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From The Abhayaratna Trust, FutureDharma Fund / India Dhamma Trust and The Karuna Trust.
In response to the coronavirus pandemic that is putting many people and communities in desperate circumstances in India, a number of appeals have been initiated by Triratna Trusts and individuals both in the East and the West.
In Europe, The Abhayaratna Trust, FutureDharma/India Dhamma Trust and the Karuna Trust/Karuna Germany are all active in raising and distributing emergency relief funds to people in need in India. In addition, Subhuti launched an appeal on Buddha Day to support Triratna groups in India involved in relief work. There are also a number of Triratna appeals on social media and those generated by Indian centres and groups which are beyond our scope to outline here.
We’d like to clarify each particular Trust’s position in raising money for people and projects in India so that you are clearer about their particular focus.
Firstly, we want to say that the response from within our community has been tremendous! We thank everyone within Triratna for the very generous donations that you have given, the skills you have shared and time you have volunteered so far. A special, and deep felt thanks goes to the Order members, mitras and friends in India who are going out to local train stations, into slums, or setting up roadside stalls to help feed and support starving migrant workers. They are true Bodhisattva heroes and cannot be celebrated enough!
We know that many of you are giving to all of these appeals and it is a credit to our Order and Movement that we are responding so effectively to support those on the front line in India. However, the work is far from over and our brothers and sisters in India, and the communities they serve, need us to keep giving. The scale and the need in India will be very great for what looks like a long time and they are responding to a genuine humanitarian crisis.
The Abhayaratna Trust
The Abhayaratna Trust makes direct grants to individual Order members known to be experiencing financial hardship. In response to the suffering arising from the coronavirus pandemic, the Trust quickly set up a worldwide Coronavirus Emergency Fund for the Order and made cash grants to Order members in India, the UK, Spain, Mexico and the USA. In India particularly, some of our brothers and sisters in the Order are experiencing acute levels of hardship and The Abhayaratna Trust is working with the Indian Order Office to get financial support to those Individuals most in need of help to afford food and housing bills for them and their families. The Abhayaratna Trust exists to support individual Order members rather than projects or institutions.
So far, the Trust has made much needed grants to 54 Order members in India. Based on information from the Indian Order Office, support is needed for at least another 70 Order members; in addition, some of those who have already received a grant may need further support this summer. To meet this urgent need, we want to raise at least 600,000 Indian Rupees (approx. £6,000).
If you can support this appeal, please donate securely here and visit www.abhayaratnatrust.org to learn more.
2. FutureDharma Fund / India Dhamma Trust
The FutureDharma Fund in partnership with the India Dhamma Trust funds a number of projects and teams in India, including the Ordination Teams, the Movement Coordinator, and the Indian Youth Teams. Many of these are actively involved in coordinating the distribution of food parcels and other emergency responses to the coronavirus.
Furthermore, the Indian Ordination teams are unable to raise their own funds at this time and members of the teams are facing serious financial hardship. FutureDharma has been asked to increase funding for the Indian Ordination Teams. The men’s and women’s Ordination teams in India play a vital role in our community offering spiritual training, friendship and guidance. It is vital to our movement that they are able to continue these during the crisis.
That’s why FutureDharma in partnership with the Indian Dhamma Trust has launched the Thrive Online appeal to fund these projects in India and other projects around the world which are resourcing our Sangha in these unprecedented and challenging times.
If you would like to know more about the projects and to give, please visit: FutureDharma Thrive Online.
3. Karuna Trust / Karuna Germany
Founded in 1980, Karuna exists to end caste-based discrimination, poverty and inequality in India and Nepal. Within days of the COVID-19 lockdown, Karuna along with its sister charity, Karuna Germany, launched appeals to provide emergency aid for their partners in India and Nepal.
So far, Karuna has made large grants to 24 different long-standing partner organisations providing either food aid, medical supplies or counselling and support for the most vulnerable communities, reaching an estimated 135,000 people. The vast majority of those who have been helped are daily wage labourers – people who live hand-to-mouth on the income they receive each day. Without the ability to work, they have had no savings to fall back on and are not able to afford basic needs like food or healthcare. They remain highly vulnerable and, in response, Karuna’s relief work continues.
Karuna supports a range of partners and a significant number are social projects run by Order members or Mitras. They have been working around the clock to respond to the near endless suffering they encounter. Even though lockdown is easing in some Western countries, huge numbers in India continue to suffer acute levels of hardship and deprivation.
To support Karuna to continue this vital emergency work and to find out more, visit the Karuna appeal webpage.
4. Buddha Day Appeal
On Buddha Day, Subhuti launched a new Appeal for Triratna-led relief work in India. A GoFundMe page was set up and, through the Dhammaloka Trust (a charity registered in the UK), the funds raised were transferred to TBMSG Nagpur, which is holding them on behalf of the Coronavirus Response Committee, made up of Dhammacharis and Dhammacharinis from various centres in India, which is coordinating this relief effort across India.
Up to a 100 Triratna locations and groups have responded to the crisis including 34 Triratna Centres, 15 Triratna social projects (Bahujan Hitay) and other Triratna organisations such as Aryaloka Computer Education, Bahujan Hitay Society, National Network of Buddhist Youth, Triratna Youth Council, and alumni of the Nagaloka Training Institute.
At the time of the appeal they had distributed food parcels to nearly 12,000 families and 60,000 people across India (Maharashtra, Uttarpradesh, Delhi, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Kerala, Tamilnadu etc) and the work continues. As well as going to the slums in many villages, towns, and cities, Order members, Mitras, and friends are going daily to principal railway stations to give out food parcels, water, and oral rehydration salts to the thousands of destitute migrant workers travelling back to their villages without money, food, and water. The crisis is now getting worse as the economic consequences of the Lockdown hit poor Indians harder and harder.
Please support this appeal by visiting its page here.
Thank you for supporting these appeals and for standing in solidarity with our Movement in India.
Mahasraddha, Director, Abhayaratna Trust
Padmadaka, CEO, Karuna Trust
Nandavajra, Director, Future Dharma Fund
Vajratara, Chair, India Dhamma Trust