Guided by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, the Art of Living Foundation has adapted a multi-faceted approach to bringing relief to those affected by disasters. While bringing material relief for immediate medical and food crises is the first priority, the Art of Living Foundation also recognise that rehabilitation in the true sense only happens when the trauma is dealt with on an emotional level too.The Art of Living Foundation has therefore developed the following three-tiered approach which includes
- immediate response with the provision of material aid
- short-term trauma relief programmes to help victims deal with any emotional trauma
- long-term rehabilitation of the community, including re-building of infrastructure.
Immediate Material Aid And Service
Having a network of volunteers,The Art of Living Foundation can provide immediate material relief ie. food, clothing, medicine and shelter.Doctors, counsellors and other physical and mental health experts form an integral part of these immediate relief efforts.
Specially designed trauma relief workshops help participants to release emotional and mental trauma and equip them with skills to remain stress-free. These workshops include simple, practical breathing techniques proven to have an immediate calming effect on the mind. A study on The Art of Living Trauma Relief Programmes which were delivered to large groups of South-East Asian tsunami survivors showed significant relief from post-traumatic stress disorder, including symptoms such as disturbed sleep and depression in only four days.
A sense of community spirit is also developed in the workshops. Once the participants feel better in themselves, they naturally want to reach out to others in the community, to reconstruct their lives and support each other. For example, after the Tsunami in 2004, initial material relief was provided in the form of boats, but due to the trauma experienced by the fishermen, they were afraid to approach the sea. After undergoing the trauma relief workshops, the fishermen were able to utilise the boats, resume fishing and provide for their families.
Whilst aid is available in the short term, the Art of Living Foundation believes that true relief can only happen when people have a sustainable future. To achieve this, our volunteers work with local volunteers and communities in villages, building homes, sanitation systems, roads, schools, vocational training centres and other necessary infrastructure.