The Oneness - Heart Tears and Smiles programme was established in 1990 to provide humanitarian aid to many countries around the world. In 1990, Mikhail Gorbachev made one of the first requests to Sri Chinmoy, asking for aid to help develop the Research Institute of Pediatric Hematology in Moscow. The hospital specialises in helping Russian children suffering from leukaemia.
Since 1991 the programme has expanded to send humanitarian aid to a variety of countries in the 5 main continents of Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas. Quite often the aid is sent following requests to meet with specific problems.
On a global scale the programme is small - however, the programme is a practical opportunity to build bridges between communities and different nations. Sri Chinmoy, the founder of Oneness - Heart - Tears and Smiles says of the programme:
"Our humanitarian service is not our self-motivated, condescending act of charity to the poor and needy. It is a gigantic opportunity to feed, nourish and strengthen our own poor brothers and sisters so that they can, side by side, march along with us to proclaim the world-oneness-victory of God the Creation."
Kids to Kids
One of the most popular initiatives is the "Kids to Kids" program. This is program where school children collect personal and educational supplies for their counterparts in economically disadvantaged countries. This involves sending practical aid such as school supplies but also toys, artwork and other creative endeavours of children. This helps reinforce the idea that humanitarian service is more than just the giving of material aid, but also creating a sense of oneness and friendship between different people
See also: Drawings of Love
The Oneness Heart Tears and Smiles organisation is run entirely by volunteers with representatives from around the world.