Why Support the INEB COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund?

 

In response to the unbearable levels of suffering among the poorest and most marginalized communities in South and Southeast Asia, the International Network of Engaged Buddhists (INEB) has set up a COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund. As we write to you, the World Food Program is warning of a famine of biblical proportions as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our network partners are already providing food and medical relief and we know the most critical needs will increase exponentially over the coming weeks. Our goal is to be able to increase our response to the most urgent needs for food supplies, hygiene and sanitary supplies, in addition to medicine, hospital beds, and toilets.

We know this is a difficult time to ask for your support, but this is the moment when even a small contribution can save lives.

Founded in 1989 in Siam (Thailand), the International Network of Engaged Buddhists (INEB) is a vast global network of ordained and lay Buddhists working to integrate the practice of Buddhism with social action for a healthy, just and peaceful world. For 30 years INEB has been pioneering grassroots, community led solutions to end poverty, inequality and social injustice among the poorest and most marginalized communities in South and Southeast Asia. This commitment to a global community, based on the universal truths of wisdom and compassion, guides all our activities. As practitioners of a buddhism with a small “b” – in the words of our founder, Ajahn Sulak Sivaraksa – we actively work with social activists, spiritual leaders, academics and young people from Buddhist as well as non-Buddhist backgrounds. Click here to read more about INEB

 

The communities that we work with in India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Myanmar are those that are often ignored or actively discriminated against even by their own governments. They need our help to survive the pandemic. Thanks to our global network of organizations we have unparalleled access to some of the most at-risk communities, enabling us to distribute emergency relief quickly, efficiently and equitably.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the global economy to a standstill and exposed even more clearly the social distortions and growing inequalities of our present global order. We are all suffering together, especially the most vulnerable groups, even in rich countries. Persons living in poverty and on the margins of society – whether by race, religion, class, citizenship or place of birth, or gender – have been the most vulnerable to the disease on a variety of levels: crowded living conditions and the absolute need to continue to work that increases exposure, weaker immune systems from the effects of poverty (stress, diet, etc.), and poorer access to testing and medical services.

To respond to the COVID-19 crisis INEB has developed a three-part initiative:

1. Forming an emergency response fund – Mindful Action:  COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund – to support the most vulnerable groups in regions and countries in the INEB network, specifically in South and Southeast Asia.

2. Issuing a statement of solidarity with other religions to call for an end to responses to the pandemic that inflict suffering on vulnerable and marginalized groups while encouraging action to provide immediate and long-term support to these groups. Click here to see the statement

3.  Developing a four-part strategic plan to realize shifts in consciousness and the building of alternative structures that create societies that can flourish and endure the sorts of dislocations that COVID-19 and environmental changes will bring to our world. 

This note was received from our local partner who was able to bring critical food supplies to a Dalit (Untouchable) village in India in response to emergency aid that our network was able to provide. Imagine the scene repeated over and over as we are able to bring help in the form of food and basic medical supplies to these at-risk marginalized communities thanks to your generous support.

“We distributed free one-month rations to more than 100 families of marginalized communities based in Vannur, Villipuram District, Tamil Nadu on April 13th, 2020. The distribution items included Rice 20 kg, Sugar 1 kg, Salt 1kg, Dal 1 kg, and 1 litre edible oil along with vegetables.

This village does not have proper food, livelihood, and other basic amenities and is largely inhabited by Dalits. There were tears in the eyes of villagers as no one has ever visited them or even listened to their social suffering which they were undergoing from both caste and the lockdown. Caste discrimination has treated them so badly that they were denied to receive support from anyone outside. The people are begging for food in this village.”

INEB Partners’ Relief Effort

 

BANGLADESH 

Atish Dipankar Society – (ADS)

The Atish Dipankar Society is distributing humanitarian relief aid to poor local Buddhists as well as to people in Muslim and Hindu neighborhoods who have lost daily livelihoods and income due to the COVID-19 pandemic and government lockdown. The corona virus is spreading rapidly among Bangladesh’s dense population, where now millions are without work and food.

THE ADS humanitarian response includes distributing food – rice, potatoes cooking oil, onions, wheat and salt, as well as soap. We have also provided 12 hospital beds. The humanitarian response also includes sanitizing areas by helping spray inside and outside homes and other buildings.

 

Parbatya Bouddha Mission – (PBM)

Parbatya Bouddha Mission (PBM) is a non-profit, non-government, socio-economic, humanitarian and religious (Buddhism) development Organization. It was established in 1983 with the end at highlighting socio- cultural and socio-economic condition of poor peoples of Chittagong Hill Tracts and since then this organization tirelessly pursuing its mission for uplifting the conditions of Ethnic Indigenous Minorities of the region. At present PBM is mainly working in the Khagrachari & Rangamati Hill District in Chittagong Hill Tracts. But it has planned to expand its activities in another Hill Districts in Chittagong Hill Tracts and others region of the Country.

 

INDIA

All Manipur Buddhist Association (AMBA)

All Manipur Buddhist Association – AMBA – is the only active Buddhist organization in northeast India’s Manipur state. AMBA advocates on behalf of minority and Buddhists in addition to spreading the teachings and philosophy of Buddhism. Their relief activities are focused in rural areas of four districts where there are food shortages and limited help from the Government. AMBA volunteers are coordinating with Government doctors posted in these areas and also with their local leaders. Their activities include distributing food commodities and hygiene and sanitary supplies.

 

 Manuski Trust

Transcending caste barriers and establishing channels for transforming society are central to all programs at Manuski Trust. Pune has experienced the highest number of cases after Mumbai which is especially challenging to address in densely populated slum communities. Manuski Trust’s emergency activities include distributing food rations and hygiene supplies to the most vulnerable groups in their outreach area including daily laborers, construction and brick kiln laborers, fisher persons, persons selling along roadsides, beggars and more.

 

Nagaloka Relief Fund

Nagarjuna Training Institute alumni along with the Nagaloka team have identified 21 districts of India where they are working on the ground and are coordinating with private and government authorities to ensure the relief effort reaches the most needy families all over India. Their extensive network has mobilized to distribute food rations, soap, masks, and increase awareness about the crisis, as well as help provide emotional support to those who are suffering.

 

Foundation of His Sacred Majesty

The COVID-19 Emergency Relief and Rehabilitation Initiative of the Foundation of His Sacred Majesty – FHSM – is asking for help meeting emergency needs of the most vulnerable communities of Dalits, tribal persons, nomadic communities, transgender persons and migrant workers. FHSM is also helping stranded migrant students.

Emergency relief includes providing basic food items (rice, wheat flour, dal, edible oil, salt and sugar), and primary hygiene items (masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, sanitary pads, and soap). Relief aid is distributed through relief clusters with the help of government-registered professional volunteers.

ADECOM Network

The ADECOM Network, based in Puducherry, India, works with Dalits and supports women’s empowerment. They are asking for support for providing basic food commodities to needy families. They are distributing food baskets with 16 food items to feed a poor family for one week. The baskets include rice, dal, oil, salt, wheat flour, RAVA (refined wheat), tamarind and various spices. The cost of each basket is 650 Indian Rupees.

Siddhartha’s Intent Society & Youth Buddhist Society of India (YBS)

Siddhartha’s Intent Society is working in collaboration with its partner Youth Buddhist Society of India (YBS) based in Uttar Pradesh, India. YBS’s extensive network is distributing food kits and masks to families in need such as day laborers, blacksmiths, snake charmers and others. Each food kit will feed one family for two weeks.

MYANMAR

Kalyana Mitta Foundation – KMF  

Kalyana Mitta Development Foundation received funds for 2 separate initiatives both supporting internally displaced persons (IDPs) – adults and children, living in refugee camps in Chin and Rakhine States.

Both Chin and Rakhine state have the worst health care services which increases the IDPs health risks. Among the most pressing health concerns in the IDP camps is that now during the rainy season the likelihood of diarrhea and dengue fever have increased.

  1. Kalyana Mitta Development Foundation – Emergency Relief for IDPs in Chin and Rakhine states

KMF prioritized supporting the most vulnerable IDPs living in Chin and Rakhine states who need not only food, hygiene supplies and blankets and mosquito nets. They will also receive more accurate information about COVID-19.

  1. Kalyana Mitta Development Foundation – Protecting IDP children’s health and well-being

The children have arrived at the camps under various conditions, including some who are on their own because their parents were lost during the fighting. The IDP children have had their lives disrupted on many levels and have multiple needs including health care, food, education and more. The children will receive information about COVID-19, knowledge about protecting themselves from sexual violence and rain coats to protect them during the rainy season.  

Phaung Daw Oo Monastic School

Some students and teachers have been stranded at the Paung Daw Oo Monastic School after it closed when the COVID crisis began. Although most students and teachers have returned to their home communities, 150 students living in dormitories including novices and monks living on campus urgently need food and hygiene supplies.

Students of all religions and ethnicities are welcomed at Phaung Daw Oo Monastsic School in Mandalay, where more than 8,000 students (boys and girls) are enrolled. This “monastic” school offers a secular curriculum, as well as special classes in Buddhism and Pali for novice monks and any secular students who opt to take them.

The Spirit in Education Movement – SEM

The Spirit in Education Movement – SEM is focusing on coordinating emergency relief to Burmese migrant workers who have been out of work since March. They are unable to receive Thai government support and are living in very poor conditions. Local volunteers are carrying out the relief activities of distributing food supplies and increasing public awareness about COVID-19 in Hua Hin District, Prachuabkirikan province and Petchaburi province of Thailand.

NEPAL
Bikalpa Gyan Tatha Bikas Kendra

Bikalpa Gyan Tatha Bikas Kendra is an organization based in Kathmandu Valley that is helping vulnerable children from families living in extreme poverty, especially children from slum areas. Their programs focus on education, peace and nonviolence. Bikalpa runs alternative education programs for many children who are outside the formal education system: such as Mobile School, Doorstep School and Open Class with the motto, “If the children cannot come to the school, the school goes to them.”

The COVID-19 situation has left many families from the slum communities with no livelihoods or ability to earn a living. Bikalpa Nepal will respond to their urgent needs by providing basic food and soap to families residing in Kathmandu’s slum areas.

 

Chokgyur Lingpa Foundation

One primary focus of the Chokgyur Lingpa Foundation is to respond to emergencies such as the 2014 earthquake. Now with the countrywide lockdown, daily wage workers and others are facing economic difficulties and uncertainty. The Foundation’s network in the Champagaon area near one of their monasteries is responding to the local communities’ needs. Food and hygiene supplies from local vendors is being distributed to the needy families living there. The Foundation will also equally match funds received through INEB’s Mindful Action: COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund which will extend the emergency relief for an additional month.

About INEB

INEB was established in Siam (Thailand) by Sulak Sivaraksa and a group of Buddhist and non-Buddhist thinkers and social activists. Over the years the network has expanded to include members, both individuals and organizations, from more than 25 countries across Asia, Europe, North America and Australia. INEB operates as an autonomous organization under the Sathirakoses-Nagapradeepa Foundation (SNF), Thai NGO, established 1968.

Vision and Objectives

INEB’s overall vision is to develop the perspective and practice of socially engaged Buddhism that:

  1. Promotes understanding, cooperation, and networking among inter-Buddhist and inter-religious social action groups, as well as a variety of secular civil society organizations.
  2. Acts as an information resource related to areas of social concern
  3. Facilitates conferences, education, and training based on Buddhist values and practices that support and strengthen socially active individuals and groups

The focus of INEB’s work is to overcome suffering through the practice of dharma. This practice creates unity and solidarity with individuals and groups who hold similar such values from other beliefs and other fields of social work. In this way, INEB remains steadfast in its commitment to non-violent engagement and articulating holistic social development to build sustainable and harmonious societies.

Contact: secretariat@128.199.131.69