Priyadaka reports -
"We will be visiting several states in India over the next three months to follow up these young men and women, all graduates of TBMSG’s Nagarjuna Training Institute, helping them put their Dhamma and other skills training to full use in their communities. You can catch a fuller picture of this exciting project at:
"We intend to help them establish Dhamma teaching; to learn fundraising; to improve their English and even set up a Buddhist materials shop, all in three months! This is ambitious, but we want to aim high and build this project over several years.
"We thought a good way to mark it would be to reproduce here her final blog post, written immediately after her return last March - it captures very evocatively the joys and struggles of working in India, the idealism, the rewards and the frustrations…
She says -
“Thank you Lokabandhu, I'd be very pleased indeed to have my blog report reproduced on FWBO news. Maybe you could say too, that I am fundraising for the future skills training of these prospective young Dhamma workers - see my new webpage 'YoungIndianFutures
“Hope you are very well.
“much metta, Shakyajata
Blog March '09 – Shakyajata
“Hello from Shakyajata. I am writing this in the women's community in Manchester, where I have been kindly invited to stay for a while, to recover from the physical and emotional shocks which I experienced on leaving India and returning to the UK. A combination of a nasty bug, jetlag, and the pain of parting from people and projects which had become very dear to me, combined in a devastating way, and I lost about a stone in weight in the first 24 hours after arriving in Manchester.
“However, I am now recovering rapidly (more rapidly than I did when I returned from India in January 2008) and keen to re-engage at a distance with those projects and those people. I feel thankful to the gods of the IT realm, that my little laptop seems to have survived the travelling of 1000s of miles, and the terrible spikes and surges of the Nagaloka electricity supply. It seems ready to carry me into the work of following-up the deeply inspiring initiatives that I have seen developing in India, towards a better future for the young heroines and heroes to whom we have been teaching English, and through them, for hundreds or even thousands more people from poor backgrounds.
“Let me say here a big THANK YOU, to all the people who participated in the English teaching project at Nagaloka. Thank you Jess, Julie, Ken, Jenny, Sue, and Nealey, and especially Aryagita and Achala who are keeping the project going on a permanent basis. I think we can congratulate ourselves that we have made a great difference to the lives of the students of the Nagarjuna Training Institute. At the very least they have gained greatly in confidence; those with reasonable English have become much more fluent, those even with a little have made some progress, and the majority have a sound basis for improvement now and in future, in their fluency and their life-chances. Well done us, team! We gave it our best, and I personally feel I have gained greatly from the experience (or will when I have picked up the pieces!).
“THANK YOU also to all you out there who sponsored us. As well as ourselves and 3 - 4 months of teaching, we gave to the Nagaloka students (who have so little) books, stationery, a PowerPoint projector and laptop, and ongoing financial support for this year's project and the next one. (Also a lot of laughs, and sometimes oranges). You were so generous, and what you gave has gone a long, long way.
“The next big THANK YOU, is to the people who made it possible for us to do our work at NTI; to Padmavir and Vivekaratna, Nagamitra and Tejadhamma, Aryaketu, all the staff at Nagaloka and the girls' hostel, all our wonderful Guest-masters and porridge-cooks, and especially the students themselves, who threw themselves in with such enthusiasm and gratitude, who sang and danced and wrote poetry and drew pictures and mimed for us, made us laugh and cry, who bring the place alive in such a heart-opening way. A huge garland for each of you, of jasmine roses and blue lotuses. I will never forget you, you will always have friends in the West.
“Phew. What a life-changing experience it has been. If any of you out there, would like to participate in future, please let me know...”
Their plans for 2009 include an ambitious travel program visiting many Nagaloka graduates, who are scattered all over India. They’re off to Orissa, Hyderabad, Kerala, Chennai, Wardha, and Pune - India veterans will know just how much travelling this means! We hope to be reporting on some of their adventures in due course…
To contribute to their work, and to the Nagaloka Futures support fund, please visit www.justgiving.com/nagalokafutures
Labels: Fundraising, India, Nagpur, women