Compassion in Action – Supporting Education for Girls

 

Kasturba Gandhi Vidalaya Hostel,
Baseri, Gaya District
February 9, 2020

On Sunday 9th February 2020 Lama Chodrak, CEO of the Kagyu Monlam, visited the Kasturba Gandhi Vidalaya Hostel at Baseri, a small village near Bodhgaya. Lama Chodrak has visited the Hostel on many occasions, and it is inspiring to see how in addition to all of his many duties he takes a genuine interest in the welfare of these girls.

The government sponsored Hostel at Baseri is just across the road from the village school and it is home to almost 100 girls between the ages of 10 and 14 who are well looked after by the house mother and staff. The girls are from families who live below India’s national poverty line in some of the more remote villages of the region. If they were unable to live in Baseri during school term time, they would have no access to education; it would simply be too far for the girls to travel each day. The fact that they can stay here also eases the financial burden on their families and encourages them to keep their girl children in education.



Lama Chodrak was accompanied by Jangchup Lingpa, who works for the Kagyupa International Monlam Trust, and by Ani Sonam and Ani Semchi from Samye Ling who have been representing the Hart Knowe Trust at the Compassion in Action Projects this year. They received a most enthusiastic welcome from the girls who showed them many beautiful pictures they had created since receiving drawing books and colouring pens on an earlier visit. The girls sang some songs and offered their visitors delicious chai and Indian sweets. Ani Sonam commented, “The girls look happy and well cared for, especially now we’ve had a comparison with many of the children who come to the soup kitchen in Bodhgaya. It was lovely to see the girls and staff again, and sad to say goodbye!”



For some time the project has been providing sanitary towels for the girls, since even such a fundamental necessity had not been readily available and this sponsorship will continue. However, we are now looking at options for more ecological alternatives. It may also be possible to connect with other charitable organisations through a new initiative which involves an ambitious plan to establish a network whereby young women throughout India learn and then pass on to others vital information about health and well-being. Each small step opens the door to another opportunity.

The project is aimed at making a long term impact and it has been carefully monitored with regular visits to ensure that the help given is effective. Since 2017 the Kagyupa International Monlam Trust and the Hart Knowe Trust have been improving the basic facilities at the hostel by installing ceiling fans to keep the girls cool in the hot summers as well as providing a water purification system and wash basins to help maintain good standards of health and hygiene. Jangchup Lingpa recently arranged for the sheets on the beds to be replaced as he noticed they were getting very old. Lama Chodrak inspected the new battery system that has been installed this year and the house mother confirmed that they are working well so they now have no problem with the all-too-frequent power cuts.



Although whatever we do may be just a drop in the ocean, it is still worthwhile and really heart-warming to see that we can make a difference to the lives of others. Compassion in Action gives Kagyu Monlam Members a way to express our natural kindness and to share our good fortune with the local people who live in and around Bodhgaya.

 

20200202_Support Local Girl School

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