Issue 30 – March 2014       Go to TOS website


  • The TOS into the future: planning for the next five years
  • Gender issues in Bhubaneswar, India
  • The TOS in Tanzania adopts an orphanage
  • Insights through service
  • A joyful party for children from slums in Kenya
  • Golden Link College sponsors external scholars
  • What’s new on the International TOS website?
  • From the archives: Annie Besant’s pledge to protect animals
  • Not tested on animals!! Where to find cruelty free products
  • India bans animal testing for household products and cosmetics
  • A poem by Annie Besant
  • An energetic year of service in Chennai, India
  • A comment on contemporary society



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

Welcome to the first edition of our electronic newsletter for 2014. We must admit that we were surprised when we noticed that this was the 30th issue since we began the newsletter in 2008 as one of the first initiatives to come out of our International Conference in 2007. How time flies!

2014 sees us beginning work on some of the ideas for the future of the TOS generated at our International Conference in 2013. You’ll find an overview of suggestions from delegates as the first item in this newsletter and we invite you to read it and be inspired. We hear of groups that are already using this document as the basis for planning their commitments to action to advance the work of the TOS during the next five years in their countries and local groups.

The response to the Philippines Emergency Appeal from groups and individual members around the world has been overwhelming. Thank you, everyone. Rosel Doval Santos, Vic Hao Chin and their TOS and TS team in the Philippines have done magnificent work in getting help swiftly and lovingly to affected communities. They’ve also made the time to regularly provide updates and you’ll find these on our website in the News section.

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 in putting theosophical principles into action,

Carolyn, Diana and Geoffrey



 The editorial team (L to R)

Geoffrey Harrod is the International TOS Webmaster.

Carolyn Harrod is the past National Coordinator of the TOS in Australia.

Diana Dunningham Chapotin is the International Secretary of the TOS.



To know what is right and not do it is the worst cowardice.

Confucius (K'ung Fu-tzu), Chinese sage (551-479 B.C.)



The TOS into the future: planning for the next five years

One of the main items of work during the International Conference in 2013 was the joint development of a Plan of Action for the TOS for the next five years – 2014-2018. After reviewing the implementation of the existing 2008-2013 Plan of Action, participants worked in small groups to share ideas and plan actions for the next five years.

The draft Plan of Action is organised in eight areas and provides suggestions for international TOS actions and suggestions for national or local TOS actions. It will be refined through a collaborative process during which all National TOS leaders will be invited to provide feedback and suggestions. TOS members are also invited to join this collaborative activity, so if you have further ideas when you read the draft, please send them to:

Our Plan of Action will only be a useful, living document, however, if we use it to guide our planning and decision-making at all levels of the TOS. You are encouraged to become familiar with it, to discuss it with fellow members and to refer to it when planning your local TOS activities.   
Read the draft Plan of Action….(PDF)

Gender issues in Bhubaneswar, India

The TOS in the region of Mahabharat in the state of Odisha in India is attracting international attention for its work in combatting violence against women.  Attention, all of our TOS groups who have sent support!  The group’s president, Dr Deepa Padhi, has sent us a most interesting report on the work accomplished for the period September to December 2013.  Deepa returned home from the international TOS Conference held in the USA in July 2013 with the wind in her sails… 
Read more….

The TOS in Tanzania adopts an orphanage

The TOS in Tanzania is developing ties of friendship with the children at the Kind Heart Africa orphanage in Dar es Salaam. It visited them in August, November and December of 2013 bringing gifts including teddy bears knitted by members of the TOS in France and Italy. The main purpose of the Kind Heart Africa association is to take care of orphans and vulnerable children and empower them to become useful members of society by providing education, health care and vocational training.  
Read more….



Insights through service

Maria Rosa Martínez joined the TS at the age of 15 and has been active in the Annie Besant Lodge in San Rafael, Argentina ever since.  She participates in any task required.  For example, in 1973 she helped to start a theosophically-oriented local radio broadcast, The Art of Learning, which continues to this day (twice a week for over 40 years!).  Since 2009, she has been part of the volunteer team translating The Theosophist magazine into Spanish. (Spanish readers can find the issues here: Maria Rosa is currently the Secretary of the Inter-American Theosophical Federation.  She helps realise the three objects of the TS through a variety of activities and tries to make them a living force in her own life.  Above all, she loves to make it possible for others to contact theosophical teachings.

When land was bought in 1980 to create a Theosophical Centre, Maria Rosa and her husband Ernesto joined the project with enthusiasm and had the joy of seeing it take beautiful form over the years.  In this short article, she talks about a truth she has learned through her work at the Centre.  Read more….


A joyful party for children from slums in Kenya

“Dear All, When I opened the curtains yesterday morning, my heart dropped into my shoes! It was raining and the sky was full of dark, heavy clouds threatening to let lots more pour down.  The day of our big outdoor party and rain! Too late to think about it will go on as planned…”

Here is how Usha Shah starts out her report on the spectacular party organised by the TOS and a sister organisation, Karuna, for dozens of shanty town children in Nairobi last November. 
Read more….





Golden Link College sponsors external scholars

Regular readers of our newsletter are well and truly familiar with the Golden Link College, the theosophical school established in 2002 in suburban Manila by the Theosophical Society and the Theosophical Order of Service. During the year-end gift-giving and carolling activity of the college’s students in the surrounding areas, it was found that some extremely poor single mothers have as many as 9 children, none of whom is going to school. Without education, they are destined to perpetuate the cycle of poverty. Two years ago, an external scholarship programme was started in order to permit some of the children to study in different public schools.  Read more….


 Galina Burhach, Coordinator
of the TOS in Ukraine.

What’s new on the International TOS website?

In our Latest News we welcome the newest addition to our TOS family – the TOS in Ukraine – and its Coordinator, Galina Burhach. The group is already active in service work, collecting warm clothing and footwear for needy citizens.

All of our newsletters, including our unnumbered special one of last December celebrating the outstanding humanitarian service of Mrs Radha Burnier, can be found here.

The new Featured Article is an interview with Barbara Bradley Hebert of Covington, Louisiana. Barbara is a member of the National Board of the Theosophical Society in America and a college counsellor.

In this interview, Barbara talks about how theosophical principles and the theosophical worldview influence her work and her relationship with clients.

Our Featured Project highlights the success of the Olcott Memorial High School in providing a solid Years 1 to 10 education for underprivileged boys and girls in Adyar, India. It shares the exciting news of the recent decision to turn the school into a ‘Higher Secondary School’ by adding classes at eleventh and twelfth year levels. At completion of their schooling, students will be able to apply either to a university or for entry to a vocational training programme.  It is hoped that some of them will join the Vocational Training Centre recently set up on TS land.

The school relies on donations for 70% of its funding and the TOS International Secretary, Diana Dunningham Chapotin, is appealing to TOS groups and individual TOS members to consider donating to the Olcott School. For details on how to donate from outside India, write to Diana at

You’ll also find additions to the TOS photo gallery and the expanded Inspiration section. Go to


From the archives: Annie Besant’s pledge to protect animals

In February 1910, Dr Annie Besant signed a pledge with the TS Order of Service League for the Protection of Animals. She pledged to “remonstrate against, and, if in my power, to stop any cruelty which may come under my observation today.”
 View the Pledge here…. (PDF)





Not tested on animals!! Where to find cruelty-free products

As well as using animals in the development of drugs, millions of animals are used to test skin care products, cosmetics and general cleaning products. Often we simply purchase products from habit, but should we challenge ourselves with the question: When alternative methods of testing are available, is it ethical to poison, burn, maim and kill animals in laboratories causing them unimaginable pain, fear and loneliness?

Not only are animal tests cruel, they are completely unnecessary. The majority of ingredients commonly used in household cleaners or cosmetics have been safety tested years ago. And the differences in animal physiology mean that even brand new ingredients can't be accurately tested for human safety on anything other than humans.

My favourite brand of shampoos and body washes proudly announces that they are TESTED ONLY ON PARTY ANIMALS, that is, humans. Finding products that are not tested on animals can take some searching because the major multi-national companies that produce our everyday personal and household cleaning products, such as Procter & Gamble, Unilever and Colgate/Palmolive, continue to test ingredients or products on animals.

Even if animal testing does not take place in your country, you may unwittingly be buying imported products at the supermarket that have been needlessly tested on animals. However, there are numbers of small companies in most countries that produce ethical products. It’s just a matter of finding them!

If you are like me and looking for cruelty-free products, then,  Read more

Guinea Pig Eating Flower

India bans animal testing for household products and cosmetics

In a recent ‘good news’ report, PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) celebrated the successful outcome of their campaign in India to ban animal tests. The decision to ban animal testing of household products comes from the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) following efforts by PETA India’s science policy adviser, Dr Chaitanya Koduri. The committee decided to replace a skin sensitisation test – which is currently performed by rubbing harsh chemicals into guinea pigs’ shaved skin – with non-animal testing methods, followed by human skin patch tests. This move will end all animal-poisoning tests for cleaners, detergents and other common household products in India. 
Read more….

A poem by Annie Besant

Did you know that, as well as writing passionate prose urging TS members to work together for social justice and the welfare of all life on this planet, Dr Annie Besant also wrote poetry? Here we share one of her poems which challenges us to take action.  
Read more….


An energetic year of service in Chennai, India

The TOS, Chennai Region is made up of two groups, the TOS, Chennai Group and the TOS, Besant Group. Together they provide a wide range of medical and social welfare services to the underprivileged members of their community. In the following report, the Joint-Secretary and Head of Projects in the TOS, Chennai Group, Mr C.V.K. Maithreya, shares the highlights of the Region’s recent activities.  
Read more….


A comment on contemporary society

This cartoon challenges us to consider our attitudes to other’s misfortunes. Are we becoming a society of spectators?  
View a larger image here…. (PDF)