Helping Hands Newsletter                      Volume 11, Number 2
Summer 2019

A Buddhist Perspective on Women's Liberation

By Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi

 When we speak of “women’s liberation,” we first have to determine what women are to be liberated from. What are the obstacles to their freedom? Perhaps the most pervasive—and the most subtly disempowering—is the limitation placed on the opportunities available to women for personal expression and achievement. In traditional cultures, and even in the West today, these limitations are considered almost intrinsic to the social order. An unspoken consensus prevails that casts women into stereotyped roles that severely hamper their freedom to realize their creative potentials. READ MORE

Building Bridges for Poor Widows in the Punjab

By Tricia Brick

For more than thirty years, communities in the Indian state of Punjab have been stricken by an epidemic barely reported in the mainstream media: the suicides of small-scale farmers. These tragedies are precipitated by a cumulation of factors, including successive seasons of bad weather, the soaring costs of seeds and fertilizer, a falling water table, and usurious rates imposed by moneylenders, that have made it impossible for many to support their families on their ancestral lands. Seeing no way out, thousands have taken their own lives. Their deaths are tragedy enough. But for the widows and children they leave behind, life becomes a desperate struggle simply to survive. READ MORE

New BGR Projects for Fiscal Year 2019-2020

By Kim Behan

On April 27th the BGR Board held its annual projects meeting to decide on projects to be sponsored during the next fiscal year, which runs from July 2019 to June 2020. In total, the Board approved 45 projects for this period. While most of those approved are renewals or continuations of current projects, the Board did approve proposals to support several new projects over the next fiscal year. Here are summaries of these projects, with country and partner. READ MORE

Reorganization at BGR

By Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi

Recently BGR has made several organizational changes which we believe should be communicated to our donors and other supporters. Last month our Executive Director, Tom Spies, announced that he was offered a position as Chief Financial Officer by the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts, a full-time position that he accepted. Since Tom’s decision left the position of ED vacant, Kim Behan, our Programs Director, offered to step in and serve as ED, a position she held from 2009 until 2016, when she stepped aside in favor of Tom. Kim had done a fantastic job during her tenure as ED, and we trust that she will continue to spur BGR on to new heights. READ MORE

2019 Concert to Feed the Hungry

By Daniel Blake

On April 28th, Buddhist Global Relief held its 8th annual “Concert to Feed the Hungry” at the beautiful Saint Mark’s Church In-the-Bowery, a spiritual center in lower Manhattan that has been devoted to arts and social justice activism for many years. The concert was preceded by a series of moving presentations from BGR partners such as North Country Mission of Hope, which works on behalf of poor communities in Nicaragua.  READ MORE

Thank you for your generosity this Vesak season!

By Kim Behan and Carla Prater

Vesak is a time to celebrate three momentous events in the Buddha’s life: his birth in the Lumbini Park, his enlightenment at Bodhgaya, and his passing away at Kusinara. This year BGR began a new fundraising campaign in honor of Vesak. We offer our thanks to the many people who made this campaign possible, especially Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi, Val Clark, Mary Helen Fein, George Clapp, and the Staff team.  READ MORE

 How You Can Help

Interested in volunteering for BGR? By joining our team you will meet others who share your values and are working to put compassion into action and help create a better world. Some volunteers need to be located in a particular place, but most can work from home, wherever that may be. Please check the list of Volunteer Opportunities on our website and contact our volunteer coordinator at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for further information. As always, donations to BGR are welcome. You can donate by PayPal or credit card on the BGR website or by check mailed to:

Buddhist Global Relief
2020 Route 301
Carmel, NY  10512

Our Projects

BGR projects are designed to provide direct food aid to people afflicted by hunger and malnutrition, to promote ecologically sustainable agriculture, to support the education of girls and women, and to give women an opportunity to start right livelihood projects to support their families. This is a selection of nine of our current 29 projects. Please select "Current Projects" from the menu on the left to see them all.