Sakyadhita Australia has launched a fundraising portal for people around the world to offer help to those affected by this year’s devastating bushfires. The 2019-2020 fires have been of exceptional intensity, killing 25 people, an estimated 500 million animals, and destroying over 1,500 homes. Areas affected by the fires have included Wat Buddha Dhamma, One of Australia’s Oldest Buddhist Monasteries, and areas in southeast Australia’s famed Blue Mountains where Sakyadhita International held its annual meeting in June 2019. Funds are being raised through GoFundMe and will be distributed to a variety of organizations in need.*
Australia has been facing greater drought levels than usual this summer and temperatures have routinely reached 37C (99F) and above, leading officials to raise the threat level to “catastrophic” in November. Major fires started shortly after that and have intensified in the new year, with no immediate end in sight. Current predictions suggest that some areas will get 6-8cm of rain in the coming days, but, according to ABC Weather’s Kate Doyle, “it will definitely not be drought-breaking rain and the latest outlook for the next few months isn’t good.” (Australian Broadcasting Company)
Sakyadhita Australia’s president, Helen Richardson, along with Dr. Jack Wicks, Sakyadhita Australia committee member, helped to coordinate the current fundraising activity.
Sakyadhita Australia is a branch of Sakyadhita International Association of Buddhist Women, which was founded in 1987 in Bodhgaya, India to work for the benefit of Buddhist women around the world. The organization currently has nearly 2,000 members in 45 countries worldwide, drawing both laywomen and monastics together every other year for conferences and collaboration.
The 15th conference was held in 2017 in Hong Kong, celebrating the theme of “Contemporary Buddhist Women,” while the 16th conference was held in Australia under the theme of “New Horizons in Buddhism.”
* Australian Bushfire Fundraiser (GoFundMe)