Walk to Feed the Hungry - Fall 2015Watch this space for details on the 2015 Walks to Feed the Hungry! We are planning them now and will announce detailed information for this fall's walks on August 1st. We hope to see all of you who can attend at one of the walks! From the east coast to the west and in many cities between the two, there are lots of opportunities for you to participate in this major fundraising and community building effort.
It's Cool to Go Back to School in Rural China
China, Qinghai Province
Do the words “back to school” conjure images of young children standing at bus stops, their hands on the straps of neon backpacks and polyester pouches full of pencils and erasers? Or perhaps you think of the colorful newspaper inserts sprouting like flowers from the center of the Sunday edition of your local paper, reminding you that department stores will soon be flooded with families clutching fistfuls of coupons.
The words “back to school” might fill a nine-year-old with dread as she realizes her sun-drenched days by the pool will soon be exchanged for flickering fluorescent lights and a cold, graphite-smeared desktop.
This dread is foreign to five-year-old Yangling Lhamo of China’s Qinghai Province. When a social worker from Shambala visited her home to provide her with back-to-school supplies funded by a BGR grant, Lhamo couldn’t contain her excitement. She picked up a flat rock to use as a chalkboard and played teacher to the social worker, demonstrating the Tibetan letters she’d learned at school. READ MORE>>
Climate Change is a Moral Issue
A Buddhist Reflection on the Pope's Climate Encyclical, Laudato si'
by Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi
On June 18, Pope Francis issued an encyclical letter, Laudato si’ (Praised Be), “On Care for our Common Home,” pointing to climate change as the overriding moral issue of our time. The encyclical boldly proclaims that humanity’s capacity to alter the climate charges us with the gravest moral responsibility we have ever had to bear. Climate change affects everyone. The disruptions to the biosphere occurring today bind all peoples everywhere into a single human family, our fates inseparably intertwined. No one can escape the impact, no matter how remotely they may live from the bustling centers of industry and commerce. The responsibility for preserving the planet falls on everyone.
The future of human life on earth hangs in a delicate balance, and the window for effective action is rapidly closing. Tipping points and feedback loops threaten us as ominously as nuclear warheads. What heightens the danger is our proclivity to apathy and denial. For this reason, we must begin tackling the crisis with an act of truth, by acknowledging that climate change is real and stems from human activity. On this, the science is clear, the consensus among climate scientists almost universal. The time for denial, skepticism, and delay is over. READ MORE ON OUR BLOG>>
Educating Children in the Chittagong Hill Tracts
Moanoghar was founded in 1974 by a group of Buddhist monks and lay persons to provide shelter to children of the Chittagong Hill Tracts affected by conflict or living in remote areas. Moanoghar provides formal education, vocational training, health services and support for the overall socio-economic development of its students in the area and of the wider community. Currently more than 1,250 children study at Moanoghar, half of them residential. Some 40% of the students are girls. Many of the children were left homeless or orphaned as the result of a decades-long ethnic conflict. All children at Moanoghar receive free or highly subsidized education.
BGR is currently sponsoring a three-year project to establish a sustainable educational system that can generate income to maintain the institution and support the children being schooled there. The project is now in its second year, during which the aims are: (1) to establish sustainable income to support the institution and the students; and (2) to add nutrition for students with crops like papaya and bananas. To meet these goals, BGR sponsorship allows the creation of a bamboo plantation on five additional acres of land (beyond the three acres that BGR supported last year); the planting of various fruit crops; and the hiring of an additional gardener to maintain the gardens.
Enhanced Homestead Food Production
Last year, BGR entered into a partnership with Helen Keller International on a three-year expansion of its innovative Enhanced Homestead Food Production program in Côte d’Ivoire’s Bouaké District (Gbèkè Region), an especially poor district where families struggle with food security and lack access to food markets. Teams teach the Enhanced Homestead Food Production model to community gardening groups comprised mostly of women. The project is designed to increase the availability and quantity of micronutrient-rich vegetables.A key component of the program is growing orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, a food rich in micronutrients, especially vitamin A, essential to preventing blindness. The project improves gardening practices, irrigation systems, and income generation. It also provides instruction in nutrition and hygiene to young mothers. Women farmers learn marketing strategies for selling their crops. Successful small-scale irrigation systems will be applied not only to programs in Côte d’Ivoire but throughout the region, especially to areas vulnerable to climate change.
Enhanced Food Security for Women Farmers
This is the third year of a three-year partnership with Oxfam India on a project being implemented in 13 villages in the Tehri Gharwal district of the Uttarakhand region. The project is designed to benefit over 6500 people in 1200 households of small and marginal farmers. Its focus is on enhancing food security for women farmers by building a sustainable production system that can prove resilient in the face of a changing climate. The project strengthens integrated farming systems; increases the use of the System of Rice Intensification (SRI); and teaches non-pesticidal suble agriculture.
During this third year of the program a farmer’s field schostainaol is being formed; village-level resource persons are being trained to enhance their capacities; further training is being given in low-input sustainable agriculture and forest, water, and soil conservation; and links are being created with the government to spread new information.