3-Year Anniversary

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This month Lokuttara Leadership Academy celebrated its 3-year anniversary. And we welcomed our 5th batch of residential students to our boys' hostel. In addition, we launched Blossom, our new girls' hostel, and welcomed our first batch of residential girls.  

 

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Our teachers have been creating a new literacy curriculum for students who have never studied Malayalam. The students get up early, and on their own they study for 2 hours before breakfast. At night after dinner they study 2 more hours. We are so impressed by how motivated these students are and how committed they are to building their academic skills. 

 

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The students have fun too. They have created a weekly newsletter, summarizing the week's activities. And we have had a cultural program, where students perform for one another and for the team. We are very proud of these new students and grateful to our supporters for believing in us. Thank you!

Franklin's Vision about Jai Bhim International

Hello Friends,

Usually I’m not the one that speaks with you here in the blog, you all may know me from the previous blogpost, my name is Franklin Silva and I work as a multi-level volunteer for Jai Bhim International and Dayamudra. 

Looking back to May I can see how much this work had changed me and why I’m proud of the path that I have chosen. Work for JBI made me see all the beautiful things that are around us, giving them my time and my efforts, aiming results and life changing for those who needs, made me be like this, made me believe even more in the power of the people as well our naturally connection with others and compassion, but the best self accomplishment is that now every day has become a bit more colorful and fascinating. 

How can I say that I changed someone’s life if I’m so “improved” as person because of them? 

I learned in those months that even if you are doing the most simple volunteer work, you gonna learn and receive something, not always material but for your body and your soul.

Bunch, Yoga Fest, Dinners, Indiegogo Campaign, Website Updates, Social Media Management etc. Its been a busy year, I have learned since Yoga moves to how create and manage a catching Instagram account walking through the improvement of my writing skills. Was it hard? yes; Was it more than I ever thought about be working voluntarily? 10 times more work than I thought; Is it grateful? 100 times more; Should I do it again? off course!; I cannot be more proud of our results because part of them is my work’s impact.  

9 days to our indiegogo Campaign finishes, and 15 days to my luggages and myself be send to Brazil, time is running so fast. I decided 7 months ago to put strength in something that will be part of a greatest thing, will bring freedom to people. How are you going to start your year with? With path will you choose? Are you here in this world not for make it a better place? Those questions made me choose.

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I chose Jai Bhim!

-Franklin Silva

Thank You, JBI Interns!

Happy Holidays! It has been busy here at JBI headquarters wrapping up 2014 and preparing for 2015. What a full year! We had our best retreat yet in Kerala last December- January. And on New Years' eve Arun, Sanghapali and I were on an overnight  bus journey from Kerala to Chennai, to gather with Nancy, Jagan, Nabiya and The Sakya students. It felt like a family reunion!

Then back in San Francisco we had two fun fundraisers, an Indian Brunch at The New Delhi restaurant and a Yoga Fest at The SF Buddhist Center. And on the East Coast we gathered with family friends and supporters to celebrate Dayamudra's 50th birthday, and The Bedford Post hosted a Thanksgiving Restorative Yoga fundraiser, led by Dayamudra and her 8-year old niece as her Assistant! OUr friends on both coasts of the U.S. gave us so much love.

In 2014 we have been lucky to have the support of our two wonderful Interns, Franklin and Daniel this year. They were behind the scenes at our brunch and our Yoga Fest, doing publicity and organizing our social media. And at the events they were greeting guests, attending to details and leading the volunteers with that special Brasilian warmth and style! 

This Fall they designed and ran our Indie Gogo "Give Them Shelter" campaign, to build a girls' dorm at Sakya Hostels. They were a committed, caring  team, even over the Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's holidays.

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/give-them-shelter-build-a-girls-dorm-in-india/x/2320310

Daniel and Franklin have brought so much vision, wisdom, and compassion to this project. Our team in India is astounded at all their love for our students, students they have never even met! It speaks to the magic of our JBI youth and how they touch the hearts of our new friends from all corners of the globe.

We are sad now to see our Interns packing their bags now to return to Brasil. We are trying to convince them to visit our projects in India so WE can give THEM shelter! Please leave comments thanking these two young men for all they contributed to our global community of friends. We are very very grateful.

Jai Bhim! Happy New Year, Dayamudra and the JBI Team 

Christmas in Kerala

I have spent the last 8 Christmases in Kerala, and what I love most is the drumming. Once the sun sets it comes from all directions, across the rice paddies and from all corners of the village. Traditional rhythms and song at a very loud volume. It goes all night, and for days. It is what the Keralans call Christmas Caroling, but it is more like Carnival-meets-Halloween. Young men go door to door, drumming, accompanied by a skinny Santa who dances. And then they pass around the hat. The first time I saw this rail-thin Santa, pink face and brown hands, with his belt wrapped around his waist twice, dancing into a mad frenzy, I got a fit of the giggles that lasted for hours. But the rhythms are amazing, and they are serious! Kerala is known for its music, particularly its drumming, as well as for its many styles of dance. Everywhere it's lit up with Christmas lights. Blue seems to be a particular favorite. And folks hang stars in front of their shops and on the front porches of their homes. In mini malls a statue of Santa might play the guitar or the saxophone, in a snowy landscape that could include snowmen, rams, polar bears, giraffes and flamingos. It's Kerala's own home-grown blend of Christmas merriment, and now it feels familiar. Traditional even!

Dayamudra Dennehy

Reflections from the Sakya Hostels

When you donate, it is not the amount that matters, it is what comes as a result. Every accomplishment of our girls is your personal accomplishment too. It is because of your faith in our  work that we can continue doing what we do.  You have an important role in our team of supporters, and that keeps us moving forward. Here is a big Thank You from our students and our Director at Sakya Hostels saying thanks for your help through their different accomplishments. It is your accomplishment too !! 

Jai Bhim !

Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar

Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar 1891-1956

On this day, December 6th, in 1956, Dr. Ambedkar, the man who inspires our work, the Chief Architect of the Indian Constitution, passed away. It is a solemn day in the Dalit community. It is a day to appreciate a man who dedicated his life to social justice, to the rights of women, to true democracy. He was a man who had a passion for learning his whole life, who was dedicated to reason over superstition, to progress over tradition. He was a man who had great faith in young people and their capacity to lead a social revolution. His message to youth was, "Educate. Agitate. Organize." Dr. Ambedkar had great vision, great energy, great commitment. On our team we often ponder how he did what he did. One man facing so many obstacles, facing centuries of oppression against his people. How was he able to organize so effectively? and with no television? no mobile phone? no social media?! He is an example to us everyday. The days when we are hopeful and the days when we have doubts. He is an example to us of what is possible, individually and collectively. With Dr. Ambedkar in mind on this day we recommit to educating, agitating and organizing. Jai Bhim!

Our first Indiegogo Campaign has begun!

Jbi Dreamers!

Today we begin our biggest Web Fundraising Campaign, we are so excited and proud about all that you as supporter helped us already. Our big challenge is build a dormitory for girl students at Sakya Hostels.  Our girls need Shelter, so Give them Shelter!

Clicking here you can Access our Campaign's Page and take a closely look at our mission. Spread our voice with your friends and share our campaign.

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We are all Jai Bhim!

Yoga Fest!

Our day-long Yoga Fest at the SF Buddhist Center in The Mission is coming tomorrow!

It is 6 hours of practice, starting with Buddhist chanting and a guided meditation, then one-hour asana practice on the half-hour led by 5 wonderful Yoginis, finishing with a Buddhist puja and chanting. 
Come for an hour, a few hours, or the whole day. 

An opportunity to come together in celebration of yoga and community.

See below our day-long program with a introduction about our brilliant teachers! 

10:00 - 10:25 Welcome! Buddhist Chanting and Guided Meditation led by Dh. Hridayashri

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Our YogaFest is not just yoga! There will be meditation and chanting to start the day, and it will be led by our dear friend  Hridayashri. Dhammacarini Hridayashri is a Buddhist ordained in the Triratana Buddhist Order, as well as a professional photographer, an accomplished rock climber and a terrific cook and baker. She teaches meditation at the Buddhist Center and often organizes the meals on our retreats. To know Hridayashri is to be nurtured by her. She and her husband Prasadachitta have supported our team on the ground in San Francisco in so many ways, from doing lay-outs for flyers and appeal cards to bringing joy to our fundraisers. We are very grateful for their love and support. Jai Bhim, Hridayashri!

10:30 -11:25 Morning Flow with Jody Hahn

Yoga Teacher Training Program (Los Angeles) in 2003. Elements of Anusara, Vinyasa flow, Ashtanga, and life are incorporated to create dynamic, challenging, fun classes.  Jody enjoys teaching students of all ability levels and focus on creating a safe practice by using verbal and hands-on adjustments for correct alignment.  In order to accommodate varying skill levels she recommends alternative poses and pose modifications when necessary. 

her classes are infused with the philosophy that we are engaged in a process at all times which can be illustrated by finishing any statement with "yet": "I can't do this (yet)"... "I'm not flexible (yet)." If we can be involved in the process and not focused solely on the outcome, then both the process and the outcome may be surprising and rewarding. We are explorers - discovering poses, discovering mental clarity, discovering how we deal with challenges and, maybe, discovering some spiritual awareness. Oh, yeah - and it helps to keep a sense of humor about all of it.
Jai Bhim, Jody!

11:30 - 12:25 Stillness and Balance with Elise Collins

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This is the second JBI fundraiser where Elise will be leading yoga with us. 2 years ago she put on a pair of butterfly wings and taught a wonderful family yoga class. It is always fun working with Elise! Elise and Dayamudra met at a Restorative Yoga Training with our inspiring teacher Judith Lasater, and Elise teaches an amazing Restorative class. Take a look at her video to learn more about her approach to Restorative: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OZzALwrYIOI

Elise will be leading our 11:30 morning yoga Session, Stillness and Balance. We are very grateful for Elsie's open heart adn the many ways she has supported JBI's projects. 

Jai Bhim, Elise!

12:30 - 1:25 Slow Revolution with Sri Louise

Sri Louise is an Indie Yoga Instructor whose primary interest is in deconstructing how privilege has infused Hindu and Buddhist practices in America, especially from the proprietorship of whiteness. Sri teaches on-going classes that explore post-colonial, feminists topics at the Underground Yoga Parlour for Self-Knowledge & Social Justice. She is a disciple of Swami Dayananda Saraswati and is currently researching Non-Duality and Racism: How Whiteness Infuses our Understanding of Oneness…

https://www.facebook.com/undergroundyogaparlour

Jai Bhim, Sri!

1:30 - 2:25 Moving Meditation with Ann Torres

Ann has been practicing yoga in the Bay Area for over 15 years and has been fortunate enough to study various styles with many incredible teachers.  She draws inspiration from a broad set of interests as a traveler, as a designer and engineer, and as someone who loves being outside climbing, swimming, running, and hiking.

Ann loves creating flows which synchronize movement and breath, and help people to connect physically and mentally and find a centered, meditative state.  She enjoys teaching classes which are accessible to all levels and encourage students to discover something unexpected about themselves.

Jai Bhim, Ann!

2:30 - 3:25 Deep Relaxation with Helen Fraser

One of the joys of being in SANGHA, in a committed community of friends, is knowing people, through thick and thin, over time.

Dayamudra and Helen have known each other for 15 years. They met doing their Yoga Teacher Training in 2000, have practiced Buddhism together at The SF Buddhist Center for 14 years, and both teach ESL at the same schools in SF. And did you know that Helen and Dayamudra led a yoga retreat together in Scotland, at Dhanakosa, 12 years ago? Look how young we were back then! (Pictured here with our good friend Singhashri who was our Cook and On-Site Organizer). Helen and her family have been generous supporters of JBI since we began and have encouraged both our team and our students. And at our YogaFest Helen will be leading our afternoon deep relaxation yoga session at 2:30.

Jai Bhim, Helen!

3:30 - 4:00 Buddhist Puja and Chanting to Close led by Dh. Viveka Chen

We thought we'd end our YogaFest with an opportunity to gather and rejoice in our shared practice, and since we are practicing at The Buddhist Center we will be closing the day with a Buddhist puja and chanting, led by The Chair of the SF Buddhist Center, Dhammacarini Viveka. Viveka has been a dear friend and mentor and a supporter of JBI since its beginnings. And it is Viveka who ordained  Dayamudra as a Buddhist, on a mountaintop in Spain, giving the name "Gesture of Compassion". Viveka is encouraging, kind and fun, and we are grateful to her for leading our closing rituals on September 27th, from 3:30 to 4 pm.

Jai Bhim, Viveka!

You can always purchase your tickets in advance here: 


See you Tomorrow!!

Jai Bhim!

Why Yoga?

Yoga practice has been an important component of JBI's projects right from our beginnings in 2007. Dayamudra, JBI's Creative Director, was trained as a Yoga Teacher 14 years ago, and has been studying various forms of dance, martial arts, and yoga her whole life. She has led yoga on Buddhist meditation retreats on both coasts of The U.S. and in The U.K., and brought her yoga knowledge to her JBI community, in yoga's birthplace, India.

We do yoga with the team and students on our Indian retreats and workshops as a way of relaxing our bodies, focusing our minds, preparing ourselves for study and preparing ourselves for meditation. Our young students at Sakya Hostels especially love restorative yoga, a form of deep relaxation, which they call "sleeping yoga"! We do a little "sleeping yoga" every afternoon after homework and reading time and before our English program. And back in San Francisco, Dayamudra brings yoga into her ESL classrooms at City College, where she teaches, and she is also lucky enough to have a wide circle of fellow yoga teachers in the city who are as committed to both their own practice and to social justice as she is.

Our yoga fundraisers are a fun way of bringing all our friends together for an afternoon of play, raising money in a healthy way to support our students and our projects in India. Yoga has become an international practice, and likewise we are an international community of friends, doing yoga together, in the spirit of hope, commitment and dedication.

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Jai Bhim!

Planting

Wangari Mathai was an Amercian-educated Kenyan woman who taught rural Kenyan women to plant trees. In Kenya, because of deforestation, streams were drying up, food supply was less secure, and women had to walk further and further to get firewood for fuel and fencing. Mathai encouraged the women to work together to grow seedlings and plant trees. They received small amounts of money for the saplings they planted. Some of the trees provided firewood, so they did not need to walk such long distances, which kept them safer. Trees and plants bore fruit, which they could sell at the market for extra income. And trees bound the soil, so the whole local ecosystem started to change. Rivers came back, plants, birds, animals returned. And as the women's circumstances changed they became empowered. They started to question, to organize.

 

Because of her leadership Wangari Mathai was threatened, jailed, beaten nearly to death. Her work improving the lives of local women was a threat to the power structures. And yet she endured and won a Nobel prize for the work of her organization, The Green Belt Movement. Her life's work has inspired environmentalists around the world. I read about her 15 years ago and felt so inspired by the work of one woman and the community she built. She became a personal inspiration in my own journey, my own quest to discover what my own contribution might be. What she did was so simple, but required so much courage, so much vision, so much dedication.

 

Arun-village

The saplings the women of Kenya planted were real, but they are also a beautiful metaphor. Something so small that takes root and then grows to provide shade, food, heat, shelter. A whole forest that can change a desolate landscape into something lush, something alive. These trees transformed the lives of these village women and reconnected them with their own hope, courage, and dignity. I am inspired by how Wangari Mathai looked out at the desert and imagined a forest. She saw it in her mind's eye and she made it so.

Jai Bhim. Dayamudra

Student-Centered Learning

Many great thinkers have informed our approach to learning at JBI. One big influence is Paulo Freire. Freire was an educator in Brasil who taught peasants in small villages to read and write in the 1960's. Beyond literacy, these workers began to question, they began to organize, they began to vote. They became empowered, and in 1964, the year I was born, the facist government jailed him for 70 days, and then he lived in exile in Bolivia and Chile. His approach to learning, the democratic classroom, was a threat to the existing power structure.


For an introduction to Freire I recommend reading "Pedagogy of the Oppressed". In the book's introduction Donald Macedo writes "I found comfort in the immeasurable hope that Paulo represented for those of us who are committed to imagine a world, in his own words, that is less ugly, more beautiful, less discriminatory, more democratic, less dehumanizing, and more humane... He teaches us he meaning of a profound commitment to fight social injustices in our struggle to recapture the loss of our dignity as human beings." 


Here are some of the ways we apply his principles to our workshops. First, we see all learners as coming to the learning experience FULL of experience and knowledge. They are not empty vessels, passively waiting to be filled with knowledge by an all-knowing teacher. We build knowledge on the foundation of what the learners already know. We respect them as capable, creative and resourceful. Second, we see our role as teachers to be GUIDES. We introduce new concepts, we engage the learners, and we follow them according to their interests and their energy. The teacher responds to the learners, and the teacher is a learner her/himself, always curious. Third, the space is student-centered. The students face one another, rather than the teacher. Students sit in circles, rather than rows. The teacher moves around the room, guiding, responding, listening. The teacher always addresses students at eye-level, sitting down if students are sitting, facing students if they are standing. The architecture of any learning space is very fluid; desks, tables, chairs can all be moved. Learning can happen anywhere.

For thousands of years the caste system in India has been ugly, discriminatory, undemocratic and dehumanizing. Its effects are still felt among youth today. But like Freire we are doing something very small, which might have an enormous impact. Something beautiful. Something humane.

 

Jai Bhim. Dayamudra

Global Passport

Fluency in English is like a global passport. With English you are able to communicate with new friends, prospective employers and potential customers anywhere in the world. English gives you an edge. And without English your world gets smaller. You have fewer job prospects and you are unable to communicate with anyone outside your immediate surroundings. Email, Facebook, Ted Talks are all out of reach. 


Those from communities traditionally considered "low-caste" or "untouchable" have access to a world outside their village if they are fluent in English. Conversely, those who never mastered English have fewer possibilities. The village schools in these communities are notoriously bad, and their English teachers have barely mastered English themselves. So this is yet another way the caste system is imposed, keeping people locked into oppressive circumstances.


Our main goal at JBI from the beginning has been to provide Communicative English workshops for Dalit students, students from these communities traditionally-considered "low-caste" or "untouchable". More than fluency in English, though, we imagine creating an engaging, challenging learning environment, where students can use their imagination, build their confidence and find their voice. We are a community of learners. We believe in life-long learning. We believe that learning is fun. We believe that learning is active, interactive, physical and creative by nature. We believe in creative an encouraging, supportive, challenging learning environment. 

This idea has gained momentum and there is no stopping it.

 

Jai Bhim. Dayamudra

JBI's First Projects

In December 2009, JBI really took flight. I based myself that visit in
Delhi, visiting our friends at JNU, who became our first Board Members,
then traveling north to Ghazipur and Bodh Gaya. It was still not clear what
shape our projects would take and who our collaborators should be. But I
was learning more about Indian cluture, about my friends' direct
experiences of the caste system as Dalit youth, and about Dr. Ambedkar's
vision of social change. We were creating something brand new.

Some amazing connections happened on this visit, and looking back I can
still not believe our good fortune. In Bodh Gaya, Sachin arranged some very
informal workshops at The Ambedkar Hostel, and we had English classes up on
the roof of their dorm. It was a lot of fun, and a way for us to pilot our
materials. And I enjoyed exploring the Land of the Buddha's Enlightenment
with Sachin and his team. It was a very magical visit.

I led workshops in Ghazipur as well, at a project for girls, but we did not
continue this collaboration. And then back in Delhi, Maitriveer Nagarjuna
and I met up with a fellow Buddhist from San Francsico, Tempel, who was
leading an Asian tour with American youth. We traveled with them in north
India for a bit, around Delhi and in Saranath and Bodh Gaya. It was a
wonderful spontaneous trip, and in that group I met Peter, who has created
JBI's website and contributed his talents as a designer and core member of
our US-based team.

I did a lot of traveling on that visit. After exploring the north, I made
my way southwest to Kerala for our first Jai Bhim Kerala retreat with Arun
and his team. And then I headed south east to Chennai to meet Arun's friend
Jayasridhar, "who we call "Jagan", and his team and students at Sakya
Hostels. This was the beginning of our ongoing projects in South India, and
our current focus. Jai Bhim International was beginning to blossom!

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*Dayamudra, August 19, 2014*

Return to India 2008

In 2008 I returned to India twice more, once in May and once in December. On these visits I led Communicative English workshops again with the NNBY team, in Dehra Dun and in Bor Dharan on their youth retreats. They were fun, and our friendships went deeper. But it was not clear how we should organize our English workshops and where the need was. 

For these NNBY  retreats there were students coming to Nagpur from the north and the south of India, a considerable distance. On my first trip (in December 2007) I had met Sachin from Bodh Gaya in the north and Arun, from Kerala in the south, and we were exploring ways to collaborate. The travel costs to Nagpur were a burden for the Indian students, but quite cheap by American standards. So we decided that they would recruit students to come to Bor Dharan/Nagpur in December 2008 and that I would lead a  small fundraising campaign in The U.S. to establish scholarships for these youth. 

In the Summer of 2008 I established JBJI as a registered non-profit, based in San Francisco (on my laptop!) and thanks to the generosity of friends and family, we created our first scholarships. We sponsored 20 students total, coming to Nagpur from Bodh Gaya and Kerala. That December I also spent time with my new friends in Delhi, on the JNU campus, and made presentations in Dalit communities in north India. We were starting to establish our own mobile projects, and it became clear that the need for what we offering, educational projects for youth, could really flourish away from Nagpur, in the smaller communities in the north and south of India where our friends were based.

Sachin and Arun proposed that the following year, December 2009, we should lead our own projects in their home communities. And so we established our first Communicative English curriculum, set up our own workshops and retreats, and took Jai Bhim International on the road!

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Dayamudra, August 15, 2014

Welcome to India!


My first trip to India was in December 2007. I went to Nagpur, in central India, and then on to a mini vacation in Kerala. Buddhist friends of mine , from The National Network of Buddhist Youth, had organized a big youth conference near Nagpur, in Bor Dharan. It was a week-long retreat and there were talks on social justice and on Dr. Ambedkar's philosophy, there was meditation and puja (Buddhist ritual) and in the afternoons there were a variety of activities; art programs, karate practice, commuication exercises and English workshops, which I led.


Many people assume everyone speaks English in India, and it is true that many people do. But those from disadvantaged backgrounds, communities historically-oppressed by the caste system, don't have the same access to quality education as those who come from privilege. One of the ways this manifests is in English fluency. And not being fluent  in English limits the economic and educational opportunities of those who are already at a disadvantage. So practical, communicative English workshops address a real need.

I have taught English for more than 20 years, in the U.S. at the middle school level, at the college level and at private language schools. I have taught overseas, 3 years in Indonesia at a language school and a Summer with a weaving cooperative in Guatemala. And I have traveled extensively; working on an archeological dig in France while in high school, studying at a Japanese university in Kyoto, practicing capoeira in Brasil,  backpacking across Mexico, studying Buddhism in The UK, and meditating on a mountain in western China. I love teaching English and I love learning about other cultures. I also teach yoga and do many types of dance, including Indian Bhanga-style. And I am passionate about social justice, so participating in this youth conference brought together so many of my interests.

I had no idea that this trip would change the course of my life. I bought a one-time visa and had no intention of returning. But the friends I made quickly became a team with a shared vision. Friends from Nagpur, Delhi, Bodh Gaya and Kerala showed me so much love, they were so welcoming and kind. When they asked me to return and teach more English workshops I didn't know how I would do it, but somehow I knew that it would happen. Jai Bhim International was already in motion.

with gratitude, Dayamudra

On the Ground in Kerala

Jai Bhim! This year we are very excited to be launching our very own school, a Leadership Academy in Kerala. This is the creation of friends around the globe inspired to come together around a vision of social change. Friends committed to the impact of small educational projects. We dreamed it 5 years ago and now it is coming to life! It is fun thinking back to how it all began.


In December 2009 Arun Boudh and I led our first very own Jai Bhim International project in Kerala.  It was a 5-day Communicative English Retreat, and there were 15 students, all young men. The focus was on building confidence in spoken English, and we did activities that built self-confidence in the students and team, and building a very strong sense of community. There was so much energy. It was such fun. We structured the day around language presentations, with opportunity for students to practice and have conversations in English. We also did yoga, created dramas, made music. The focus was on students finding their own voice.


This was our humble beginnings. I have never worked so hard at teaching! I was completely exhausted at the end of each day, but also invigorated. I sensed so much possibility, I knew something was in motion. On our final evening we gave everyone Certificates of Completion and had a "cultural program", where we sang local folk songs. There was a power cut that night and we sat in a circle by candlelight, singing songs and playing percussion on pots and pans.


Our final activity that afternoon had been collective and individual goal-setting; short-term, mid-term and long-term. Short-term the group committed to meeting together once a month in the year ahead, to study and organize other students. Mid-term they set a goal for our retreat in one year to have 50 students, 50% young women. And long-term they envisioned having our own school in 5 years.


The team did continue to meet and to build. New friends made that year became some of the strongest, most committed members of our team in Kerala and have worked with us steadily  for the last 4 years. The team went door to door meeting with Dads in the community, asking them to send their daughters to our retreat, our "camp" as they call it. In Decmeber 2010 we have 65 students, 50% female! And this year our Academy has launched! 


There are so many aspects to this story. In the next few weeks we will be sharing how our community came together, how we started JBI 7 years ago, and the wonderful people around the world who are Jai Bhim International. 


We would love to hear from you. Have you been one of our students? Have you been on our team in India? Have you worked with Team USA supporting our students in India? Are you a student in San Francisco or elsewhere inspired by Dr. Ambedkar's example?  How has JBI affected your life? Why do you believe in our vision? We would love to hear your story. Jai Bhim International is a collection of fiends. JBI is YOU. Please stay connected with us and send me an email at dayamudra at jaibhiminternational dot org.

with gratitude, Dayamudra


An Evening of Poetry and Prose

Readings by 4 Bay Area Writers to Benefit Dalit Youth in India

Please join Pia Chatterjee, Genny Lim, Kenneth Wong and Nellie Wong for an evening celebrating the written word to benefit Jai Bhim International's 2013 Winter projects.
hosted by Maw Shein Win

Saturday, September 21st at 8pm

The San Francisco Buddhist Center
37 Bartlett Street, near 21st and Valencia

$5 to $30 donation requested 

 

Winter Projects 2013


This past December and January I returned to India for our 4th annual JBI winter projects. It was such a joy to reconnect with my team, our students, and our community of supporters. Our main projects are in south India, with the Jai Bhim Kerala team (that's southeast India) and at Sakya Hostels, near Chennai in Tamil Nadu (that's southwest India.) This week I plan to share some stories about how we spent our time together, as well as a brief history of how these projects came together. For now take a look at our Vimeo slideshows to see the beautiful faces of the students we serve and the team with whom we collaborate.  Jai Bhim! Dayamudra

Leadership

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Arun knows how to build a strong team. He has a way of convincing people, with charm, to join him in his work, in his commitment to social justice. And I have noticed that when he speaks he has a way of easily connecting with the other person, whether a security guard, an auto rickshaw driver, a waiter, a politician, or a donor.

I first met Arun in 2007 on a Buddhist youth retreat in Nagpur. We connected since I was on my way, after the retreat, to visit Kerala. That brief encounter was the beginning of a collaboration to provide scholarships for 10 Kerala students for the Nagpur NNBY retreat the following year. Then in 2008 we started discussing leading our own retreat. And, somehow, in 2009, we offered our first Jai Bhim Kerala retreat, led by Arun, Rejimon and me, supported by one cook, with 15 students in attendance, all young men. It is amazing how our work has since evolved. 

Our student base has expanded to include young men and women from all over Kerala. We have built a strong, committed support team that leaves their paid work for one week to volunteer to join our camp. Other committed Buddhists help us co-lead our afternoon workshops. We have just completed our 4th annual Jai Bhim Kerala retreat, and it is thanks to Arun's vision, resourcefulness and talent that it was such a success. 

Our Jai Bhim community in Kerala is getting stronger, and has already gathered for a reunion to review the themes on our recent camp. In the year ahead, Arun and his team will start creating their own Communicative English Institute, which was a 5-year goal we had set on our first retreat in 2007! It is a joy to be part of the Jai Bhim Kerala community. 

I celebrate Arun's commitment to his own learning and self-development. I celebrate the way he includes others and encourages them to contribute their own talents. It is hard work what we have done together. But there is always a lot of laughter and always space to relax and take a breath. Sadhu, Arun. Jai Bhim! -Dayamudra