Sunday 19 August 2018

Embracing the human condition

Spiritual leader Mother Amma aims to prevent suicide among farmers, writes Andrea Smith

What could agricultural authority Teagasc possibly have in common with the Indian "hugging saint" and spiritual leader, Mother Amma? The answer lies in their shared concern with suicide in rural communities, and among farmers in particular. ,

Worried by the rise in suicide rates in rural Ireland, Teagasc has initiated a study in collaboration with UCD which will take about 12 months to complete. Meanwhile, more than 7,500km away in India, Mata Amritanandamayi, better known as Amma, has just launched a US$44m programme to address the suicide epidemic among Indian farmers, arising from the strain of debt and crop failure.

"Amma was very concerned because there was one suicide every eight hours among farmers in Maharashtra, the third largest state, in 2006," said Brahmachari Shubamrita Chaitanya, one of Amma's closest disciples, during his recent visit to Ireland.

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