About Us

Bodhicitta Foundation is a grassroots Buddhist Charity working in the slums of Central India.

We work with the ex-untouchable Indian Buddhists, who converted to Buddhism in 1956 to escape the discrimination of the Indian caste system. We also work with other poor Tribal and Hindu communities around the area. Our focus is predominantly with women and children, as they are most statistically impacted by poverty, discrimination, and patriarchy in India.

Founded in 2010, we work in Nagpur and the surrounding rural areas. Temperatures are variable, and often reach 48° C (118° F). While we’re based in Central India, the girls in our home are from across the country, often travelling great distances to live with us.

The Indian community we work with are largely people who have been held back by the Caste System. Women and children often fall prey to domestic violence, harsh and exploitative work, child marriage, disease, and often struggle to even survive. Ayya Yeshe, with her locally trained staff, are striving to help them overcome discrimination, reclaim their human dignity, and help them realise their full potential. 

Our history

Our Founder

Meet Our Team

Bodhicitta Foundation hires and trains only local people. Their life has been changed in a better way and in turn they gave back to their local community.

Shalini Rangare

I feel that working for Bodhicitta Foundation has given my life meaning. As a mother I have been blessed with two healthy children. But as a social worker, the whole world is my family. I am so proud to represent Bodhicitta at public events and to act as assistant manager at many functions. I believe in the power of a few committed people to change the lives of many, like a small rock sending ripples accross the water

Mahendra Khobragade

I really like my job. It feels good to empower poor people and make a difference. When I was younger I didn’t have good role models, but thanks to Bodhicitta Foundation, I have come a long way. I have completed a social work degree and enjoy going to work in the morning.

Wanita Khadse

I think nutrition and the 6000 meals we make every year for slum children make a huge difference to their lives. Food is life, so proper nutrition gives children a good chance at life, at reaching their potential and their dreams. Many of the staff of Bodhicitta Foundation India have also come from disadvantaged backgrounds. I have known hunger, and no child should have to know that, when in other places on earth we throw out perfectly good food.

Manisha Khadse

I have personally seen the struggles and inequality poor women and girls go through to get access to education and equal rights. I became determined to get an education and be financially independent. It’s a pleasure to help children grow and learn in a good way. Everyone has the potential for amazing things, we just need to water good seeds in them.

Pooja Koche

I work part time as a tuition teacher for Bodhicitta Foudation, empowering children from poor families with education. I think knowledge is power. If people know their rights, if they can read legal documents and have self confidence, it’s much harder to bend their backs. No one wil give us our rights if we don’t stand up for them. Instilling a sense of confidence, love and self respect in the children is my contribution to a better and more just world.

Vaishali Khamble

I am the first person in my family to finish high school and have a university degree. I can see our community has come a long way, from virtual slavery, to dignity. It is a great privelege to have a job aligned with what you most deeply value, to daily get up and do something that you know is making the world a better place. That is how I feel about our girl’s education hostel. I feel we are creating change makers that will return to their communities and sew big improvements

Maruti Khadse

I was a child worker. I didn’t finish my education. But I am so proud to work for an organisation that gives children and women dignity. My children are all educated and my daughters are independent and studying social work. I believe a better world will come, because I can see thanks to education and knowledge the next generation of our community have more freedom, access to resources and confidence. I hope our organisation gets bigger and bigger.

DR B.R Ambedkar & Some of the Communities We Work With

The Human Rights Hero and Dalit Activist of India

With the financial help of the Maharaja Gaekwad of Baroda and due to his own hard work and intelligence, Dr Ambedkar studied at Elphinstone High School and Elphinstone College in Bombay. In 1913, he went to study at Columbia University, New York, on a three-year scholarship from the Maharaja.

In 1906 Dr Ambedkar married Ramabhai, he was aged 15 and Ramabai was Eight (common at the time).  They had five children – Yashwant, Gangadhar, Ramesh, Indu (daughter) and Rajratna. Apart from Yashwant (1912–1977), the other four died in their childhood. Ramabhai was instrumental in making sure Dr Ambedkar could continue to study overseas. Ramabhai died aged 37. Dr Ambedkar’s second marriage was to a  Savita Sharada Kaberle, a medical doctor and a Brahmin. He described this marriage as happier, although many Dalits view his second wife with mistrust.

Ambedkar studied economics at Columbia University and the London School of Economics, receiving doctorates in 1927 and 1923, respectively, and was among a handful of Indian students to have done so at either institution in the 1920s. In his early career, he was an economist, professor, and lawyer. Returning to India Dr Ambedkar took on the surname of a Brahmin Teacher because his own family name would mean he could find nowhere to rent (he was homeless several times due to this) and much discrimination. Fellow office staff would refuse to hand him files, not wanting to be “polluted”. 

My final words of advice to you is “Educate, Agitate, Organize” have faith in yourself. With justice on our side, I do not see how we can lose our battle. The battle to me is a matter of joy. The battle is in the fullest sense spiritual. There is nothing material or social in it. For ours is a battle not for wealth or for power. It is a battle for freedom, it is in the deepest sense spiritual. It is a battle to reclaim our humanity and dignity.”

– Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar

His later life was marked by his political activities; he became involved in campaigning and negotiations for partition, publishing journals, advocating political rights and social freedom for Dalits, and contributing to the establishment of the state of India, he drafted the Indian constitution, which outlaws caste discrimination. In 1956, he converted to Buddhism, initiating mass conversions of Dalits, converting with several hundred thousand people from his community. Dr Ambedkar led many non violent struggles to end caste discrimination, such as drinking from a well prohibited to dalits, burn the Manu Smrti (a text that describes women and low caste people as sub human, sinful and needing to be “led” and controlled by upper caste people). When protesting for a separate voting electorate for Dalits, Dr Ambedkar had to stand down due to the passive violence of Gandhi going on a fast to the death to stop Dalits advocating for their rights. Unlike many Westerners who view Gandhi as a hero for Dalits, Dalits themselves view him with less enthusiasm, as someone who wanted to preserve old oppressive structures with benevolent casteism, and recognise Ambedkar and Jyoti Bhai Phule and others as the real heros and heroines of the struggle to end casteism. Dr Ambedkar can be compared to Martin Luther King Jr, non violently and valiantly fighting for human rights. He could have led a comfortable life in exile, but chose to fight the impossible fight and led a very hard and frustrating life, dying prematurely at 65. Despite the almost constant hardship and discrimination he faced, he never crumbled in the face of evil, kept his ideals and triumphed over adversity, showing profound care and foresight for both women, those oppressed by caste and poverty. He write extensively on the evil of caste and poverty and believed economic development, progress and education could elevate Dalits.