Through Educate Hearts and Minds, we create synergistic programs to promote the values of wisdom-based education and preserve the cultures through which they originate. We seek to build nourishment libraries amongst youth at schools and organizations in Asia, Europe and the United States. Our goal is to spark a conversation that puts cultivating happiness as a skill at the forefront of 21st century education for children.
In Nepal, Tibet and India, we are approached by people in desperate need of immediate assistance: some need money for basic medical care for themselves or their children (there is no free medical care in these countries) and others for urgent life-saving operations; some people because they have no work or have lost their harvest and have no other way to feed their family or pay the rent; others because they are elderly and alone, not able to work they are left abandoned to themselves.
The Emergency Fund also takes care of sustaining temporarily those children whose sponsorships have been interrupted. In this way children are not forced to leave school or to return to their initial difficult living situations.
Photo credit: National Geographic
We work mainly in the area of the capital, Kathmandu. One of the poorest countries in the world, with a daily income of less than a dollar, most people find themselves living on the threshold of extreme poverty. However, the Kathmandu Valley still attracts thousands of poor people from the countryside who are in desperate need of work. But, as the economic situation of the country continues to worsen the numbers of unemployed and hungry grow; in the capital vast areas of degradation exist where the rising number of poor live in precarious homes that lack water, sanitation, electricity, food, mattresses, blankets… Public services, when available, have a fee and so it is the poor who often remain excluded.
Parents have to pay to send their children to school, but families who have a sufficient income are rare so many children start work at an early age and the illiteracy rate in the country remains high.
Thanks to this project approximately 900 children are enrolled into schools in the Kathmandu area. These children, from the poorest families, are guaranteed education and medical care. Some of the children who first entered into the long distance adoptions programme, are now studying in further education.
Educate Hearts and Minds is pleased to support the programs of the Peace Service, Shanti Sewa Ashram, which is spreading spiritual awareness globally through charity-based schools for holistic educations and spirituality-based community centers, for peace and selfless service, for all social groups in need of assistance in Nepal.
Women’s Education Program (WEP)
For more than 15 years, WEP has served to educate underprivileged women who were not provided any basic literary classes when they were young and living in remote villages. Teaching one women means teaching a whole family. The Ashram hopes to expand its services by providing focused education through a women educations program. To date, more than 600 women have been graduated.
Amount needed: $250 / month for WEP to hold informal classes at the Shanti Sewa Ashram in Kathmandu.
“If we can educate one woman, we can educate her whole family. If we can educate her whole family, we can educate an entire community.”
– Dr. Chintamani Yogi
Children’s Peace Home (CPH)
There are currently 35 orphan children, victims of war and abuse, who are staying at the CPH in Dang, a small village in western part of Nepal.
Amount needed: $50 / month to provide education, food, accommodations and clothes to each child of the CPH. The CPH hopes to support 50 children, a cost of $2,500 / month.
Children Study Club
This project is aimed at helping neighborhood community children. Volunteers and teachers of the Club are trying their best to engage children in many indoor activities along with their regular homework.
Girls Scholarship Program (GSP)
Every year, approximately 20 girls from deprived communities are given scholarships to a 2-year college program. Education helps to reduce the cases of early marriage, which is a serious problem in Nepal.
Amount needed: $20 / month for each girl of the GSP.
Transit Home for Children
In Dang located in the western region of Nepal, poverty, illiteracy, social injustice, and conflict is common. The Peace Service USA, Shanti Sewa Ashram hopes to establish a Transit Home for Children with five bedrooms to provide shelter and save children from victimization.
Amount needed: $50,000
“Children are the world’s most valuable resource and its best hope for the future.”
– John F. Kennedy
This project takes care of some already existent infant schools in the Shigatse area of Central Tibet. These extremely poor schools, made up of 3 to 4 rooms, are constructed of mud bricks with beaten earth floors and are almost completely without equipment or furniture.
Village schools offer instruction only up to the third year. The school of Nye is the only one in this district that offers education up to the sixth class and therefore also has to offer very basic residential facilities, because of the lack of transport, to the 200 children who come from surrounding villages.
The schools often lack desks, chairs, money for heating, to buy books and scholastic materials, to carry out basic maintenance such as roof repairs and the replacement of broken glass that is so necessary due to the extreme climate of Tibet. Donations received by the Association are used to cover these expenses. Thanks to funds raised for the schools project, the Shongma Shang Village school was completely rebuilt in order to replace the existing dangerous building. Other donations were used to buy blankets and mattresses for the children of Nye School, who slept on wooden palettes and were badly covered, due to the lack of blankets, against the extreme climatic conditions. Many of the children “adopted at a distance” in Tibet attend one of these schools, and in these villages the numbers of children able to receive an education is growing.
For children who do not receive any help it is very difficult for them to attend school, because their families have no income and therefore not even the small amount of money needed to buy school materials, but these parents also need to give up help in the fields, with younger siblings, with the animals, for the collecting of fuel and so on.
Thanks to the generosity of donors, schools have been built in villages that the Association helps.
One of the tragedies for villagers living In the Himalayan regions is the dearth of schools. They are few, far between, and frequently not going beyond the primary grades or junior high. Children must walk many kilometers per day to school, something which is not feasible during the snowy winters or rainy summers. For this reason, the children of the Himalayas must either leave their villages for urban areas or remain uneducated (or barely educated), rendering them unable to get proper employment later in life. Giving these children access to education is crucial.
Divine Shakti Foundation currently has built, renovated and expanded schools in a few regions of the Himalayas. There is need for much, much more. This can begin with school buses that can carry children from the villages to the nearby schools, and then expand to include the construction of more, better quality, schools in more villages.
Divine Shakti Foundation has been running, sponsoring, and assisting schools in the Himalayan region for more than two decades. We run free children’s schools as well as women’s vocational training programs. However there is a great need to scale up dramatically.
H.H. Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji‘s motto in life is, “In the Service of God and humanity.” Selflessly dedicated to the welfare of all, He leads, directs and inspires numerous large-scale initiatives that are touching the lives of countless people across India and around the world. Touched by the hand of God at the tender age of eight, Pujya Swamiji left His home to live a life devoted to God and humanity, spending His youth in silence, meditation and austerities high in the Himalayas. At the age of seventeen, after nine years of unbroken, intense spiritual practice, He returned from the forest under the direction of His guru, and obtained an academic education to parallel His spiritual one. Today, Pujya Swamiji’s religion is unity, and he has been a leader in numerous international, interfaith events, summits and parliaments, including at the United Nations, the Vatican, the World Bank, the World Economic Forum, the House of Commons, the Parliament of World’s Religions, Religions for Peace, KAICIID, the Hindu-Jewish Summit in Jerusalem, and countless others. Pujya Swamiji is also the Founder of the Global Interfaith WASH Alliance (GIWA) India, the world’s first international initiative which brings together the world’s faiths as allies in helping to ensure every person around the world has access to healthy, life-sustaining Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH); the India Heritage Research Foundation (IHRF), an international, non-profit foundation which is known for humanitarian activities, as well as intellectual endeavors, such as the publication of the 11-volume Encyclopedia of Hinduism, as well as free education, medical services, ashrams in the sacred land of Mansarovar and Mt. Kailash in Tibet, and morel; the International Yoga Festival at Parmarth Niketan (Rishikesh), which draws countless people every year to Rishikesh, India, the birthplace of yoga; the world’s-first Hindu-Jain temple, located in Pittsburgh, and the Minto Shiva temple in Sydney Australia. Pujya Swamiji has also played crucial roles in the founding of innumerable other temples and Indian cultural centres around the world. Pujya Swamiji is also on the Board of Trustees of the India Development Foundation of Overseas Indians (IDF-OI), set up by the Government of India in 2008 as a not-for-profit Trust to facilitate Overseas Indian philanthropy into social and development projects in India. He furthermore serves on the Advisory Board of KAICIID (King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Inter-religious and Intercultural Dialogue), which is an intergovernmental organization whose mandate is to promote globally the use of dialogue to prevent and resolve conflict, and to enhance understanding and cooperation among different cultures and religions. Pujya Swamiji is the recipient of innumerable awards, including: the World Peace Ambassador Award, Mahatma Gandhi Humanitarian Award, Hindu of the Year Award, the Lions Club Prominent Personality Award, Best Citizens of India Award, the Uttaranchal Ratan Award, and many more. However, Pujya Swamiji seems unaffected by this incredible list of accomplishments and remains a pious child of God, owning nothing, draped in saffron robes, living a life of true renunciation. His days in Rishikesh are spent offering service to those around him. Thousands travel from across the globe simply to sit in His presence, to receive His “darshan.” He also travels the world, bringing the light of wisdom, inspiration, upliftment and the divine touch to countless souls.
Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswatiji was raised in an American family in Hollywood, California and graduated from Stanford University. She was completing her Ph.D. when she left America in 1996 to come and live permanently at Parmarth Niketan Ashram in Rishikesh, India. She has been living there since, engaged in spiritual study, practice, and service. She was officially initiated into the order of Sanyas (monastic renunciation) in the year 2000, by her Guru, His Holiness Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji. Sadhviji is a renowned speaker who gives keynote addresses at large forums, on a wide variety of topics ranging from conscious business to science and spirituality to sustainable development to the keys of happiness and peace in life to all aspects of yoga. She has also been a featured speaker at the United Nations, Parliament of World Religions and many international conferences and summits. Her talks blend the knowledge and logic of the West with the insights, spirituality and wisdom of the East, and she is renowned as a spiritual bridge between the two cultures. At Parmarth Niketan, Rishikesh, where she lives most of the year, she teaches meditation, gives spiritual discourses and daily satsang, provides counseling and oversees myriad charitable and humanitarian projects and activities. Sadhviji is also: President of Divine Shakti Foundation, a foundation dedicated to bringing education and empowerment to women and children which runs free schools, vocational training programs and empowerment programs. Secretary-General of the Global Interfaith WASH Alliance, an international interfaith organization dedicated to bringing clean water, sanitation & hygiene to the children of the world. Director of the annual world-famous International Yoga Festival at Parmarth which has been covered in Time Magazine, CNN, New York Times, Le Monde and other prestigious publications. Sadhviji has a Ph.D in Psychology and was the Managing Editor for the monumental project of the 11-volume Encyclopedia of Hinduism.
Dr. Chintamani Yogi is a great scholar of Nepal; he is a thinker, a philosopher , a spiritual master, an educationist and a peace activist. Dr C.M. Yogi has founded several organizations in Nepal. In particular, he is a founding principal of “Hindu VidyaPeeth School” movement consisting of 3 schools supporting underprivileged and orphaned children to receive values/ethics based education on a non profit basis. The children are encouraged to develop human virtues such as peace, harmony and love in the form of international brotherhood. He also established Peace Service Centre, Shanti Sewa Ashram whose objectives are “to promote peace and spirituality at every level of society; to help the poor and disadvantaged children, women, senior citizens. In addition, he founded ‘”Youth Society for Peace”‘ aiming to support young people in understanding the values of peace, tolerance and selfless service; and to involve them for the peace clubs and street-children food program. Similarly, Dr C.M. Yogi runs various other community based programs Children’s Peace Home, an orphanage in Dang in th western part of Nepal; Children Study Club, Women’s Education/Training Program and “Nepal Interfaith Movement” to reform society in totality. He is a chief patron of “Naimisharanya Gurukul – Banepa” and Bankhandi Gurukul- Saptari. Dr C.M. Yogi is a guest lecturer of “Conflict, Peace and Development Study” at the Tribhuvan University and “Values Based Education and Personal Transformation” at the Kathmandu University. Also, he is known widely as a motivational speaker among the Rotary International, Lions Club, NGOs, INGOs, Government offices, Corporate Sectors. Likewise, Dr C.M. Yogi is actively associated with many international organizations; such as- HVP-UK, PSC-USA, Global Communities for Peace- Australia, Global Network of Religions for Children, and the United Religions Initiative. Dr C.M. Yogi travels frequently to spread the message of Values based education, Peace Education, Yoga, Interfaith, humanity and spirituality all around the world. He has been running special programs in America, Australia, Europe etc for last many years regularly for the promotion of Spirituality, Humanity and Community. He has written several books and composed various songs. Dr C.M. Yogi is a winner of many national and international awards. He conducts camps, classes, workshops, seminars, trainings and Satsang at every level to encourage people to understand deeply “The Art of Life.”
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“If we are to ensure a peaceful future for our world, I believe that it is important that we foster positive values like compassion, kindness and love in our children’s minds from an early age. Certainly, books like these can help us do that.”
– His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama