Malaysian-Funded Solar Water For Monks In Ladakh

by P. Vijian, Bernama, Oct 9, 2011

LEH, Ladakh (India) -- A group of Malaysians have proven that charity is borderless and colour blind.

For almost a decade, Buddhist Gem Fellowship (BGF) members have been passionately rendering humane services for underprivileged children in remote Ladakh, a parched Himalayan mountainous region in Jammu and Kashmir, in northern India.

Using funds, largely financed by a low-profile Malaysian woman philanthropist, they cheer up nearly 500 mountainous children leading a mundane life at monasteries and schools in the Leh Valley in Ladakh.

Now, the philanthropist-funded solar water system provides hot water, underground water supply and irrigation systems to water vegetables and fruit trees in the arid land of the monasteries.

"Now, there is a 24-hour hot water supply at eight buildings, even in winter," BGF member Charlie Chia Lui Meng, who had been spearheading these projects, told Bernama.

In the sprawling Mahabodhi International Meditation Centre in Leh, a sizeable Malaysian charity helps mountain children go to school and provide basic needs to many, aged between five and 15.

"Children from 65 villages from the high mountains live here (monastery and boarding schools) and our focus is on helping poor and backward families.

"Malaysian-sponsored projects, big or small, are a big help for us and they have been our big supporters," said Venerable Bhikkhu Sanghasena, founder and chief monk of Mahabodhi.

In 1986, the former soldier-turned-monk started the centre to help spread spiritual teachings and offer social services for people in the remote Ladakh.

Today, the centre provides shelter to the aged, those with impaired vision, boarding schools, little monks and nuns -- all supported by generous people.

The harsh Himalayan winter setting is, once again, likely to punish these fragile human beings -- many huddled in tiny dingy rooms and thinly clothed -- living on an altitude of 3,500m that even makes breathing difficult for ordinary people.