Bodhicitta Girl’s Home is a boarding school/barefoot university in Bodhicitta Ashram where 30 adolescent girls from poor families from villiages and urban slums in Bihar and Maharashtra can get 3 years of training.
Along with spiritual training, they will also have a chance to complete a social work degree, become a health worker or nurse as well as develop other skills required to become a Changemaker such as:
- Leadership skills
- Counselling and health skills
- Computer skills
- Self defence
- Basic knowledge of how to report crimes and navigate the Indian legal system
- Education and training skills to train others in basic employment.
At the end of 2015 we have just signed up a lease on a building where we will start Bodhcittia Ashram where will host Girls Home centre. The building is 3 storeys high and has 6 large rooms. We are excited to finally have enough space for our girls to study and learn social work. We are just painting the walls and fixing broken windows before we move in. There are much more works to be done. We estimate it will cost about $70,000 to run the centre in the first year.
Hopefully by the end of 2016 we can invest in a piece of land close to Nagpur with a bit of space for our girls to walk in nature and exercise as well as a place to hold retreats. It does not make financial sense to rent in the long term, when we could be investing in a legacy that we can pass onto future generations.
Help us achieve our goal to build a sanctuary for these girls and give them another option to choose from for their life.
Why Bodhicitta Girls Home?
India has the highest number of child brides in the world, although the incidence has been decreasing. Less girls are marrying before the age of 15 (from 23.5% to 18.2%), but rates of marriage have increased for girls between ages 15-18 (26.7% to 29.2%).
Major factors perpetuating child marriage are economic considerations (poverty, marriage-related expenses, dowry), gender norms and expectations, concerns about girls’ safety and family honour, and a lack of educational opportunities for girls.
47% of girls in India are married before the age of 18. 18% are married before they are 15. This stunts the girl’s physical and emotional growth, exposes them to dangerous births, sex and responsibilities before they are physically and emotionally ready to deal with them and cuts short their chance to get an education and any hope of an independent life.
Girls who grow up in slums are often not able to study in peace, as they are expected to do many domestic tasks and serve their brothers. Their families lack resources to send them to college and will often see them as a ‘thief at the table’ and try to marry them off to relieve financial pressure and protect their virginity. Bodhicitta Foundation will offer these girls a safe place to study and finish growing up and give them skills they need for independent lives.
Help us raise funds to build a Girl’s Hostel, a socially-engaged Buddhist Centre. This is a place where women can find refuge in the Buddha’s teachings, where young women can get a university degree by correspondence and also study Buddhism by taking temporary ordination.
This Girls’ Hostel will help empower and train women leaders. When these women leave the hostel to return to their villages, they can then educate other women, create employment and self-help groups, and become agents of change in themselves.