of the many commendable programs of the Art of Living Foundation is
the 5H Program, which focuses onHome, Health, Hygiene, Harmony
in Diversity and Human Values. It aims at bringing about a social transformation
so that the complete potential of each individual is expressed. By focusing
on the five main areas of health, homes, hygiene, human values, and
harmony in diversity, the 5H program has managed to adopt a holistic
approach to social upliftment.
The Art of Living Foundation works in association with Ved Vignan Mahavidyapeeth
(VVM) and Vyakti Vikas Kendra (VVK) in implementing the 5H Program.
The aim of the 5H program is to uplift individuals, families, communities
and nations so that the finest human qualities are nurtured and the
full potential of human life can be expressed throughout society. Ultimately,
the long-term goal is far-reaching social transformation, where poverty,
misery and disease are eradicated, and where peace and harmony prevail
throughout the world. This lofty and noble vision of a golden age in
the new millennium can definitely be realized through cooperative and
The current priority of the 5H Program is social and community development
in rural areas of developing countries. Numerous projects are presently
underway in India, with plans to expand to Africa, South America, and
Central America in the near future.
Social transformation begins with a happy and healthy individual who
has attained a decent standard of living and has received essential
education in health, hygiene, and life skills.
substandard housing and sanitation alone cannot result in the long-term
eradication of misery nor bring about a fundamental social transformation.
Education is essential, particularly education in human values. Once
the material conditions of living have reached an adequate level, there
is a possibility for true humanness to be expressed in life. A sense
of belonging, sharing, nonviolence, caring for life, and caring for
the planet are among the values that need to be nurtured.
5H program works towards the development of human values, essential
to create loving and happy families, cohesive communities, and harmonious
relations among all people and nationsa prerequisite for peace,
harmony and well being on the planet.
suffering has many faces. In some parts of the world, people live in
squalor and abject poverty, without proper sanitation or housing. Unhygienic
conditions and lack of proper education about health and hygiene give
rise to disease and poor health.
In other parts of the world, people may have achieved a decent standard
of living, but we find dissension, disharmony, stress, violence, crime and other
In some parts of the world, war has decimated the social
fabric and brought great suffering. There is a pressing need for healing at all
In each of these situations, the 5H Program, assists in eradicating
misery and in transforming society.
Good health is a first step towards a happy, fulfilling
life. Yet vast segments of the world's population have neither access to proper
nutrition nor medical and dental care, nor have they received even the most rudimentary
education in achieving and maintaining good health.
The 5H program has
already initiated projects in various areas of India, organizing health care camps,
which provide medical and dental care to the rural population. As well, medical
assistance has been provided to children suffering from polio in a number of regions
in Gujarat, India.
Our medium-term program objectives are to expand
the areas of service, including expansion to other developing countries in Asia
and Africa; setting up medical centers in various rural villages; providing ambulances
for remote areas; and initiating alcohol/tobacco/drug de-addiction and rehabilitation
programs. As well, volunteers will provide basic health care education.
Achieving and maintaining good health is difficult where there are inadequate
sanitation practices, a lack of clean drinking water, and insufficient
means for garbage disposal. Yet many of the world's poor live in such
The 5H Program is currently addressing this situation in rural villages
in India through the simple yet effective means of building toilets,
providing bore wells for clean drinking water, constructing water storage
tanks, and providing garbage bins where needed. Volunteers create awareness
about hygiene among the rural population. This program is being expanded
into other regions of India as well as to other developing countries
in Asia and Africa.
Many of the world's poor are homeless, living on the streets or in substandard
housing. This serious problem is being addressed by the 5H Program through
its "Homes For Change" initiative, which builds modest but
durable homes for poor families, at no cost to the recipients. Each
home is comprised of three rooms, a kitchen, a bedroom, and a family
room, with a separate toilet provided. All homes are built of durable
brick and cement.
Through "Homes for Change," houses are presently being built
for poor families in rural south India. This program is being expanded
to other countries. It costs approximately US $2,000 to build one of
these homes in India. Donors can contribute the cost of an entire house
for a designated family, or they can contribute the cost of particular
items, such as a toilet, materials, or labor.
All 5H projects are planned in consultation with the local population
to ensure that the greatest needs are met for both individuals and the
There is a growing awareness that the long-term eradication of poverty
and human misery requires a fundamental shift in consciousness. Many
projects aimed at improving the material conditions of life for the
poor have had disappointing long-term results, and have been ineffective
in eradicating the roots of poverty. The 5H Program provides a holistic
ongoing framework of education and support that has the potential to
lift people permanently out of the trap of poverty and misery.
Human values are the hallmark of human evolution and the basis of a
peaceful and prosperous world. These values can flourish once basic
material needs of a community have been met. Violence, hatred, crime
and other pervasive social ills are the direct result of a lack of attention
to human values. The foundation for developing human values is a sense
of belonging and oneness, which arises spontaneously through the participation
of the whole community in the upliftment of each of its members in the
context of 5H projects. Also, life-skills educational programs that
emphasize values, as well as multiethnic festivals organized by volunteers,
all contribute to the development of a sense of belonging and an ethic
of service, bringing cohesion to families and communities.
Harmony in Diversity
Harmony in Diversity is the overall objective of the 5H Program. A number
of projects are presently underway in war-torn regions of Eastern Europe
that focus specifically on this objective. In the aftermath of armed
conflict, there is a need to work with survivors to promote healing
and restore harmony.
The 5H Program has developed a volunteer program, in collaboration with
its partners, to respond to this pressing need in Croatia, Bosnia and
Kosovo. The program provides an opportunity for volunteers to commit
one year to helping victims of war rebuild their lives and begin emotional
healing. Volunteers receive intensive training in teaching a carefully
designed program that promotes harmony and healing. The volunteers also
coordinate service projects to rebuild homes and provide clothing.
Ending violence in society is one of the greatest challenges in today's
world. All forms of violenceincluding youth violence, domestic
violence, human rights violations, criminal behavior, and warspring
from the same seed of hatred. How can hatred be eliminated? The present
crisis is basically one of identification: How do people see their basic
identity? What is their fundamental concept of who they are? Limited
and fragmented identification leads to hatred, violence and war. People
usually identify themselves with their profession, religion, race, culture,
nationality, language, region or sex. Many are prepared to go to any
lengths to protect this identity, even giving up their life in the process.
We need to bring about an understanding in all people that they are,
firstly, part of the universal spirit, and, secondly, human beings.
All religions have three aspects: values, symbols, and customs. While
values are the same in all the religions, symbols and customs differ.
Today, we have forgotten the values, but are holding on to the symbols
and customs. Right education is that which creates a reverence for diversity
in nature and a sense of belonging with the whole world. A person learns
to own all the religions of the world, and can choose to practice one
without decrying the others.
The 5H Program, in collaboration with its partners, provides educational
programs for all sectors of society aimed at bringing about this fundamental
understanding, which is the basis of Harmony in Diversity and ultimately
"I was a totally pessimistic person who saw only negativity in
everything around me. Depressed in life, I was suffering both physically
and mentally. Unenthusiastically I dragged myself for anything as the
days and years passed. The YTP is the best thing that happened in my
life. I think this is the most unique program in the world. It has revolutionized
my outlook of life from failure, sorrow and stress to enthusiasm and
dynamism. I feel incredibly strong."
Rehman, Student, Jamshedpur, India.
"Before YTP I was like a kite,
whose thread has been snapped, wandering aimlessly in the sky, wanting to rise
and soar on the horizon. I was like a machine, who lived because I was alive.
I lacked confidence and liked to stay aloof. YTP has transformed my life completely.
Now my life has commitment, responsibility, love and patriotism. I feel strong
and am ready to serve the people."
Ms. Ahinsa, Student, Surat,
"After my YTP Course, I realized that I had restricted my life
to only one area. Now I can reach farther to every corner of my countryIndia.
YTP has strengthened my drive for service. I can now face any challenge
Mr. Hanumantesh, Yoga Teacher, Shimoga, India.