MahaBodh Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting education as a means of solving societal issues. Our focus stems from our belief that education is the best medicine to all social problems afflicting society. Our team is made of young students and professionals from different parts of the world and a variety of different academic and work backgrounds, who have all come together to facilitate societal change to the best of their abilities. We currently focus on promoting girl’s high school education through our Anantya Scholarship Program and preventive health education through our MahaCure Program.
A variety of social issues find their origins in the lack of education; exploitation, harassment, drug abuse, poor public health, and even resistance to public education itself. If only a widowed mother faced with having to provide for her children had an education, she would be able to pursue a variety of employment opportunities without being subject to financial blackmail or sexual exploitation. With better education, parents of newborn children would their children’s vaccinations, and also be able to better care for their children throughout adolescence. Parents would also be able to avoid exploitation and coercion at their workplaces, and provide better for their families. The result of this would be healthier families, which would lead to healthier communities, and thus a better off country as a whole. Education and understanding are at the center of economic, social, and physical well being for all people, and their development holds great opportunity in improving the lives of many people around the world.
MahaBodh Foundation was officially inaugurated on August 15, 2014 at the capital city of Bihar, the state of India where we currently work. The occasion was graced by the Honorable Chief Minister of Bihar, Shri Jitan Ram Manjhi, who shared several stories of his social work and political career where he had seen poorly educated individuals be victims of exploitation, poor health, and brain-washing, all because of lack of education in the area. Our official registration was completed on August 19, 2015 at the Registrar Office in Kapashera, New Delhi (India).
India is full of energy – booming industries, an enormous youth population, and a multitude of infrastructures. There’s a great amount of diversity, yet the country is united through cuisine, colors, and music that has astounded the world for generations.
On a trip home to India during my summer vacations, I encountered a young girl who was selling bracelets with her mother at Sarojini Nagar in Delhi (India). To buy some bracelets for my friends, I approached the girl, and asked her to make some for me. While conversing with her, I came to know that she was merely 10 years old, and was not being able to go to school because of poverty.
While economic needs indubitably drove her to work at a much younger age than necessary, her family exacerbated the problem by refusing her an education. Even when my family offered to fund the girl’s entire education, her mother refused, and said that she would only accept the offer if it were given to her son.
During another trip, when I came to volunteer at a medical camp, I encountered a young woman asking for an opportunity to do manual labor. She seemed too young to be laboring in the fields, and upon inquiry, said that she was merely 15 years old. At such a young age, the girl was out searching for work when she should have been at school.
Sadly, these two stories are two of the many thousands stories of why girls in rural and developing parts of the world are not at school when they should be.
This is a problem across many poor and underdeveloped areas in India. It is not a problem limited to ‘male domination’ and patriarchy, but a general stigma towards the notion of female education.
Its consequences, unfortunately, are equally multidimensional. An uneducated caretaker, the culturally assigned task of many women across the globe, is unable to effectively care for, and support, the growth and development of her children. When left without support, women often lack awareness of proper avenues of income, and are open to exploitation and harassment.
Poverty and the lack of education thus become a never-ending process for many young women who are denied the necessary education and empowerment that would allow them to live healthy lives economically, socially, and physically. As an organization named ‘She’s the First’ notes, “Educating a man usually holds the key to one individual’s life. However, educating a woman opens the door to the success of herself and those she cares for”.
And thus started the Maha Bodh Foundation: to use our knowledge and experience from travels and diplomats in order to take steps to approach this problem with the Anantya Program for Women Empowerment. This pilot project will empower the first young women of villages with education and training; allowing them to develop as ambassadors for the cause themselves.
Noting the many other problems of similar concern, and the many individuals excited about various other issues, I did not want to stop there and just create an organization dedicated to one cause. I wanted to create an Internet and volunteer powered platform, by which necessary changes on matters of concern can be effectively brought about in India by people around the world.
This is the story of Maha Bodh Foundation. It is a dream of a better India, powered by desire for support and the efforts of willing individuals across the globe. Together we will find issues to target, design programs, and find support to counter them, in order to bring about the changes we wish to see.