Dr. Thomas Mathew – 1988 Graduate
“ARI taught me about the world and, surprisingly, about my own local area. At ARI I met both people of different religions and of my own, who were working for the poor. I learned about peace and non-violence, gender equality, religious equality, leadership, and I learned how to network. ARI taught me that life’s focus shouldn’t be money. My mind was further opened to world wide issues; to nuclear bomb issues, peace, and non-violence. Visiting Hiroshima had a significant impact on me, and it fueled my passion for world peace, no nuclear bombs, and education for all people on these issues.
I started SEEDS soon after returning to my home in Kerala State. We have been operating about 20 years, and provide many services such as:
Asha Kendra (The Home of Hope Orphanage) – We emphasize the importance of education and continually encourage the girls to study and work for their future.
Organic farm – The staff and children grow about 50% of the food needed for the SEEDS Center. Also, more than 150 evening meals are provided each day to in-patients at the local hospital.
Day care center – Child care, education, and noon meals are provided for nursery age children of underprivileged families.
‘Leaf art’ program – Deaf Mute and Dalit people learn to create hand painted greeting cards, bringing income to 50 families. The center also provides training in computers and sewing.
No nuclear bombs -To promote my beliefs in world peace, non-violence, and no nuclear bombs, my staff and I developed a program to teach about nuclear bomb destruction and the nuclear testing that still takes place in India and many other nations today. This peace and education campaign has toured throughout India delivering pictorial essays and presentations from survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to more than 300 schools, villages, and seminaries.”
Ms. Renuka Badrakanthi – 2004 Graduate
Ekabadda Prajasanwardana Kantha Mahasangamaya / Weligepola
My organization has an organic farm and I am the manager. We have started many programs for women such as micro-finance, health care, small business operations, home gardening, cooking, and children’s programs. We now reach over 2,500 families. I learned at ARI that if we can develop organic agriculture, we can grow in a good way. If we have food security, we can build prosperity in our country. Now our main activities are focused on producing organic food. We promote use of our indigenous seeds rather than hybrid seeds to protect our food culture and our indigenous seeds. We started a model organic farm which is taken care of by the women of my organization. We provide courses on growing organic oranges and coconuts and making compost and fertilizer from plant juice and cow dung. As the skills of organic farming differ from area to area, I have written a book about the preservation of indigenous farming knowledge. I have a future plan to build an organic farming training center.