As you might already know, over the last five years the Triple Gem Society has given scholarships to underprivileged students, especially girls, from around the world.
After the tsunami, we streamlined our program to focus on as many affected girls and boys as possible. So far we have accepted 100 students, and are considering the applications of many more Tsunami victims.
In the village of Karative in Ampara District of Sri Lanka, we have chosen 25 students, all of whom have lost either mother, father or both parents to the tsunami. Out of the total 100 children, 38 have lost one of their parents and two have lost both father and mother. The rest of the students were chosen from among the poor families who lost their homes, belongings, and livelihood due to this disaster.
75 of our scholarships will be managed by a police/military Special Task Force (STF) in the area. We considered STF to be the best to mange our program there because of their engagement with social welfare activities in the area. The remaining 25 of the scholarships will be managed by one of my colleagues, a Buddhist monk in southern Sri Lanka named Sumedha.
These scholarships are a big responsibility for Triple Gem Society, and for me personally. We will have to put aside about $3000 per month to maintain the scholarship program. We will set up a special fund to enable us to take care of these students and ensure them a good education.
Every student who has received a scholarship from us has met me personally. We have had several monks and lay people working in different areas to gather and verify information properly, and to set up bank accounts. We have appointed several volunteers to monitor the progress of these students and ensure that the money is being properly used.
In all cases, we commit to the scholarship for only one year at a time. At the end of the first year we will evaluate the situations and the ongoing needs of the children. Those who continue to qualify will be chosen to remain in the program.
Although the Tripe Gem Society is a spiritual organization, we believe that we need to be involved in humanitarian projects for two main reasons. First, we need to bring compassion into action as part of a complete spiritual practice. Secondly, we need to be thoughtful of the misfortune and distress of others and try our best to ease the pain and free them from their suffering.
At times people ask me whether I am taking on more responsibilities than I can handle, especially since Triple Gem Society is a small organization, without paid employees, taking on very big projects. I am well aware of the financial challenges, but feel that I operate from a place of trust and intuition. While this may not always fit into an expert’s rational analysis, so far things have worked out without problems. I hope it will continue in this way. If you are interested in becoming part of our efforts to educate underprivileged students in Asia and Africa please let us know.
with love and blessings