The Madhuban Sri Aurobindo Ashram is nestled in the Himalayan foothills in a lush valley whose fertility nourishes the soil and the soul. Madhuban, which means “honey forest”, draws seekers from all over the world. Retreat participants and solo travelers who come to the Ashram are struck by the magic of the place and inspired by the vision of both Sri Aurobindo and The Mother and the dedication of Director Dr. Anju Khanna. Her commitment to uplifting the local community and, in particular, its educational enhancement has enabled the cross-pollination which gave rise to the creation of Friends of Madhuban.
Friends of Madhuban is a global, non-profit seva organization which seeks to provide collaborative, cross-cultural educational opportunities in the Kumoan foothills of the Himalayas
“Seva” is the Sanskrit word for selfless giving by which one receives endless joy.
After their first visit to Madhuban, on a retreat led by Matthew Andrews, three travelers organized a “Chanting for Charity” event upon returning to the United States. $600 was quickly raised and sent to help one of the local village schools. Passion for the cause caught on and the idea to partner with the Ashram in designing a formal Volunteer Seva Project was conceived. Friends of Madhuban (FOM) obtained its official 501(c)(3) non-profit status a year later.
At the same time that the Volunteer Seva Project was being honed, the need for improving the quality of the local education system and teacher training were identified. Serendipitously, another traveler to Madhuban was drawn to the cause. Her vision was to implement an innovative global curriculum in partnership with educators from Delhi and Talla Ramgarh schools. The picture slowly came into focus: funds from the Volunteer Seva Project would be used to establish a Teacher Resource and Education Center (TREC). The Center would focus on the integration of several innovative curricula that would prepare teachers to become ambassadors of Peace and Whole Child Integral Education. This course would enable women and men in Ramgarh, Nainital District of Uttarakhand to enrich their skills and broaden and deepen their understanding of education.
FOM’s co-founders are Connie Lobo, Rachel Borsavage and Cheryl Chaffee. Katey Brichto, already engaged in fleshing out the curriculum with Anjudidi and Dr. Kamala Menon from Mirambika Free Progress School, Sri Aurobindo Ashram Delhi Branch has also joined the Board of Directors. Matthew Andrews who forged the link that led to the creation of FOM is our seventh Board member.
We voluntarily contribute our time, resources and energy to further the mission of the organization. All monies received go toward the development of FOM’s non-profit activities. As our cause continues to blossom, we welcome new input, ideas, and skills.
Together we aspire to create programs that heighten the sense of interconnection across the planet and we invite your participation. In our passion to uplift those in need we believe we are all beneficiaries of rich cultural exchange and the sweetness of remembering that we are all one.
WE NEED YOUR HELP
Each one of you can strengthen the effort towards world peace, community, harmony, and planetary care. We call on you to support this movement in any way you can, be it time, skills and/or money.
Join us in India for our Seva Retreat
August 21 – September 3, 2020
Rachel Borsavage: Rachel is both a licensed, certified massage therapist and a yoga practitioner. She has originated a series of Group Stress Relief classes to address tension which include supported stretching and strengthening, mini-massage, spa treatments, breathwork, and guided meditation. Her treatments during the trip will help you clear away exhaustion, balance energy and align you in body, mind, and spirit.
Connie Lobo: Connie is a self-taught fiber artist who paints with wool. Drawing inspiration from Nature and imagination, she creates 2-D pieces using beautiful tuffs of wool as paint and a felting needle as the brush. As our artist in residence, Connie will guide and encourage you to find your own aesthetic expression and to channel it into authentic artistic creativity.
Katey Brichto: Katey is a yoga practitioner and teacher for over thirty years, is one of the creators of FOM’s Teacher Resource and Education Center’s (TREC) program curriculum. In addition to adding to our yoga offerings, she will share her depth of yogic philosophy and mythology and also assist volunteers in meaningful engagement with the local teacher trainees in TREC.
Cheryl Chaffee: Cheryl is a 500-hour certified yoga instructor and has trained in TriYoga, Anusara and Ashaya Yoga. She is also a yoga teacher trainer and has taught widely in the USA and abroad. In addition, she is a kirtan leader, accompanying herself on both harmonium and guitar. Her expertise will assist you in your asana practice, making the physical poses accessible to both beginners and advanced practitioners, and awaken you to the joy of Bhakti Yoga. (Check out her CD “Prashamana” on iTunes, Amazon Music, Spotify, and cdBaby).
If you are unable to join our Volunteer Seva project in this out-of-the-way garden of promise, you can still give to the cause.
We are now able to take donations through PayPal. Your tax-deductible donation will go a long way toward sweetening the world.
Friends of Madhuban is pleased to announce that the Sarasota, FL- based kirtan group, Maha, is holding a “Chanting for Charity” event this Friday night, February 22nd, to help raise funds for the Sunrise School. The event will be live streamed on their Facebook page, www.facebook.com/mahasrq/ beginning at approximately 7:30 pm. If you’d like to …
Sunrise School is a small, local elementary school in India near Madhuban serving 110 children ages 3 to 14. Dr. Anju Khanna and the Sri Aurobindo Delhi Branch Ashram have supported this school from its beginning. When we visited Ramgarh last fall, we visited the school and had the opportunity to spend a morning engaged …