Saturday, March 22, 2008

A Pilgrimage Special: Bump into an Ashram

One minute, we were at the Mahabodhi Temple, and the next, after weaving in and out of some lanes, we were suddenly outside a big white building. We were supposed to be at an eye hospital to make some donations. In India, poor nutrition had caused some children to be born blind. As our leader and a small group of our fellow pilgrims crowded round an elderly looking Indian man with white beard to hand over our donation, I had a look round the building .Inside a big, dim and bare hall, there were groups of children studying as in a school. That must be the Samanvay Ashram. An ashram, in ancient India is a hermitage but nowadays, it could refer to an intentional community. According to the Internet, Samanvay Ashram is conducting a program of alternative basic education based on Ghandhian lines to 100 children who would also be provided with food, clothes and medicine on a long-term basis.This ashram which was founded in 1954, has worked towards the betterment of the downtrodden in the Bodhgaya community and was supposed to be a center for research & training in education and development. Well, the hall I saw, was really dark and bare and the group of children and teachers did look as gloomy and dejected as their surrounding. Some of us were thinking the teacher could have taken the children outdoor and conduct classes outside. The teachers mostly probably were not trained and perhaps, they were also poorly paid or even not paid at all for their efforts. In India, especially in government run rural schools, there may be no teacher at all and then of course, attendance to such school will be nil. If there is a teacher at all, the teacher has to run everything and even then, might see his meager pay after months of service...

Making a donation ... A donation made to Samanvay Ashram...


Children studying under a deplorable situation ...




4 comments:

SSB said...

Are there any charities in the area to try to fix the problem?

footiam said...

There is the Mahabodhi Society nearby but I think there is some problems between the people there. Tourists who came do help, people from USA even, as I have seen in the Net. May touch a bit on that two posts from now! Do come back!

Anonymous said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

Sarah

http://www.thetreadmillguide.com

footiam said...

Thank you Sarah for visiting and commenting. Do visit often and comment often!

Have another serving of Travel Pangs!