Thursday, April 17, 2008

New Indian websites from TBMSG

According to a recent estimate, FWBO and TBMSG centres and individuals worldwide are responsible for nearly 350 different websites. Amazing – but that total is only going to grow. Despite that, TBMSG, the Indian ‘wing’ of our movement, who run a multiplicity of Dhamma and social projects all across India, have been relatively invisible in cyber-space. That is changing with three recent launches of Indian-designed and operated TBMSG websites. All three are for projects currently being funded by the FWBO's Karuna Trust in the UK, but all are looking to develop their international presence and open up other funding relationships: these websites should play a significant role in that.

BH Amaravati, at is perhaps the smallest project of the three, but with (dare we say it) the smartest website. They are a dynamic team based in Amaravati, a town some 150km west of Nagpur in the central Maharastra. Besides their Dhamma activities, they operate a hostel enabling boys from poor rural families to access proper education; 'Sukhavati’, their Women and Children's Empowerment programme, a slum Education Development Project, and the Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Youth and Social Center.

The parent trust, BH Trust, based in Pune, has also launched its own website,, where they describe the many social programs they are responsible for - hostels for children, a Child Development Centre, after-school classes and libraries, HIV/AIDS awareness programs, a de-addiction centre, community, sports & cultural activities, and more recently, work with Tribal people who are in many ways even more disenfranchised than the ‘Scheduled Castes’ who make up the bulk of India’s Buddhists. The site contains introductions to their work, an extensive photo library, and – most importantly – details on how to make donations directly to them via Paypal.

Lastly, the Aryatara Mahila Trust, a TBMSG women’s project, also based in Pune, have a new and very beautiful website at If the difficulties of reviving Buddhism in India are great, those faced by Indian women are even greater. As they say, “Because of poverty and very challenging past conditioning which reinforced feelings of inferiority, many women who have converted to Buddhism face personal and social difficulties - lack of confidence, low self-esteem, inability to take initiative. Through the Arya Tara Mahila Trust, we are building on 25 years of experience of humanitarian work to alleviate poverty in the social, medical, educational and economic fields for women and their families. Also, currently, nearly 50 women members of our orde, along with several hundred other actively involved women, are engaged in teaching and supporting meditation and Buddhist study in many parts of India”.

They’re asking for financial support; they say “To help us to support a child in a hostel for one month costs 800 Indian Rupees (US$18); a three-month course in basic computer skills for a woman or child from the slums costs 1400 Indian Rs (US$32); and the monthly payment of one health worker costs 5000 Indian Rs (US$112)”. Contact them on if you’d like to get involved.

You can find a map of all TBMSG groups in India (and there are many!) on the FWBO Photos website here

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