What happens when a tourist location is turned into a home of opportunities — an opportunity to make a difference? 76-year-old Jeanne Pere, a French national, along with Yuki Inoue from Japan and Monica Mass from Germany, came together to build an institution of skill development for rural women near the famous pilgrim city of Bodh Gaya.
The institute trains the rural women of Shripur, Shekhwara, and Matihani villages that are in close proximity to the tourist destination of Bodh Gaya. The villages lack opportunities, pushing many to move out to bigger cities in search of work, but there still remains a set of women and children fending for themselves by begging on the streets.
These foreigners, who have now made Bodh Gaya their home, invited their friends from all over the world to contribute to the cause that would help these rural women get financially independent and empowered. Donors from Russia, Australia and the US came forward to be a part of this cause and Pere finally managed to open a sewing training centre in Moratand village.
Pere has set up charitable schools for children before and has some experience in this work
The lady from Japan, Yuki Inoue moved to the area after she married a local and dedicated her life to Buddhist teachings of social work and volunteering. She and Pere have been working together to change the circumstances of the women and children in the region. Member of the Happy Science Community, she was helped with funding of the school she set up for the children in Bodh Gaya.
Inoue set up the Surya Bharti School for underprivileged kids where admission, dress and books come free
The third member to be a part of this initiative was Monica Mass of Germany who frequently volunteered at the Bodhi Tree Campus. The women who train at the sewing institute have been able to manufacture products that are sold not just in India, but even in the markets of Europe. The Big Bazaar outlet in Bodh Gaya also features these women’s work to help the cause.
The women produce designer school bags, purses, carry bags, bouquet, toys and kitchen tools that are marketed in European countries with assistance of overseas volunteers
The time and effort put into this initiative has surely borne fruit. A cause driven by a simple act of benevolence and dedication surely does opens one’s minds about the possibility of opportunities that come with an idea. News Source: HT Feature Image Courtesy: Karuna-Shechen