“Where there is a need, there is an Art of Living volunteer.”
It was His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar who suggested that volunteers initiate programmes in Dharavi. It was October 2001. The novel task fell upon two young professionals, Carl and Zubin who had never stepped into a slum before. Knowing full well that if Guruji had said something, it would be, they jumped headlong into the unknown!
Together, they dug out one contact in Vaibhav Cooperative Society, a product of the slum rehabilitation scheme. Those residents participated in the first satsang, an evening of knowledge, music and celebration. In the early days Carl and Zubin would often tag along their entire families, just to get the numbers up!
“Dharavi has made me interact with so many people I would never have met otherwise. I’m truly grateful I could share Guruji’s message of love and peace with them.”
-- Kedar Desai, School Founder and Partner, Desai, Desai & Carrimjee
Word spread around that Art of Living satsangs were full of masti and life! Soon they had generated enough curiosity, for Kedar to conduct a Nav Chetna Shibir for over 50 participants. This is a free course that incorporates basic knowledge on health and hygiene, breathing practices, music and meditation. It was a hit!
Over the next five months, two thousand people participated in the courses. Special courses for children too were organised.
Till date almost one lakh people have been rejuvenated through the Art of Living. Courses have taken place on streets, by-lanes, in small courtyards, and cramped unventilated rooms, amidst noise, onlookers making comments and stench! Notwithstanding, the people have been so inspired by the programmes that the sense of seva and community nurtured by the Art of Living has resulted in several Milestones.