by Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi
The inspiration and ideal behind BGR is a quality I call conscientious compassion. Conscientious compassion differs from the type of compassion that remains content to passively bear witness to the suffering of others and send benevolent wishes for their good. It merges altruistic intentions with a deliberate and durable commitment to action – action guided by moral vision and the ideal of a more just, harmonious, and peaceful world.
Conscientious compassion springs from the recognition that in an interdependent world, the fate of each of us is tied to the fate of all. Through compassion one feels the suffering of others as one’s own. Through conscience one is willing to take personal responsibility for the well-being of others and do something to transform the conditions of their lives. Conscientious compassion looks to the least and lowest: to the poor, the violated, and the most vulnerable, who are also usually the most powerless. It moves one to rescue them in the face of war, violence, poverty, and oppression. Even more, it moves one to tackle the causes responsible for these adversities, and to affirm the rights of all people to a life of material security, peace, and freedom. READ MORE>>
Bolstering a Food Budget for Hungry Kids in Haiti
by BGR Staff
This past May BGR approved a six-month renewable grant to the Art Creation Foundation for Children in Haiti, to bolster its food program, which a budget shortfall had forced to be cut in half. The Art Creation Foundation is an arts-based non-profit organization created for the personal growth, empowerment, and education of children in need in Jacmel, Haiti. The Foundation provides art instruction, tutoring, medical care, daily food and water, and educational expenses for students in the program. Its mission is "to build a passionate community of future leaders, visionaries, and dynamic thinkers who are empowered to better their lives and their world through the arts and education." READ MORE>>
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 sustainable agriculture. During this third year of the program, 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.