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Engaged Buddhism: Buddhist Non-profit FHSM Updates on Social Outreach Programs in India

FHSM founder and president Rev. Gauthama Prabhu. Images courtesy of FHSM

The socially engaged Buddhist non-profit organization Foundation of His Sacred Majesty (FHSM) has shared new updates on its ongoing social outreach activities in India, where it runs multiple programs aimed at assisting and empowering socially marginalized and economically underprivileged communities.

Coinciding with International Women’s Day on Wednesday, FHSM highlighted some of its recent successes in empowering women from oppressed communities in the southeastern state of Tamil Nadu.

“Our foundation most recently trained more than 120 women from underprivileged and marginalized communities in Tamil Nadu—women who have been direct or indirect victims of labor exploitation,” FHSM president Rev. Gauthama Prabu told BDG. “Our foundation has recently been training them in eco-friendly brick-making, which involves teaching them how to become entrepreneurs and producers of compressed stabilized earth blocks (CSEB) [commonly known pressed-earth blocks], which are a major new tool for constructing environmentally sustainable buildings.

Skills training for women from marginalized communities

“Through programs like this, we aspire to expand our social entrepreneurship mentorship in the weeks and months ahead. Empowering marginalized communities to overcome the chains of poverty and caste has been our overriding aspiration,” Rev. Prabu added.

Headquartered in Chennai (formerly Madras) in Tamil Nadu, FHSM is founded on and guided by the principles of socially engaged Buddhism, and its work is closely focused on deprived and marginalized communities. The foundation’s activities are based on four broad propositions: protecting and conserving ecosystems; promoting alternative healthcare systems; social transformation through strengthening grassroots democracy and good governance; and sustainable livelihoods, education, and social empowerment. 

Rev. Prabu also shared an update on FHSM’s ongoing Samyak Drushti Project, which provides free eye-care clinics and treatment for the underprivileged—in particular Dalit communities in Tamil Nadu and neighboring Telangana.* Further clinics are planned going into 2023.

Free eye clinics in Chennai

“Our foundation recently successfully completed our 13th and 14th eye clinic camps, in the process supporting more than 40 beneficiaries of free cataract surgery in Chennai,” Rev. Prabu shared. “The camps have been held in slum communities in Chennai, where we are focusing on the elderly and poverty-stricken. We have also been providing free spectacles.”

Many of FHSM’s outreach programs are supported by the Mumbai-headquartered company All Cargo Logistics, with medical expertise provided in cooperation with organizations such as Agarwal Eye Hospital and the L. V. Prasad Eye Institute, Hyderabad.

FHSM also expressed heartfelt gratitude for a recent shipment of donated computers, which will be put to good use in its educational and training programs.

“Our foundation has received 24 desktop computers and 12 laptops from All Cargo Logistics as a donation for our skills-development and digital literacy programs at two centers in Chennai,” explained Rev. Prabu. “This will benefit many underprivileged students, who can access our digital literacy courses free of cost. We are planning to cover 1,100 students this year, and then we’ll help them find job placements, bringing income and dignity for them and their families.”

Digital literacy programs for students from disadvantaged communities

Named in commemoration of the Mauryan emperor Ashoka (r. c. 268–c. 232 BCE), a key figure in the propagation of Buddhism across Asia, the Foundation of His Sacred Majesty was founded in 2007 with a mission to “preserve, promote, and disseminate the principles of liberty, equality, fraternity, and social justice through non-formal education, sustainable livelihood, and conservation of ecology, alternative/preventive medicines, social empowerment, social advocacy, and social development in order for the restoration of the human dignity of the poor and marginalized.” (Facebook) FHSM is affiliated with the International Network of Engaged Buddhists.

“We are profoundly grateful for the tireless work of our staff and volunteers, who have co-operated and co-ordinated with FHSM to implement our outreach programs,” Rev. Prabu emphasized. “And we cannot express enough gratitude for the generous contributions of our donors—corporates, grant-making institutions, and partnership with hospitals, community leaders, healthcare workers, social workers, and community organizers, for helping to make our efforts a reality! Your constant motivation and support plays a key role in all our endeavors. Thank you for always being on our side—keeping showering your loving-kindness!”

For more information: 

Email[email protected]
Tel: +91-9791239333 / +91-8680020086 / +91-9840813935

For international donations:

Account name: Foundation of His Sacred Majesty
Bank: State Bank of India
Account number: 31203682095
Branch: Selaiyur, Chennai
IFSC code: SBIN0007948

For donations within India:

Account name: Foundation of His Sacred Majesty
Bank: State Bank of India
Account number: 30522574810
Branch: Selaiyur, Chennai
IFSC code: SBIN0007948

* Engaged Buddhism: Buddhist Non-profit FHSM Holds Free Eye Clinic in Chennai (BDG), Engaged Buddhism: Non-profit FHSM Offers Progress Report on Free Eye Clinic Program (BDG), and Engaged Buddhism Update: Non-profit FHSM Holds Free Eye Clinic in Hyderabad on Christmas Day (BDG)

See more

Foundation of His Sacred Majesty (Facebook)
Foundation of His Sacred Majesty India (YouTube)
Foundation of His Sacred Majesty (LinkedIn)
International Network of Engaged Buddhists (INEB)

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