UN Parallel Event III: Empowering Children through Education to Break Free from Poverty

During a parallel event held by the Buddha's Light International Association (BLIA) in conjunction with the 68th session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW68), BLIA World Headquarters Secretary-General Ven. Chueh Pei, addressing via video, expressed hope that BLIA's efforts in the India Hope Village Education Program would be recognized globally, drawing increased attention and participation.

Ven. Chueh Pei emphasized that the India Hope Village Education Program goes beyond mere rescue; its aim is to equip impoverished children with the tools to break free from poverty in the future. "As Venerable Master Hsing Yun has stated, our mission extends beyond mere aid and alleviation of poverty; we aim to empower these children to navigate life's challenges independently. Hence, BLIA remains steadfast in providing continuous educational opportunities to facilitate their journey out of poverty."

Reflecting on her ordination experience in India in 1998, which deeply impacted her, Ven. Chueh Pei shared a poignant question she posed to Venerable Master Hsing Yun during her time there: Why, after 2500 years since Buddha's birth in this land, has equality, as envisioned by Buddha, not been realized in this society? 

She revealed Venerable Master Hsing Yun's response, attributing the challenge to Buddhism's emphasis on equality values, which are difficult to assimilate into mainstream society, resulting in groups labelled as "Sudras" or "untouchables" remaining marginalized to this day.

"Therefore, it is imperative that we collectively strive to promote equality and contribute to achieving this goal. The Hope Village project serves as a reminder that despite daunting challenges, perseverance can bring forth hope and change."

Ven. Chueh Pei underscored the importance of instilling hope in vulnerable groups, emphasizing that it transcends financial assistance, recognizing the inherent Buddha nature within each individual. With this ethos guiding their actions, BLIA is dedicated to providing educational opportunities for these children.

"Venerable Master Hsing Yun embodies the principles of equality in his actions, allowing us all to glean such values from him." Ven. Chueh Pei highlighted the role of Bhikkhunis from Fo Guang Shan as both beneficiaries and caretakers in the journey toward practicing equality and aiding those in need.