and for all women. Inspirational, worthy of emulation, symbols of courage, conviction and sacrifice, they have set thebench mark for excellence and have gone beyond; transforming societies, enriching the world and bringing hope, joy and succor to millions through their tireless and passionate effort. Each one of them, in her unique innovative way, has made a lasting impact on human values and built a model of change that is globally relevant, living up to the ideal that each one of us, through our creativity, compassion, love and endeavor can make a difference towards a better world for all”.
The awardees are individuals who have led a life of service and sacrifice fostering mankind in various fields of social relevance towards the goal of transforming lives. The Sri Sathya Sai Award for Human Excellence recognized people in seven categories: Education, Environment, Health, Music & Fine Arts, Unity of Religions, Woman & Child Welfare and Sports. An eminent jury comprising members representing the award categories, carefully analyzed and evaluated the nominations.
Other individuals recognized for their outstanding work include:
§ Dr.Sakena Yacoobi from Afghanistan in the category, Education.
§ Ms. Lorna Rutto from Kenya in the category, Environment.
§ Dr. M. Sarada Menon from India in the category, Health.
§ Prof.Prema Pandurang from India in the category, Music & Fine Arts.
§ Ms.Leymah Roberta Gbowee from Liberia in the category, Unity of Religions.
§ Ms.Kousalya Periasamy from India in the category, Woman & Child Welfare.
§ Ms.Anuradha Koirala from Nepal in the category, Woman & Child Welfare.
§ Ms.Meenakshi Raghavan from India in the category, Sports.
About the Sri Sathya Sai Loka Seva Trust:
The Sri Sathya Sai Loka Seva Trust (SSSLST), setup under the aegis of Sri Sathya Sai Baba, is a front-runner in providing free value-based educationto all. The first educational institute based on the teachings of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba was started by Sri Madiyal Narayan Bhat, who established the Sri Sathya Sai Loka Seva High School at Alike, his birthplace and a remote village in Dakshina Kannada district of Karnataka, way back in 1961. Sri Sathya Sai Loka Seva Institutions at Alike and Muddenahalli were later established in the year 1963 and 1973 respectively, by visionary Sri Madiyal Narayan Bhat under the divine guidance of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.
The educational institutions run by the SSSLST aim to impart sound liberal education on modern lines, blending it with the noble values of Indian heritage in an atmosphere of devotion, discipline, love, and mutual cooperation. These institutions are contributing immensely to the cause of nation building by creating strong individuals with brilliant intellect, compassionate heart and competent hands. A group of 21 schools and colleges, functioning across eight districts in Karnataka, have been dedicatedly imparting quality education to over 3500 boys and 1500 girls, without any fee.
The Trust has also been striving hard to improve the living conditions of people in the surrounding areas by providing material amenities and spiritual inspiration. It has been providing free medical care to the needy by conducting regular healthcare camps and establishing institutes of specialty healthcare. The Sri Sathya Sai Health & Education Trust began the Sri Sathya Sai Sanjeevani Hospital in Naya Raipur, Chhattisgarh in November 2012 to provide quality paediatric cardiac care to all, free of cost.