Week 16, June 21st, 2o22
ISKCON Relief – Figures
Devotees from Europe, as well as other parts of the world, have tirelessly continued their sincere endeavor to help devotees from Ukraine to find shelter, care, and support. The following figures are for week 16 of this devotee care/relief effort.
|ISKCON Relief –
Food Distribution, Week 16
|Quantity (FFL and/or in temples and houses)|
|Country||Refugees being Hosted|
|Britain (excluding Northern Ireland)||36|
|Bulgaria||37 (incl. 18 children)|
|Czech Republic||77 (incl. 36 children)|
|France (New Mayapur)||3|
|Hungary||38 (incl. 10 children)|
|Ireland||15 (incl. 4 children)|
|Slovakia||18 (incl. 8 children)|
|Spain||15 (incl. 5 children)|
ISKCON Relief – Reports
A Message of Acknowledgment and Gratitude
Our ISKCON Europe Relief team would like to express deep gratitude to the devotees of ISKCON Bahrain for their generous donation towards the Ukraine Crisis. The devotees auctioned ‘Panihati Cida Dahi’ pots and raised us $2.000 to support the refugees from Ukraine. These donations were, and will, be used towards providing shelter, prasadam (sanctified vegetarian food), basic necessities as well as transport from the border. We pray that Lord Krishna blesses all our donors and their families with health, peace, and bhakti.
(See pictures below.)
Villa Vrindavana near Firenze and Prabhupada Dham in Genoa are full and cannot host more refugees at this point. However, there are still a few places at Villaggio Hare Krishna near Milano and also at Prabhupada Desh near Venice. These temples are requesting that expectations are made clear from both sides (the temple and the refugees) before arrival. If you are interested to go to one of these two temples then please contact Parabhakti das through the ISKCON Relief website. http://iskconrelief.org/contact/
The Vaishnava community “Karuna Bhavan” in Scotland wishes to invite two Vaishnavas who want to live at the temple in a separate apartment. A married couple, with or without children, or two men/women.
The community provides accommodation in a 2-room apartment 5 minutes from the temple and pays utilities and food (prasadam). The temple is located in a beautiful suburb of Glasgow, surrounded by nature and the community has a vegetable and alpaca farm. If you wish to be an active part of the yatra and engage in service six days a week then please contact us. Preference is for brahmins, at least one out of the two devotees, or those who are ready to receive second initiation for Deity worship.
In addition to living in the community, you will receive an allowance from the UK government under their program for Ukrainians. Assistance in applying for a visa and processing documents upon arrival will be given by us.
For more details, please call +380635156808
All facilities for refugee devotees coming to Spain are full and there is hardly any support from the Spanish government for Ukrainian refugees. Indeed some refugees want to leave and are looking for alternative places where they can take shelter. If your yatra has some places left, please contact Sukanti Radha devi dasi through the ISKCON Relief website. http://iskconrelief.org/contact/
ISKCON Relief Team
MEET THE TEAM – Members of the ISKCON Relief Team
In this part of our ‘Meet The Team’ series, we would like to introduce you to one of the Core Committee members – Parabhakti das
Parabhakti das – ISKCON Relief Core Committee member
Parabhakti das became a devotee in 1978 at the age of just 16. He was looking for an alternative way of life and searching for God. One day a friend spoke to him about a ‘blue God’ and about ‘Krishna’. As soon as he heard the words ‘Krishna’ and ‘blue God’ it was like a bolt from the blue for him! He seemed to know already know that name but he didn’t understand how that was possible. His friend also told him about devotees of Krishna selling books in the streets, and he immediately went looking for them (for days, until he finally met one). “I was astonished – I still remember the feeling of seeing this devotee, he seemed the only real thing, and all the others around him, like all things, appeared to be made of rubber,” says Parabhakti. Soon after that he went to the temple in Rome and joined right away.
As a brahmachari Parabhakti distributed Srila Prabhupada’s books and was part of an innovative project distributing prasadam at large concerts and events. There he met several VIPs. Later he met his dear wife Cinzia and together they have a beautiful daughter, Gopi Sundari devi dasi and a granddaughter Camilla Sita. Gopi Sundari devi dasi is a doctor and also run a Yoga school at Villa Vrindavana as well as online.
To find economic stability, Parabhakti worked in trading, covering representative roles in companies of various sectors.
Prabhakti has also always been very concerned about environmental issues and therefore co-founded an association for the protection of the environment in the area of the marine. He also opened a professional school for scuba divers and marine guides.
For the past 18 years, Parabhakti has been serving with great dedication as the temple president of Villa Vrindavana, close to Florence. Furthermore, he serves as the Director for ISKCON Communications in Italy, the vice-president of ISKCON Communications Europe, and the vice-president for ISKCON Italy. “However the service that satisfies me most, is taking care of devotees and bringing people closer to Krishna consciousness through conferences, seminars, and meetings etc,” says Parabhakti.
Immediately after the terrible war in Ukraine started, the Italian yatra raised over 20.000 Euros which were directly sent to Ukraine and to the neighbouring countries that offered help to the devotee refugees.
At present Villa Vrindavana hosts 14 refugees, one of them having just been born and is less than a month old! The devotees at the temple take very nice care of the newborn in every respect. There are also a few refugees at other temples in Italy.
Parabhakti says: “ISKCON Communications Global and the ISKCON Euro RGB have promptly taken action to cope with the emergency and gradually the assistance system has improved and become more effective. There is still a lot to do but the desire is to create a structure that can offer a prompt response to emergencies that devotees are faced with, both in Europe and around the world, as well as organising large-scale distribution of prasada, especially in areas affected by war and other severe calamities.”
Refugee devotees in Poland visiting the Polish farm community
Panihati pots that were auctioned by ISKCON Bahrain for the ISKCON Europe Relief effort
ISKCON Relief – Resources
The ISKCON Relocation Services is run by Loka Pavani Devi Dasi and three of her Vaishnavi colleagues. They work tirelessly to put together useful and updated information about available help which can be accessed in different European countries. Such information includes government benefits, government accommodations, relocation in temples and devotee’s homes, or a list of ISKCON centres especially equipped in helping women and children to get safe facilities. Refugees can find different options, and make informed decisions on where to go. You can find all this information at the ‘Country Specific Fact Sheets for Ukrainian Devotees’ at:
Crisis Management Team
The Crisis Management Team has appointed local coordinators for several countries. These local coordinators offer help to refugees and assist devotees. Don’t hesitate to contact them.
A list of the national coordinators for several countries can be found at:
Please visit our newly created website at:
ISKCON RELIEF SOCIAL MEDIA
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Aug 06, 2022
Brahmatirtha das Director, Bhaktivedanta Institute for Higher Studies