People of all religions around the world visit Bodh Gaya. The streets are laced with children who beg. The place of Buddha’s enlightenment draws every year thousands of credulous tourists who can’t resist these children’s big sad eyes. Wanting to help, they give money with the hope they will make an impact on their lives.
Most of them are unaware that by so doing, they are worsening the children’s situation. Easy money is alluring, which encourages many parents to send off their offspring to the streets. From a tender age they are the main source of income for their families. Around the age of 15, their marketability as beggars decreases tremendously. Teenagers without education slide into delinquency or into complete poverty. Their children will learn the same ways, ensuring that the practice of begging remains a main survival means on the streets of Bodh Gaya.
The “Ao Zora Children Educational Welfare Trust” School in Bodh Gaya offers its pupils free education, while providing orphans with shelter and food in its precinct. Unfortunately the space suffices for only 100 children. Funds are limited and vary according to season. Due to limited space, the small number of staff and few sanitary facilities, the school can accommodate only male orphans.
Nevertheless, with our help and support, an extension of our new school can be built. This would create additional space for orphan girls and an overall number of 100 extra students. Such an effort is sensitive to the fact that girls from developing countries require special assistance in gaining equal rights and opportunities, and generally in securing a successful life.
Our organization “Education for Bodh Gaya” (Bildung für Bodh Gaya e.V) assists the “Ao Zora Children Welfare Trust” in India. We support children in creating a life away from the streets, and believe in the fundamental value of education.