UN Parallel Event I:  BLIA's "Hope Village" Project Sheds Light on Those in Need

Venerable Master Hsing Yun, founder of Fo Guang Shan and inaugural president of the International Buddha’s Light Association, is revered among disciples as "the Light Giver" for bringing hope and transformation to those in need. Master Hsing Yun has spearheaded various educational projects worldwide, including the Nan Hua Performing Arts Group in South Africa, Guang Ming College in the Philippines, Sons of Buddha in Brazil, and the Under the Big Tree program in India. These initiatives serve as beacons of hope, providing a ray of light in the lives of those facing adversity.

On March 14th, members of the BLIA, both monastic and lay, convened a parallel event during the 68th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW68) at the United Nations. They introduced the Chennai Hope Village Education Project, aiming to not only share experiences but also raise awareness about the poverty issues faced by the Dalits in India.

Master Hsing Yun's dedication to education, continued by his disciples, remains steadfast in addressing global challenges. On the international stage, they showcase tangible results of continuous efforts, demonstrating how educational initiatives can uplift people from despair.

Since 2017, the BLIA has presented reports on their educational work, poverty alleviation efforts, and women's empowerment during CSW parallel events. This year, they shared the results of the Hope Village Education Project in India, highlighting its alignment with the principles of equality in Humanistic Buddhism.

Panelists at the event "Hope Through Education: India's Hope Village" included Venerable Yung Ku, Vice Secretary-General for America East; Venerable Jue Cheng, Vice Secretary-General for Southeast Asia; Venerable Miao Ru, Abbess of Fo Guang Shan Kolkata Buddhist Centre; and Dr. Geethakumari, President of BLIA-Chennai. They shared poignant stories from Hope Village, while Ms. Mabel Lam, Director of the United Nations Affairs Committee, discussed how BLIA activities align with the UN's 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

Venerable Jue Cheng, pioneer of the Hope Village Education Project, witnessed the dire living conditions in Dalit villages during a 2017 visit to BLIA-Chennai, India. Inspired by Master Hsing Yun's compassionate will, she initiated an education project, renaming the villages "Hope Villages" to instill dignity and hope. Despite his illness, Master Hsing Yun contributed calligraphic artworks to fund the project, emphasizing the importance of education in transforming lives.

"We envision children with access to education, nutritious food, and hygienic living conditions," emphasized Venerable Jue Cheng. He rallied members of Fo Guang Shan and BLIA to assist wherever poverty persists, urging all to join in this meaningful endeavor.