The Karma Project
Posted in the Buddhism Forum
#1 Jan 28, 2013
Glasgow mum sets up life-changing project to provide schools and skills for children in India
14 hrs ago from DailyRecord.co.uk
FIVE years after visiting India on a month-long trip, Ann Roberts has set up The Karma Project which provides skills and schools for youngsters, teenagers and young women in Bihar.
Ann Roberts and Sanjay Kumar set up The Karma Project
Phil Dye/Daily Record
A PILGRIMAGE is meant to change your life, but when Ann Roberts set off on a month-long trip to India, she had no idea it would turn hers upside down.
Five years later, the 57-year-old from Glasgow is living and working in the northern state of Bihar where, with her partner Sanjay Kumar, she is helping local children get the education they so desperately need.
Ann and Sanjay run the Karma Guest House in Bodh Gaya and have set up The Karma Project, which provides skills and schools for youngsters as young as four, up to teenagers and young women.
Ann said: "Sometimes I can't believe how lucky I am and sometimes I wonder what on Earth I'm doing."
The couple make jewellery, clothes, quilts, pottery and devotional items to help fundraise for the project. Every year, during the rainy season, they come to Scotland to sell their wares.
"What I miss most about Scotland is a good gossip. People in India just don't gossip," she said. "I miss my daughter and friends like hell as well.
#2 Jan 28, 2013
But I knew as soon as I got to Bodh Gaya that I would be going back there. I'd written in my journal that I wanted to find my "nowhere" - the place where I belonged - and Bodh Gaya is it."
Bodh Gaya is where the Buddha became enlightened. Every year, it attracts thousands of pilgrims and sightseers to the Mahabodhi Temple, a Unesco World Heritage Site where Ann and Sanjay work as volunteers.
Ann was born and brought up in Glasgow's Castlemilk and raised her daughter Lisa, now 31, alone. After qualifying and working as a child psychologist, she joined the then City of Glasgow Police Force, becoming their first plain clothes policewoman and, as the only female detective constable, she was frequently seconded to the drug squad.
She then worked as a private investigator, ran her own marketing business and qualified as an holistic therapist. The latter skill she still employs in India.
Since moving to Bodh Gaya, she has taken a Masters degree in Buddhism at nearby Magadh University.
Ann has been a practising Buddhist for 20 years and 32-year-old Sanjay, born a Hindu, was educated by Buddhist monks from the age of three and was a monk himself in Korea. They met and became close when Sanjay was a guide for the pilgrimage that brought Ann to India.
They are both Mitras, which means friends, of the Triratna Buddhist Order, which has Mitras and Order Members in the West and India. The pilgrimage was organised by the Glasgow Buddhist Centre.
Ann said: "When I first arrived in Bodh Gaya he was my interpreter and I relied on him for everything.
"I was accepted quite early on, although the first year was difficult. The Indian women would just walk past me as if I wasn't there."
As for the age gap, Ann said: "Age is a state of mind. And Sanjay's mind is much older and wiser than mine."
Ann with some of the children she has helped to educate in Bihar
When the Karma Project launched, Ann and Sanjay expected little more than a dozen children to turn up. On the first day, 46 came for lessons.
By the third day it was 90 and they had to start a waiting list. Now 79 children, aged four to 14, are taught by three teachers for four hours a day, six days a week.
Ann said: "It's the parents who are a problem, particularly with girls. They don't see the point of educating girls."
One of her scariest experiences was when Ann and Sanjay were robbed at gunpoint on a train to Calcutta.
Their pa ssports, money and jewellery were taken, leaving them in a strange city with no ID or cash. In a fortuitous twist of fate, some street children showed them to a homeless hostel.
A fitting reward for a couple who plough every penny they make back into The Karma Project.
Contact The Karma Project by email [email protected]
Since: Apr 12
#3 Feb 8, 2013
You must highlight your objectives to get some exposure and attract some fundings
from which ever source. May be small donations from public
#4 Feb 27, 2013
you are so right... any suggestions
Since: Apr 12
#5 Feb 27, 2013
Please research on Google how you could
Give the project more exposure so interested people can support you. Count me in If I
could do anything personally to help you.
#6 Feb 27, 2013
Look into opening a non-profit organization and then get a pay pal account to receive donations.
Since: Apr 12
#7 Feb 27, 2013
Thanks for your suggestion and hope they read it and enquire about it. You are so nice.
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