The History of Food for Life Vrindavan
1990 Under the guidance of Ayodhya Pati Prabhu, now B.B. Govinda Swami, we start serving sweetrice to pilgrims visiting Krsna-Balaram Mandir. Thus Food for Life Vrindavana begins.
1993 We start feeding Vrindavana’s widows daily. In the same year, we start serving full meals daily to about 100 elderly sadhus (saintly mendicants). This program continues today.
1995 We begin kitchri (rice, bean and vegetable stew) distribution at the temple. We also begin midday meal distribution at village schools. It starts with just six schools, but as news spreads, teachers start calling and we extend to fifty-three village schools. This is a turning point for FFLV. By visiting villages we discover the many needs of the villagers. Village elders approach us for help with drinking water, medical assistance, education and other problems arising from poverty.
1997 We set up our mobile medical team, which goes from village to village giving free advice and medicine.
1998 We build the first water system in the village of Javat Gaon, bringing drinking water to more than 10,000.
1999 We organize the Social Development Program in seven villages. This consists of adult education, self-help groups and vocational training. The same year also sees the start of our tree planting and environmental program. FFLV registers with the Indian Government as a Non Government Organization (NGO).
2001 Seeing the number of poor children begging in the street, we start an evening class. The children are taught to read and write. We move from an open mandap in a temple to a small rented room. Soon we have eighty children crammed into that small room. The children are so eager to learn, that we realize we need a proper school.
2002 Jarikhanda Das from Spain donates his small property. We name it Sandipani Muni School. (Sandipani Muni was the childhood teacher of Lord Krishna.) Within a short time we have 120 children attending the school and many more knocking at the door. We need a bigger building.
2003 In January by the sincere desire of Ramesh Shah and the patrons of Bhaktivedanta Manor, UK, we purchase land and begin construction in April. On 10 October 2003, the first day of Kartik, the new Sandipani Muni School is inaugurated, with 200 children attending. The Mathura Administration presents Sandipani Muni School with the prestigious “Model School Award”, selecting SMS above 1,250 other schools.
2004 In October we lay the foundation stone for the Sandipani Muni Secondary School. The funding for the land comes from Ramesh Shah, the Bhaktivedanta Manor patrons and other friends. On December 10th FFLV was presented the “Human Rights Promotion Award”.
2005 – Fifteen Years of Services to Sri Vrindavana Dhama!
2006 During a week long celebration the Grand Opening of Sandipani Muni Secondary School takes place on October 7th. Two new projects start on May 10th during World Environment Day, Vishwas and Trees for Life. The Vishwas program helps to beautify Vrindavan by daily cleaning the roads, alleys, and drains. The goal of Trees for Life is very similar, beautify Vrindavan. The program plants trees and also educates children about their importance. On December 10th FFLV is presented the “Human Rights Protection Award.”
2007 In just the past 4 years the number of children that are enrolled at the Sandipani Muni Schools has more than quadrupled to 838 childred.