Triratna News

Aryaloka Computer Education opens third branch in India

Posted by lokabandhu on Fri, 5 April, 2013 - 06:17
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lokabandhu
Aryaketu writes from India with the news that Triratna’s Aryaloka Computer Education project, founded by him in India some twelve years ago, has just opened its third branch at Bhilgaon, outside Nagpur.

Aryaloka specialises in providing high-quality computer IT training for students from slum and village areas. He says - “In addition to opening our third branch, we have also established community facilities for 7 to 9 women students. In addition to the IT course and the experience of living in community, we offer personality development training, English and Self-defense technique to our stdents, who all come from disadvantaged parts of society. All these together gives them confidence to live a better life and to find a better job, in fact it creates a huge impact on their family and their whole village. Not only that, it inspires other women to join course and the community.”

And Shakyajata, a regular visitor from the UK, writes -

“The new branch of Aryaloka Computer Education at Bhilgaon, is an initiative designed especially to benefit young women from poor families in the neighbouring states, and local young people of both sexes. It is on the roof of Aryaketu’s family home, which makes it a safe environment for young women, (this is crucial in reassuring their parents; they may never have travelled outside their village before) as well as giving them the ever-present opportunity to practise their computing skills.

“The Institute at Bhilgaon (near Nagaloka) consists of a large double room equipped with a number of computers (8 at my last count, and growing!) and a nicely appointed community room with attached kitchen and bathroom, where the young women live. They are a self-sufficient, self-organising community run on Buddhist principles, providing a taste of independence, responsibility, and firm friendship, for 9 women aged 18 - 24. In 6 months of intensive training, they acquire skills in computing/internet, simple accounting, Photoshop, DTP, and basic computer repairs, as well as learning English, having assertiveness training and plenty of Dhamma activities (eg meditation every morning, puja every evening, Dhamma study.)

“They have regular support and friendship from local Order Members and mitras, including Aryaketu’s father and mother. But their biggest support and comfort is Sheetal, Aryaketu’s wife, who is their mother, (maam) sister, (didi) friend, spiritual friend, tutor, nurse, etc. etc…..it would not be my choice, to have my job and a bunch of late-adolescent young women on the roof of my home, but she seems to thrive on it, and does a magnificent job. She will also help the young women in the next stage of their new life, where they are going to set up a self-sufficient community for working women. This in turn will be the foundation of yet another branch of AES, in their home city of Raipur, in the neighbouring state of Chhattisgarh, where there is much poverty and miserably few opportunities for vocational training for young people.

“Sheetal also teaches other students in the institute itself, (sometimes at 7 am!) The numbers are growing, of these local young people, some of whom are ‘private’ students whose fees help to support the Institute Branch. However, the women’s community students are fully supported by Young Indian Futures, a small fundraising project initiated by Shakyajata and friends. The next group of girls (starting in September) have already been selected, but their fees have not been found yet; if you would like to help, go to www.justgiving.com/youngindianfutures and help to transform the lives of more young women, who would otherwise have no career openings at all”.

For more information on Aryaloka, including their new animations project, check their page on thebuddhistcentre at thebuddhistcentre.com/aryaloka-education.

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