Interviews with students, past
student and parents of the Prajna Vihar School, 2015
Bodhgaya is the place where the historical
Buddha became enlightened some 2500 years ago. It is currently
a place of pilgrimage for people interested in Buddhism. It is
in the state of Bihar and one of the poorest and most violent
regions of India. Villagers tend to have very little opportunity
to change their circumstances. The Bodhgaya Development Association
(BDA) provides support for long term initiatives to help the
poorest people in this part of India.
The BDA was established in
1992 and is based in Brisbane (Australia). It is an incorporated
tax-exempt non-profit organisation. We do not currently (January
2015) have tax deductibility status but we are in the process
of applying for this.
The BDA has provided funds
for different programs. The longest program we have been supporting
is the development, running and expansion of the Prajna
Vihar School, which provides education for children of the
very poor who would otherwise receive no schooling or very low
Students on their way to the
Prajna Vihar School [in background, behind wall] in the early
morning, December 2012, with pigs and piglets in the foreground.
From late 2014 we started supporting
three other programs.
One of these, called Jeevan
Deep, offers education and health services to low case communities
in and around Bodhgaya. We are providing funds for the health
The second new program, called
Seva Kendra (literally Centre Serving Hope) is for education
and support for marginalised tribal women, about three hours
drive south east from Bodhgaya. This is the first time we have
supported a program outside Bodhgaya. We have an association
with the organisation providing this service through our long
term association with Sister Mary Lobo, whose work in Bodhgaya
we supported while she was alive.
While we are providing a small
level of funding for Asha Seva Kendra, we realise that some donors
would prefer to support programs in the Bodhgaya area. If you
would like to support Asha Seva Kendra, please specify this when
you make a donation.
The third new program provides
education on health issues and support for marginalised communities
in and around Bodhgaya. It is run by a Sr Manisha, a social worker
who has run programs in poor communities for thirty years.
We have supported other programs
in the Bodhgaya area such as Mahisi
Gyanodaya Abhiyan (Campaign for Awakening Wisdom) and Nari
Jagran Manch (literally Forum for Women's Awakening) a life skills,
literacy and community-based micro-credit program for low caste
and illiterate women and girls.
All work done for the BDA is
voluntary with adminstrative costs being donated by people on
the management committee in Australia. Because of this, all money
donated goes to the projects themselves and no Westerner gets
paid from donations.
The BDA manages to keep up
its yearly support for the projects from the generosity of people
in the West. If you would like to contribute or to find out more,
please contact us.
Development Association Incorporated, 147 Richmond Road, Morningside
Queensland 4121 Australia P: +61(0)7 3399-2017