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Men live in a changing world and must accept it as the norm. For some, these changes will seem threatening and unwelcome while for others, especially the young, they will be welcomed with open arms. Be assured that they are for the best, whatever your stance, for they reflect the needs of the time, and are inevitable and just.
Men should realize that they themselves are creating the conditions whereby these changes impact their lives. When this realism bears fruit, a smoother transition into the new time will become the norm.
Our advice to men is this: hold not to blaming unseen forces but realize your own part in creating the transformations of our time. Be assured that out of these transformations will come an ecstatic joy.
[This article from Share International magazine, April 2015 , is by a senior member of the Hierarchy of Masters of Wisdom. His name, well-known in esoteric circles, is not yet being revealed. Benjamin Creme, a principal spokesman about the emergence of Maitreya, is in constant telepathic contact with this Master who dictated his article to him.]
Q. How many appearances has Maitreya given in China?
A. Maitreya has given four interviews since He went back to China, totalling 15 in China, and 150 altogether.
Q. How are Chinese viewers responding so far?
A. There is a mixed reaction. It depends on their standard of living and their hopes.
Q. Does Maitreya also continue to work in the Middle East?
Q. Is He working in more than one country?
A. Yes. He is working in several countries in the Middle East.
Q. Has Maitreya returned to Russia recently, given the unstable situation there?
Q. Are Maitreya’s television appearances as a single guest interviewee or does He also take part in panel discussions?
Q. (1) Do you or your Master condone Germany’s (and other EU countries’) treatment of Greece? (2) Should debt relief be extended to Greece?
A. (1) No. (2) Yes, certainly.
Q. I am new to your information. I’d like to ask why Maitreya chose London as His Centre?
A. Please see Maitreya’s Mission Volume One for the same question and answer from July 1982. (See next question.) To extend that answer:
Originally there was a choice between London and New York. The disciples in London at that time, particularly in the political field, were seen to be more mature than those in New York. They had a more mature grasp of world affairs.
Q. Why did Maitreya choose to emerge in London? (SI July 1982)
A. Many people have asked me “Why London?”, with a certain degree of envy; I mean what is wrong with New York for instance? Yes, quite so; as I said in Los Angeles, if I had been Maitreya I would have picked Laguna Beach or the Côte d’Azur. It is a question of the work of the disciples in preparing the way for Him. He would come into that arena in which the disciples, along the line of His work, mainly in the economic/political field, have been most successful. The disciples working in the United Kingdom have been rather more successful in their work than in other parts of the world. That is His major reason for coming to London. Of course the more obvious reason is that, coming from the Himalaya as He does, and descending as He did into Pakistan, He can come as a visitor into this country for a few years and lose Himself in the Pakistani/Indian community which He has been able to do rather well.
Q. (1) Does the World Teacher have a relationship with the Spirit of Truth referred to in St John’s Gospel in the Bible (Ch16 v.13)? (2) How will that relationship shape the message of the World Teacher? (3) Does the World Teacher plan on moving forward in presenting ministries in the near future?
A. (1) Yes. (2) It is the same message of Love. (3) They already exist.
Q. At what point of evolution is glamour at its worst?
A. Between the first and second initiation; to be precise, when the point of evolution is 1.3.
Q. (1) Do you think that modern psychology has made a contribution to the evolution of consciousness? (2) Are there any useful changes that could take place in psychology and psychotherapy?
A. (1) Yes. (2) Yes. Firstly, psychologists have to realize and accept the existence of the soul. Psychology will be locked into outworn glamours without that change. It is interesting to note that one of the statements made by Cézanne about painting was: “Do people not realize that objects have souls?”
On 13 November 2014 around 5.30pm, I positioned myself outside the Lescot underground station in the Chatelet area, in Paris, to distribute flyers announcing the return of Maitreya. There were lots of people around and everything was going fine. A handsome thirtyish man with dark glasses, a hat and dreadlocks comes to me, a flyer in his hand, and strikes up a conversation. He says that what had caught his attention while reading the flyer was the word ‘Maitreya’. He goes on to tell me that, having been given a spiritual education by his parents, he knew Maitreya, knew that he was the Buddha who was now to return among men. That Buddha Shakyamuni had announced this return and that the words of Buddha Shakyamuni were true. I was surprised by his words. Looking at the passers-by, he adds: “People here don’t know about it, nobody knows that Maitreya is returning, they must be told.” Then going on, he says: “The dark forces are still launching attacks, you see, in some countries war is raging, and here, people can’t live without their mobile anymore.” The conversation goes on, and when I broach the subject of the reasons behind the return of Maitreya and of his priorities, he says: “Yes, I know.” Then, with a look at the flyer, he says: “You have a radio station, too?” I explain: “Yes. We give lectures based upon the teachings announcing the return of Maitreya.” “I am sure my parents must have all that too,” he says. As he was about to go, he says: “Keep doing what you are doing!” Whereupon, he goes down the stairs and disappears into the metro station.
Was my conversation with one of the Masters?
I.G., Gometz le Chatel, France.
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that the man was a spokesperson for the Master Jesus.)
In the evening, after dark, on 23 February 2015, I had an unusual encounter. I very often walk in my neighborhood where I have lived for over 30 years. It’s a suburban area, very safe to walk in, even after dark, but usually after dark I never happen across anyone else walking. That evening, it was very cold out, so the chances were even slimmer of seeing another walker.
I was on a pretty poorly lit street, walking on the sidewalk when I could see a figure approaching me. As the person came closer, I stayed to the right of the sidewalk so he could go on his right side and we could both pass on the sidewalk. But as we got closer, he seemed to be making it unclear which side he was choosing to walk on. When we came very close, he stepped directly in front of me so that I had to have a close face-to-face encounter with him. It was dark and I could not see his face until we were only a foot apart. He was a black man, maybe around forty. He looked right into my eyes and extended his hand. I took off my mitten (it was very cold) and shook his hand. He asked how I was and I returned the greeting. My conditioning expected that he would possibly ask for money, but he did not. He had a serious look on his face and I’m sure I did too. After we shook hands I said, “have a good night” and he said something similar. Then we both continued. By the time I thought about it a minute and turned to look back, it was too dark to see him.
For the rest of my walk I thought about the encounter. The feeling I had when we were together was that he was an old, trusted friend, or a brother. Was this just a friendly passerby or someone special? Recently I have really been studying the book, Maitreya’s Teachings, The Laws of Life.
K.G., Overland Park, Kansas, USA.
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that the man was a spokesperson for the Master Jesus.)
I was waiting for a bus at an intersection where there were four lanes of traffic in each direction. The bus runs only once an hour, but for some reason, didn’t come at the scheduled time. I was four miles from the train station and the sidewalks had not been cleared of several feet of snow, so walking would have been dangerous sharing the road with all the traffic. I was pressed to make the train and thought about hitchhiking, something I have not done before.
I walked to a nearby side road and saw a young man pull up to turn, but he didn’t see me waving for him to stop. I was a little embarrassed by the situation and thought, how in the world am I going to get someone to stop for me? Just as that thought formed in my mind, a car was suddenly in front of me, and stopped with the window rolling down. Behind the wheel of the old model luxury black sedan was an older man with a big smile on his face. I got the impression before I approached the window that he knew what I was going to ask. I said: “You wouldn’t happen to be going by the train station would you?” He smiled and nodded a bit wildly while he unlocked the door. One part of me hesitated, but the other part felt as if he was really there for me. When I got in the car, the first thing I noticed was how the seats were like sitting on a marshmallow – so comfortable! The man said: ‘Nice to see you again,’ while he was smiling. I answered: “Do I know you?” but I said that reflexively and later almost forgot he had said it to me at all.
His presence was pleasant, jovial and not at all threatening, but I am conditioned to be cautious, even in the face of kindness, so I was a little guarded. After thanking him profusely for the kindness of helping me, I chatted a little nervously as he drove me to the station. The inside of the car was a mess, with open bags of potato chips and other snacks, all kinds of things covering the entire back seat. I noticed a distinct lack of smell in the car. No odor of food or chips or car smells, nothing at all. That struck me as a little odd. I glanced over my shoulder and saw a white 10-gallon cowboy hat behind the driver’s seat. It was very big. He said: “Did you notice my cowboy hat on the backseat?” I said yes, and then asked him where he was going on such a sunny afternoon. He said he was going to meet his friends, you know the “alter kakers”. He asked me if I knew any Yiddish. I said I knew a little, and thought of my step-dad who plays bridge with his ‘alter kakers’. So I asked if he played bridge, he replied: “Poker.”As he said that, he took one of many red and white poker chips lined up in the ashtray on the dashboard and pressed it in my hand. I looked at it trying to process all the odd details of this ride, then gave it back to him. I also noticed that the driver’s seat visor had many pins and odd things stuck to it. There was a lot of distracting ‘stuff’ all around me. Finally, we arrived at the station and I asked if there was any way I could thank him for his kindness. He smiled with a little sparkle in his eye and pointed to his cheek for a kiss, which I promptly delivered before getting out of the car.
The whole ‘scene’ was so odd, and at the same time so gentle and kind. It really did seem as if the car appeared at the exact moment that I needed some help. As I walked to the train I thought about what had happened and I remembered we are reminded in Share International magazine, that when we are in need of help, it is always there for us. I was so grateful, whether it was help from a Master or not.
May I know who this man was?
M.T., New York, USA.
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that the man was a spokesperson for the Master Jesus.)
In March 2014, I was attending to a Reappearance booth in Bethesda, Maryland. In the morning before people started to arrive, all of a sudden, I was strongly overcome with the thought that it would be good to have an office, a place where people could walk in at any time with books and information always at hand for them to browse, take, discuss, as well as attend talks and Transmission Meditation, and perhaps hold classes at some point. A public center dedicated to this work with a small library and various related events.
A few hours later, as people started pouring in and gather around our table, I saw a big, black man pass by without looking or stopping by. He caught my attention because of his size as well as the fact that he had some breathing tube attached to him. Later that day when there were no other visitors at the table, he walked straight up to me without looking at any of the materials or inquiring about them, and asked: “Do you have an office?” I was taken aback not only by his manner and tone, which I found rather aggressive, but his questions. He kept repeating: “Where is your office? Do you have an office?” And I managed to say that we are a group of volunteers who do this work and have no local office as of now.
His questions pointed exactly to the thought that kept running through my mind so intensely that very morning. In fact, earlier that day my strongest and most distinct thoughts were about having a local office and how to work with aggressive people.
The whole encounter as well as the force of his personality and words left me bewildered and disoriented and it felt as if I was punched in the stomach energetically, so I prayed to Maitreya’s ‘hand’ to be able to center myself as I had to give a talk later in the day. Thankfully everything went better than I expected.
Could this man have been a messenger of some kind with a (not so subtle) hint?
S. K., Potomac Falls, VA, USA.
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that the man was a spokesperson for the Master Jesus.)
On 12 October 2014 my mother and I went to the cemetery of Anderlecht. It was a sunny and pleasant autumn day. We returned home by metro from Brussels. In the metro a very nice couple came to sit across from us. The man had a strange tattoo. Suddenly my mother very much wanted to take a photograph of the man’s hands. I was surprised but encouraged her to ask his permission. She did so and he agreed. Still amazed I watched her taking the photo. She was surprisingly happy with the result and showed it to the man. They both smiled very spontaneously. When we left the metro carriage the man stood up too and I clearly saw his very friendly and pleasant face. Once outside I curiously looked at the photo and to my great surprise I saw the word “hope” on his fingers.
Could this man and woman have been Masters?
K.M., Brussels, Belgium.
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that the couple were spokespeople for the Master Jesus.)
On 16 February 2015 Victoria Eukine Avalon from Guadalajara, Mexico, posted three photographs on Facebook that show a luminescent female figure with the following information: “The images you see here were taken at Monterrey, in the parish of the Santo Niño de la Salud, where the Holy Sacrament was on display. Someone who was in the church felt the urge to take a picture of the Holy Sacrament, and see what happened … the Virgin appeared in the form of LIGHT.”
In the first photograph the Madonna appears next to the Sacrament, the second picture shows the Madonna facing a rose-coloured crescent-shaped light to the left, and in the third picture the Madonna can be seen with her hands folded in prayer. (Source: Facebook, Victoria Eukine Avalon)
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that the light figure is a light formation manifested by the Master Who was the Madonna.)
An image captured by the Solar Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) on 1 March 2015 shows a structure or a craft close to the sun.
As early as 2003 NASA explained: “Although some of these supposed pictures of UFOs can seem quite intriguing, they have always turned out to have a quite ordinary cause when examined by experienced SOHO scientists. In recent days, we’ve been receiving so many questions and claims that we’d like to set the record straight: We’ve never seen anything that even suggests that there are UFOs ‘out there’. Most commonly, UFO claims are due to perfectly natural flaws or artifacts in our publicly available data.” This was followed by a listing of “the most common sources of UFO claims”.
But the website that spotted the apparent craft maintains: “Despite NASA’s explanation and their attempt to damage the credibility of the UFO community, the object, as shown on the SOHO LASCO C3 image of 2015/03/01 ... is not enhanced or manipulated, it is not related or connected to a solar event or CME, it is a stand-alone object, even, it has a solid structure which makes me believe that this object is more than just a natural flaw or artifact.”
(Source: ufosightingshotspot.blogspot.nl; soho.nascom.nasa.gov)
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that the object is an enormous spaceship from Mars.)
A NASA spacecraft heading toward the ‘dwarf planet’ Ceres between Mars and Jupiter returned images showing two bright lights on the planet’s surface, which have baffled scientists. The photos were taken on 19 February 2015 from about 25,000 miles away by the Dawn spacecraft on its approach to Ceres. NASA officials said they did not know the cause of the lights. On 6 March 2015, Dawn entered orbit around Ceres, becoming the first Earth mission to visit a dwarf planet. (Source: mashable.com)
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that the lights are Martian space stations.)
NASA’s LASCO C2 cameras have filmed a large object which appears to move in a steady trajectory towards the sun. Unlike previous huge shapes filmed by NASA this object appears not only in one frame (the cameras are timed to take a photograph every 12 minutes) but was filmed five times an hour on 19 February 2015 between 12.48 and 20.48. This particular shot was taken at 20.24 on 19 February. (Source: soho.nascom.nasa.gov)
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that the object was an enormous Deva.)
Compilation - an extractWe present a selection of quotations on the theme of ‘A time of renewal’. The quotations are taken from Maitreya (Messages from Maitreya the Christ and Maitreya’s Teachings – The Laws of Life), Benjamin Creme’s Master (A Master Speaks and Share International), and Benjamin Creme’s writings.
Today, it is the people who are ahead of their leaders, and are voicing aloud their understanding and needs. In country after country, the voice of the people is becoming more focused and distinct. Millions are now educated and sure of their needs: peace, work and hope for their future. A growing sense of unity, too, is beginning to inform their expectations and demands. They know they are not alone in the world but have millions of brothers and sisters everywhere, with the same problems and needs. In this way, even if unaware of His presence and teachings, they are responding to Maitreya’s energy and influence, and building the framework of the future. (Benjamin Creme’s Master, from ‘Change towards Unity’)
My aim is to spread abroad My net to the widest horizon, to draw to Me all those in whom My Light shines, that through them I may work. This cast can include you, My friends, for I need all who share with Me the desire to serve the world. Take upon yourselves the task of succour and share My burden. Share with Me, My friends, in a great work – nothing less than the transformation of this world. (Maitreya, from Message No.70)
The political and economic transformation which will be initiated as a result of Maitreya’s and the Masters’ presence will free humanity from age-old inhibitions and limitations, and galvanize it into a great leap forward in consciousness. Conscious, meaningful living will replace the present confusion, doubt and fear. A confident, courageous willingness to explore both inner and outer worlds will supplant the present weakening cynicism and make possible the evolutionary advance I have sought to describe: the emergence of a new and better civilization and of a new and better humanity. (Benjamin Creme, The Great Approach)
Nations around the world have been filled with this new energy, and more and more people are responding to it, becoming more aware, realizing a new livingness and becoming free. When the energy of equilibrium is brought into play, nothing is immune from the transformations which take place.
All these changes are creating awareness, and people have decided that enough is enough: they have a right to be free and to enjoy life. They no longer want to be conditioned by politics, religion or commercialization. It is the younger generation which is experiencing the effects of this new energy, and this gives them the strength to change the old systems which have imprisoned people. Today, the voice of realism is found among the young, free as they are from ideology, philosophy and theory. They are realistic about life and meet it as it comes. (Maitreya’s Associate, Maitreya’s Mission Volume Two)
When the Great Lord shows His face men will know that the time for change has come: the time to make amends, to heal old wounds, to rectify the past, to light the lamp of the future, to close the door on evil, to cleanse and purify the structures, to welcome bravely the new, to walk unfamiliar paths. They will know that there is no turning back from the future, a future which will reveal to them the meaning of their existence and the nature and purpose of God. (Benjamin Creme’s Master, from ‘The New Life’)
My Coming will transform this world, but the major work of restoration must be done by you. I am the Architect, only, of the Plan. You, My friends and brothers, are the willing builders of the Shining Temple of Truth. (Maitreya, from Message No.65)
Sharing the world’s resources will restore sanity to the world. It will make life happier for most people. Some people in the beginning may feel loss through a simplification of life and loss of ‘choice’ but – under the influence of the Masters, and the spiritual and mental transformation, the loss of tension and stress, which will accrue from sharing – we will create a world in which people will appreciate life even more and find it beautiful. Every day the media will put out information on the progress of sharing and what effect it is having. The entire world will be kept involved. (Benjamin Creme, The Art of Cooperation)
Many times have you heard Me say that My Coming means change. Specifically, the greatest change will be in the hearts and minds of men, for My Return among you is a sign that men are ready to receive new life. That New Life for men do I bring in abundance. On all the planes this Life will flow, reaching the hearts and souls and bodies of men, bringing them nearer to the Source of Life Itself. (Maitreya, from Message No.42)
Clearly, many hands will be needed in the creation of the new society. Many are the tasks to be performed. Many are the adjustments which must be made. All who wish to serve will hear the call to service ringing in their hearts and from the heart will they respond. The united voice of the people of all lands calling for justice and sharing will set up an invocation which nothing can resist. Thus will the world be transformed. Thus, gradually, will the new forms be created, the new relationships forged, a new and happier era dawn for humanity under the guidance of the Christ and the Masters. (Benjamin Creme’s Master, from ‘A new era dawns’)
Much that is loved must go. Cling not to the old forms. Much will depend on man’s ability to renounce these outworn structures and to create a new and simpler world. Remember this. Forget not that I come to change all things. (Maitreya, from Message No.74)
Maitreya’s coming is about world change: change in our understanding of the needs of the planet, the ecological balance; the change in our economic systems so that all people are fed and cared for properly; change in relationships between people everywhere. The true understanding that humanity is one will show the absolute necessity for this profound transformation. It is the making of a new world. (Benjamin Creme, The Awakening of Humanity)
As a simple Man, indeed, am I now among you, teaching My friends and brothers on the way, releasing to them My Gifts of Love, Wisdom and Joy, gathering them to Me as brothers in work. You, likewise, My dear friends, can rest in the knowledge that your work for Me and for your brothers is welcome indeed. I need you all, all who will take upon themselves the burden of service to the world, to create anew this shining world out of the chaos of the past. (Maitreya, from Message No.66)
We have to understand that death is only the death of the physical, and that is renewable. We have all had countless physical incarnations to come to the point where we are now, and we will have a great many more to become Masters. The process is inevitable, however long we take over it. Likewise, each new civilization is built on the ruins of the preceding one. Old forms become crystallized, bereft of energy, and necessarily die. New energies come with each new age and need new forms through which to express themselves. Humanity responds to the new energies and ideas and remakes the culture and civilization, age after age. (Benjamin Creme, Maitreya’s Mission Volume Three)
All goes well, augurs well for the future. My plans proceed apace and galvanize mankind. Wherever you may look in the world today, you will find change. From top to bottom, the fabric of the old and decaying order is rent. From this can we derive much satisfaction, for despite the pain involved in this process, a new and better world emerges. Therefore, My friends, take comfort from this fact and look to the future with hope. (Maitreya, from Message No.130)
Changes, unequalled in extent, will engage men’s minds and hearts; naught but the finest of the past will prevail against the onslaught of the new. Daily, the transformations will be recorded for men to compare and admire; a new world will be constructed in the blazing light of day. All will, in their way, participate, each will add his vision and contribute to the whole. (Benjamin Creme’s Master, from ‘To serve anew’)
He [Maitreya] will talk about the needs of the world: the fact of the starving millions, “a blasphemy in men’s midst”, as the Master calls it. He will show that problem to be the first priority awaiting a renewed and regenerated humanity. He will show that without addressing the problem of hunger and starvation in the midst of plenty we will never take one step forward in the demonstration of the divinity of which He is giving people a sense, perhaps for the first time. As we are listening we will feel ourselves to be divine. We will know ourselves to be quite different from what we thought. We will remember our childhood feelings. The Master puts it so beautifully: “Each, singly, and solemnly alone, will know for that time the purpose and meaning of their lives, will experience anew the grace of childhood, the purity of aspiration cleansed of self.” (Benjamin Creme, The Awakening of Humanity)
Where, then, are the obstacles? These, My friends, are manmade: the denial of the Law, the separation of man from man, child from loving child. When men see this, the world will breathe and glow anew. Make it your task, then, to teach the Law of Sharing, of Justice and Truth. Help men to realise that without Justice and manifested Love, all else is as naught. (Maitreya, from Message No.126)
On all sides there is evidence that the old order is crumbling. Ancient hatreds divide the peoples and lawlessness abounds, but everywhere there are signs that a new spirit is awakening in man, a new sense of responsibility and a renewed reverence for life in all its forms.
Many are the manifestations of this new beauty; many and marvellous are the visions of the future opening up before mankind. Man stands as yet at the threshold, only, of a new beginning, yet already the signs of progress are there for those who have eyes to see. (Benjamin Creme’s Master, from ‘Victory is assured’)
Smilingly turn your gaze on the future. Laughingly turn your back on the past. Gratefully receive the blessing of God’s Love and create anew the Plan. Make haste to follow. Make haste to recognise. Triumphantly teach and know the joy of Service. My Love goes with you all. (Maitreya, from Message No.104)
by the Master —, through Benjamin Creme, April 1985
There are many roads to the future. Many possibilities await the exploring minds of men. Manifold are the tasks that lie before those who would create a future worthy of man. Manifold are the experiments through which men can discover the modes which suit them best. Also, for the first time in countless millennia, the senior members of the Spiritual Hierarchy will be at hand to counsel and guide. In this way, men can be saved much heartache and years of wasted effort.
Progress at first may be slow, but gradually the momentum will quicken until, in a crescendo of discovery, a new world of meaning will open before man’s astonished eyes.
Heretofore, progress for man proceeded in piecemeal fashion. While vast areas of the world remained in isolation, long ages were required to inculcate the smallest change. Today, all is different. Communications have set before humanity the wherewithal of quickened evolution, and everywhere there are the signs of ferment and transformation. The blueprint of the future is descending, and the sensitive minds of the race are responding to the new vision. Never before, in the history of the world, has such an opportunity as now exists been presented to men. From the chaos of the past can order be created; into the darkest ignorance can new light shine. Together, for the first time as brothers, can men establish the rule of divine law, and enter into right relation with their Source.
Now, as we enter the time of renewal, men should understand the principles on which a correct advance can be made. Brotherhood, itself a fact in nature, must more and more determine the nature of the new forms. All that is awakened to the fact of brotherhood will find itself in the centre of the path to the future. All that pertains to brotherhood will find the quickening energy of Hierarchy flowing to its cause. Peace will be established on the idea of brotherhood, ridding the world forever of the canker of war.
Co-operation is the key to the new relationships. When co-operation reigns, the iniquities and inequalities of the past will cease. The fires of competition, fanned by selfishness and greed, will die down, enabling men to live in harmony and trust. So will it be. And so will the Plan, which is the Purpose of God embodied, be fulfilled. Many are the steps which must be taken towards that blessed state, but already men’s minds are turning hopefully in that direction.
Sharing is the key of keys. Through sharing men will come to know the meaning of God’s love. Without sharing there can be no future for man, for the time has come to manifest God’s love – or die. Sharing provides the answer to all man’s problems and a sure entry into the New Age. Through sharing, peace will prevail. Through sharing, justice will be won. Through sharing and co-operation, brotherhood will flourish, and a new and glorious future open for man.
Interview with Robin Lim
by Jason Francis
Yayasan Bumi Sehat is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing safe and healthy childbirths, primarily in Indonesia. The group, whose name translates as Not-For-Profit Healthy Earth Mother, operates two Community Health and Childbirth clinics in Indonesia and one in the Philippines. Robin Lim founded the organization in 1995. She is an internationally known midwife, having been a practicing midwife in Indonesia, the Philippines and the United States since 1993. Robin Lim was voted 2011 CNN Hero of the Year.
Jason Francis interviewed her for Share International.
Share International: What are the primary reasons for infant mortality?
Robin Lim: Poverty, hunger, malnutrition, and the unavailability of skilled midwifery-to-mother care. Sometimes care is unavailable because the mother lives too far from care providers. Most often, expense is the issue, especially in countries where prenatal care is OB/GYN [obstetrics/gynecology]-managed and costly.
At the Bumi Sehat Community Health and Childbirth clinics in Bali, Aceh (Indonesia) and Dulag, Philippines, we have free midwives available 24/7. When risks of complications arise, our midwives take the mother to an OB/GYN and make sure she gets the care and attention that may save her and her baby’s lives. If this means we have to pay for the doctor, we do it. Healthcare is a human right, but it’s not free. Someone pays. When the mother at risk cannot pay, someone can and people wish to help. This is what Bumi Sehat is all about.
Breastfeeding prevents infant death. It is the optimal food for infants. In a low-resource country, parents who are bottle feeding their baby often water down the formula, causing malnutrition. The formula is expensive. Most minimum wage earners cannot afford to buy it.
Plus there are the devastating issues of water and sanitation, the need for adequate boiling of the infant formula to kill the bacteria in it, even before the water is added.
Mothers in this part of the world are well aware of the risks of bottle feeding, but they get tricked in the hospitals into formula feeding. The scenario is that the baby is taken from the mother at birth, and put in the nursery. The nursery or ‘baby room’ is sponsored by an infant formula company, like Nestlé, which pays the “milk nurses” to feed the babies bottles, even before they are allowed to feed at their mother’s breasts. Once a newborn baby is given even one bottle of infant formula he or she becomes very difficult to breastfeed, because the babies experience nipple confusion. The formula companies know this.
Next steps: baby is returned to mother, baby has difficulty latching onto the mother’s breasts, due to huge difference between mother’s nipples and artificial ones. The baby cries. The nurse says: “See, he doesn’t want your breasts.” The mother’s milk supply has not been encouraged by the baby’s sucking, so the supply does not adequately establish. She tries the next day, when they finally bring the baby back to her, to breastfeed. Baby cries, frustration for both mother and child, and the milk nurse is on hand to push a bottle of artificial infant formula into the baby’s mouth. It’s a downward spiral. This kills babies.
SI: How frequent is the death of the mother during childbirth in Indonesia and worldwide?
RL: A 2012 UNICEF reports states: “Every three minutes, somewhere in Indonesia a child under five dies. Moreover, every hour, a woman dies from giving birth or causes related to pregnancy.”
On 29 May 2003, the Jakarta Post reported that maternal mortality at birth in Indonesia was 373 per 100,000 births, the highest among countries in the ASEAN [Association of Southeast Asian Nations]. The UN Fund for Population Activities states that the latest maternal mortality ratio for Indonesia is 307 per 100,000 live births, which is still unacceptably high compared to other countries in the region. Although the ratio has declined during the last 10 years, the decrease is considerably slower than other related indicators such as infant and child mortality rates.
Globally, 289,000 women died during and following pregnancy and childbirth in 2013, according to the World Health Organization.
SI: What are the primary causes of maternal death?
RL: The causes are preventable: poverty, hunger and malnutrition. All those leading to hemorrhage just after childbirth, or also hypertension caused by the stress of pregnancy, when the mother does not have adequate nutrition and support. And, of course, sepsis is potentially fatal.
Unavailability of skilled midwifery-to-mother care is a killer, because a skilled midwife or doctor (all too often unaffordable by the average family) can control hemorrhage, can monitor blood pressure, and help the mother prevent eclampsia. [Eclampsia is a life-threatening condition that can cause a pregnant woman with high blood pressure or high protein levels in her urine to have seizures or fall into a coma.] Skilled birth keepers can reduce the risk of infection as well.
Midwives provide personal woman-to-woman prenatal care. I have seen medical professionals, well-meaning OB/GYNs, give pregnant women what I call “Prenatal Scare”. For example, they say: “Your amniotic fluid is dangerously low, you need a cesarean.” If the mother is too poor to afford a cesarean, especially in countries where families may not take their babies home from hospital until the bill is paid in full, she may not come back for the care she needs.
The skilled midwife would say: “I suggest you drink a lot more clean water and make sure you are eating enough protein and nutritious foods, so your baby and you stay well hydrated and nourished. Let’s check again in a day or two and see if that amniotic fluid increases.” This can prevent unnecessary cesareans. Considering the elevated risks of birth by surgery, this is a very good thing. When a cesarean is necessary, it too is a miracle, and should be available.
The importance of midwives
SI: What motivated you to begin providing free health services for pregnant women, and children under five, in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia?
RL: My sister died from pregnancy-induced hypertension in her third pregnancy, 24 years ago. She was in the USA, had insurance, and was in the care of an OB/GYN. I believe her death could have been prevented. Christine fell through the cracks. I believe that if she had been getting her prenatal care from a midwife, she would be alive today, and her baby would also be alive. Midwives spend more time with each expectant mother, and just don’t allow moms to fall through the cracks so easily. Christine’s insurance did not cover prenatal care with midwives.
I was a teacher and an author. I decided to continue my studies and become a midwife, because no one’s sister, or daughter, or mother or partner, should die from an easily diagnosed pregnancy risk, something preventable. I was, and I am, willing to devote my life to mother-baby care, day and night….
SI: How important are family planning services offered by Yayasan Bumi Sehat, such as the availability of contraception?
RL: The Indonesian health system provides birth control, mainly depo-provera 3-month hormonal injections. This has many ill effects for the health of women. But unplanned pregnancies can be fatal. At Bumi Sehat we teach the very effective (if followed well) Billings Ovulation Method of natural family planning. This gives couples a healthier choice. However, neither of these methods provide protection from sexually transmitted infections like HIV/AIDS. So, we give away heaps and heaps of free condoms.
SI: How important is it to respect the cultural beliefs and tradition of your patients? Are there times when those beliefs must not be respected?
RL: It is absolutely imperative to be respectful. This is why we sing the songs of the faith of the family at each baby’s crowning during the birth process. However, sometimes cruelty is disguised as culture. No one in healthcare may ever be cruel. It’s just not OK. So, for example, when it comes to circumcising children or babies, boys or girls, I refuse to do it. I refuse to endorse it. Some people say it is their culture. Culture is always reinventing itself. We humans get to decide what our culture is. When it comes to harming people, especially those too small to say: “Stop, don’t hurt me!” I say: “Time to fix your culture.”
SI: Is there anything further you would like to add?
RL: The most important, this we all need, the most healing thing, is to be believed in and to be loved!
For more information: www.bumisehatfoundation.org
by David Suzuki
When she was just 12 years old, my daughter Severn gave a speech at the 1992 UN Earth Summit in Rio de Janiero, Brazil. She spoke with such conviction that delegates were moved to tears. It was one of my proudest moments as a father. [See box] More than 20 years later, Severn is the mother of two young children, and the video of her speech is still making the rounds, inspiring people around the world. Its popularity speaks to the power the young have to affect the world’s most pressing issues.
More than half the world’s population is under 30, a demographic now at the forefront of international decision-making and some of Canada’s most powerful environmental changes. Across the nation, youth are thinking critically about how we can become better stewards of our vast landscapes and spectacular wildlife and protect the air, water, soil and diversity of nature that keep us healthy and alive. They are standing up for strong environmental protection and a saner approach to resource management in their own communities.
Take Halifax, Nova Scotia resident Stephen Thomas, an engineer in his 20s. He’s been recognized as a driving force for our nation’s clean energy future. If You Build It, a project he co-founded, mobilizes volunteers to construct renewable energy projects, including wind turbines and solar-powered generators. He has also catalyzed large-scale, community-owned wind projects in Nova Scotia and spearheaded Dalhousie University’s student campaign for fossil fuel divestment.
Vanessa Gray, a 22-year-old member of the Aamjiwnaang First Nation, mobilized other young people to campaign against Enbridge’s Line 9 pipeline proposal to transport oil sands bitumen through Sarnia, Ontario, to Montreal for export. She continues to speak out about refinery pollution and host “toxic tours” of Canada’s Chemical Valley, where 63 petrochemical plants surround her community.
Some young leaders are taking up the David Suzuki Foundation’s call to support the right to a healthy environment in their towns. In December, after attending a Foundation Blue Dot Tour event, 10-year-old Victoria-resident Rupert Yakelashek led a successful charge to have his city adopt a declaration giving citizens the right to clean air, water and food, and to participate in decisions that affect their environment. [The Blue Dot Tour was a recent cross-country tour of performers, artists and leaders supporting the right of all Canadians to clean water, fresh air and healthy food.]
Ta’Kaiya Blaney, a 13-year-old from British Columbia’s Tla’Amin First Nation, followed a path similar to my daughter’s, speaking at the UN Rio +20 conference in 2012 when she was just 11 [see Share International November 2012]. She is also gaining recognition as the visionary behind the Salish Sea Youth Foundation and for speaking, writing and singing in defence of a healthy future for animals, humans, plants and ecosystems. She incorporates environmental messages into her songs, as she did on the Blue Dot Tour. “In my culture it’s a fact, and an understanding of life, that everything is connected, and we were put on this earth to be stewards and caretakers of the environment,” she writes.
Young leaders are also at the forefront of Idle No More, one of the largest Indigenous mass movements in Canadian history. What began in 2012 as teach-ins in Saskatchewan to protest parliamentary bills that would erode Indigenous sovereignty and environmental protections has changed the social and political landscape of Canada.
These young environmental champions share a commitment to their communities and to the world. They know that young people have the power to rally others to create positive change. And when people gather around a common cause, magic happens.
Although many young leaders are not yet old enough to vote, they will be left to clean up messes from decisions made today. We owe it to them to think more carefully about the world we want to leave to their generation.
Canadian non-profit group The Starfish Canada, co-founded by David Suzuki Foundation public engagement specialist Kyle Empringham, celebrates young people with its Top 25 Environmentalists Under 25 program. Every year, 25 youth are recognized for their efforts to create environmental change. The group recognized is diverse, from community gardeners and outdoor recreationists to scientists and advocates. Thanks to them, the program continues to showcase positive change across the country.
If you know a young leader who deserves national recognition, nominate him or her for The Starfish Canada’s Top 25 Environmentalists Under 25. It could help inspire others to change the world.
For information on the David Suzuki Foundation: www.davidsuzuki.org
“I am here to speak on behalf of the starving children around the world whose cries go unheard. I am here to speak for the countless animals dying across this planet because they have nowhere left to go….
“I am only a child, yet I know we are all in it together and should act as one single world toward one single goal….
“In my country, we make so much waste. We buy and throw away, buy and throw away. Yet Northern countries will not share with the needy. Even when we have more than enough, we are afraid to share. We are afraid to let go of some of our wealth.
“In Canada, we live the privileged life. We have plenty of food, water and shelter. We have watches, bicycles, computers, and televisions. The list could go on for two days. Here in Brazil, we were shocked to spend time with some children living on the streets. This is what one child told us: “ I wish I was rich. If I were, I would give all the street children food, clothes, medicines, shelter, and love and affection.” If a child on the streets, who has nothing, is willing to share, why are we, who have everything, still so greedy?
“I can’t stop thinking that these are children my own age, that it makes a tremendous difference where you are born, that I could be one of those children living in the favellas of Rio. I could be a child starving in Somalia, a victim of war in the Middle East, or a beggar in India.
“I am only a child, yet I know if all of the money spent on war was spent on finding environmental answers, ending poverty, and finding treaties, what a wonderful place this earth would be.” (Reprinted from Share International, March 1993)