Our partner, the Bangladesh Buddhist Missionary Society, was founded in 1977 by Ven. Jivanananda Mahathera, a Buddhist monk who has dedicated his life to the service of suffering humanity. BBMS is a non-sectarian, non-communal, non-governmental organization officially registered in Bangladesh in 1979. Its purpose is to dispense humanitarian services especially to helpless orphans, distressed widows, and other indigent men and women. The Orphan’s Home Complex is located at Betagi in the rural Chittagong Hills region, near the Karnaphuli River.The number of orphans has increased, food prices have risen, and government grants are not adequate to the need. The Orphans Home Complex will use the BGR donation to feed 54 children for 12 months. Annually renewable project.
The Jamyang Foundation (founded 1988 by Ven. Lekshe Tsomo) supports innovative education projects for indigenous girls and women in two of the neediest and most remote parts of the world: the Indian Himalayas and the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh. These projects foster women’s learning potential in ways that are harmonious with their unique Buddhist cultural backgrounds.
This BGR project will fund a school lunch program for 116 students studying at Visakha Girls’ School in a remote location about 10 km from the small town of Manikchari. The program was designed by the teachers at the school together with the parents of the girls for the first time last year in response to a serious need for nourishing food for the students. The project includes hiring a cook to help with purchasing food, preparing the meals, and managing the dining room where the lunch is served. The majority of the funds are allocated for the purchase of rice, pulses, vegetables, and fruits. The school lunch program at Visakha Girls’ School provides the nourishment the students might otherwise not receive.
Since the school lunch program was introduced last year, the teachers have observed increased attendance at the school, improved physical health, psychological development, and overall better wellness. Families are also relieved, knowing their children will get valuable schooling and at least one substantial meal per day.
Our project partner, Moanoghar, was founded in 1974 by a group of Buddhist monks to provide shelter to children of the Chittagong Hill Tracts affected by conflict or living in remote areas. There are currently 805 residential children at Moanoghar, 55% boys and 45% girls. Many of these children lost one or both parents in the decades-long conflict that plagued this backward part of Bangladesh, a poor region in an extremely poor country.
While the girl students have a permanent dormitory, the dorms for boy students are built with bamboos and wood poles and all of them are more than 15 years old. These are temporary structures that require constant repair and maintenance. The grant from BGR will sponsor the construction of a three-story building with each floor providing accommodation to 40 children. It will be built from bricks on a solid foundation. When the building is complete, it will accommodate 120 children in total–a permanent solution to the problem of accommodation for the students. This will be the first year of a three-year project entirely supported by BGR, made possible through a generous donation from the Chao Foundation. This project testifies to the value of partnership in the effort to provide better opportunities for those in need. Year one of a three-year project.
Lotus Outreach, a trusted BGR partner since 2009, is dedicated to ensuring the education, health, and safety of at-risk and exploited women and children in the developing world, especially in Cambodia. The long-standing BGR-Lotus Outreach partnership provides rice support to primary, secondary, and tertiary students receiving scholarships via the GATE and GATEways programs. The GATE programs provides educational scholarships to girls pursuing primary and secondary education. The GATEways program builds on this by supporting girls who graduated from high school through GATE and are pursuing higher education at universities and technical schools across Cambodia.
This year Buddhist Global Relief held ten U.S. Walks to Feed the Hungry. The first walk of the season kicked off in Milford, Michigan, which was followed by walks in Seattle, San Francisco, Philadelphia, San Jose, Los Angeles, New York, St. Louis, Willington (Connecticut), and Houston. This year our chairperson, Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi, participated in three of the walks—in St. Louis, Willington, and Houston. Our executive director, Tom Spies, also participated in three walks—in Philadelphia, New York, and Willington. Earlier during the summer, a walk was held in England, organized by The New Buddha Way, and a solidarity walk took place in India, held by our partner in Nagpur, the Bodhicitta Foundation.
Wisdom Publications has just published a new book by our chair, Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi, entitled The Buddha’s Teachings on Social and Communal Harmony. The book is an anthology from the Pali Canon, with a general introduction and individual chapter introductions by Bhante. It has a foreword by the Dalai Lama and a prologue and epilogue by Alan Senauke. The text itself is organized into ten chapters, dealing with such topics as anger, proper speech, good friendship, the community, disputes, and the establishment of an equitable society. Here follows an edited excerpt from the Dalai Lama’s foreword and from Bhante’s general introduction.
A BGR project in Bangem subdivision of Cameroon, in West Africa, undertaken in partnership with the social service organization CENCUDER, is making big news. The project, which started last academic year, aims at enhancing the education and health of over 95 poor and needy village children attending the Ebase-Bajoh primary school. The core of the project is the distribution of a hot school lunch to the pupils, many of whom are girls and orphans. The feeding program, which is intended to promote literacy amongst school-age children suffering from chronic hunger and an insufficient diet, is the first of its kind to be undertaken by an NGO in the Bangem subdivision. It is quite astounding that in this country—which is 40% Catholic, 30% Protestant, 18% Muslim, and probably 0% Buddhist—it is a Buddhist organization that has come to the aid of the poor children of the region.