Issue18 - October 2011        to TOS website


  • TOS Emergency aid for starving families in East Africa

  • An update from the TOS in Hungary

  • TOS news from around the world

  • What’s new on the International TOS website?

  • Tree planting in Kenya

  • TOS members visit the Social Welfare Centre at Adyar

  • Simple acts of kindness

  • A parable for reflection

Dear fellow-members of the TS and TOS around the world,

We hope you are enjoying keeping in touch with what is happening in the TOS internationally. Our international electronic newsletter aims to bring you information to inspire your service work within or outside the TOS and to help you get to know TOS members outside your own country.

Remember that the newsletter is designed to be read while you are connected to the internet.

Please also consider sending photographs of your TOS activities and news items that might be of interest to fellow TOS members. We would welcome your contributions by email to the editors at

With best wishes,

Carolyn, Diana and Geoffrey

Correction to the last issue, no 17 -
In our last issue, we stated that John Kern is the founder and director of the Kern Foundation that currently offers a matching grant to the TOS in America in support of the Golden Link College. In fact John’s father, Henry, was the founder and John is not the director but an advisor to the Foundation – a highly experienced, skilled and consummately diplomatic advisor, may we add!


(L. to R.)
Carolyn Harrod is the National Coordinator of the TOS in Australia,
Geoffrey Harrod is the International TOS Webmaster, and
Diana Dunningham Chapotin is the International Secretary of the TOS


Service which is rendered without joy helps neither the servant nor the served. But all other pleasures and possessions pale into nothingness before service which is rendered in a spirit of joy.   
  – Mohandas Gandhi

TOS emergency aid for starving families in East Africa

In the face of the current acute food shortage in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya, the TOS in Nairobi has undertaken a project on behalf of us all. The town of Kitui, 130 km east of Nairobi, was selected and a church identified as local partner. At the end of August, fifty families were given enough staple foods to keep them alive for a month as part of a programme that will last six months.  (No, wait! In fact 55 families were fed, because it was impossible to turn away the extra ones that turned up.)

The food was personally delivered and distributed, principally to the mothers, by Mrs Usha Shah, TOS convenor in Kenya. Accompanied by a local area facilitator, Mr Paulo, she travelled to Kitui via Machakos where a pick-up van loaded with maize flour, oil and salt was waiting.  They then left for Kitui, about two hours away. 
Usha sent a moving account of the food distribution.  Read more…


An update from the TOS in Hungary

The TOS group formed last year in Hungary has just acquired official registration as a non-profit service organisation working under the name of MA-TESZ.  (This is an abbreviation of three words: MA = MAgyar, meaning Hungarian; TE = TEozófiai, meaning Theosophical; and SZ = SZolgálat, meaning Service.)  The group continues with their work in the flood-affected village of Borsodnádasd. The group’s long term goal is to help the villagers build their own active self-help community and develop their own service work. To this end, the group camped in the town for three days in August to get to know the villagers better and deepen already established bonds.

An interesting facet of MA-TESZ’s work is the self-training its members engage in to develop the skills needed for service work. For every four or five newcomers, a special orientation programme is planned in which the whole group participates.   Read more…

TOS news from around the world

In this issue you’ll find news from the TOS in the states of Gujarat and Maharashtra, India which held a most enjoyable conference in a beautiful Jain shrine serving more than 500 pilgrims every day. There is also news about the Assam and Arunachal TOS Region’s energetic Annual Meeting that combined inspiring social welfare work with interesting talks and discussion. The TOS in Brisbane, Australia shares news about their recent cinema event that they ran to raise funds for international TOS projects and the TOS in Kenya talks about a project they have recently begun to give skills to needy women, enabling them to add to the family income by making dairy products and dung cakes for cooking fuel.   Read more…



East Africa

What’s new on the International TOS website?

Our Latest News this month comes from Andréa Dias de Mendonça Resende who recently replaced Regina Celi Medina Alves Silva as coordinator of the TOS in Brazil. She told us about two original and constructive initiatives in which the TOS and TS collaborated early this year. The first event was a ‘caravan’! A small group of theosophists travelled by car through ten cities to the city hosting this year’s TS Summer School. On their way, they introduced the Theosophical Society to the public, giving talks on theosophy, selling books and magazines, and mentioning the TOS’s work as well. The second important initiative this year took place at the Summer School itself in the city of Bonito in the State of Mato Grosso do Sul. The TOS in Brazil organised a bazaar, with objects and services donated by those attending the School.

The new Featured Article is by Vic Hao Chin, Jr, the President of the Golden Link College. The news that the Golden Link School in the Philippines was extending its programme to tertiary level in August 2009 triggered interest amongst members of the TOS around the world.  Mr Vijay Mital of Vasant Vihar, New Delhi, wrote expressing enthusiasm and asking about the theosophical content of the curriculum at all levels. Vic, in consultation with Ms Rekha Nahar, administrator of the kindergarten, primary and secondary divisions, replied with an explanation of how the College provides a theosophical education. In their view it has two facets that are a focus for students and teachers alike:

  • the development of the individual in terms of character and an awakening of the higher faculties and qualities such as self-awareness, compassion and meditative silence

  • the development of a philosophy of life founded on the ageless wisdom or theosophy, based on understanding the basic principles of popular theosophy and the core essence of the great spiritual or religious traditions and exploring the application of such philosophy to daily life, profession, society and human problems.

Our Featured Project is the newly established project of the TOS in Kenya, mentioned above, to provide emergency aid for starving families in East Africa. Our thanks go to all those TOS groups around the world who have stepped in with donations so that 55 families could immediately be supplied with food.

We commemorate Annie Besant’s birthday this month with a short article and some unusual photos of her from our archives.  You can find them in our For Members section under the title Inspirational People. You’ll also find additions to the TOS photo gallery and the Inspiration section.
Go to

Tree planting in Kenya

The TOS and TS in Kenya have launched a project to educate children on the importance of looking after the natural environment. The project started in early May with a visit to the High Ridge Primary School in Parklands, Nairobi. Usha Shah, the newly appointed director of the TOS, addressed the assembly of children, along with special guest, former TS International Vice-President, Mary Anderson. Usha, Mary and others talked about the essential role trees play in the life of the planet and the responsibility of every human being to plant trees and take care of them.
A tree planting ceremony then took place with pupils from all fourteen classes.  Mary, TS officers and committee members planted 26 trees.  Each class has its own special tree and is responsible for taking care of it. The circle in which the trees were planted has been named The Theosophical Garden.  
Read more….


TOS members visit the Social Welfare Centre at Adyar

We continue the photographic tour George and Gailene Wester of Perth, Australia have prepared for us of the humanitarian service projects run at the international headquarters of the TS at Adyar, Chennai, India.  In this issue, we visit the Social Welfare Centre where vocational training is given to young women of modest means and day care activities are offered to underprivileged children of kindergarten age.

All who attend the international convention of the TS in late December each year are invited to an Open Day at the Social Welfare Centre where they can meet the staff and students and discover the year’s achievements.  The vocational training ladies and the children put on delightful dance and drama performances and their beautiful work is displayed.   Read more…

Simple acts of kindness

In recent issues of this newsletter, we have celebrated some simple acts of kindness that no one gets to hear about.  Now we feature a Theosophist whose service to the TS has gone largely unseen because it has always been performed in the background.

Bernice Croft acted for ten years as Secretary to our International TS President, Radha Burnier, before retiring last February and returning to her native New Zealand. While many of us around the world wish Bernice a happy retirement, we know in fact, that she is as busy as ever, and has really only changed her service address from India to New Zealand.

Dorothy Bell, a member of the Australian Mornington Peninsula TS Group and a national member of the TS in America – and one of the many visitors to Adyar whom Bernice befriended – shares her fond memories of Bernice here with anecdotes of Bernice’s many simple acts of kindness while she was the President’s secretary.   Read more…

A parable for reflection

Once again we have a story with a deep message for life.  Read more…


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