A Western Buddhist's Travels

Sightseeing & detours on the path of enlightenment

Awakening of all or Universal Uplift

I was looking for information on Buddhism and development, when I came across a Wikipedia article on Sarvodaya. This led me to http://www.sarvodaya.org/ which is the largest grassroots or people powered and supported movement in Sri Lanka. It has values from Buddhism as well as approaches from Ghandi. Reading more I found a model that intrigues me. This model is not about bringing the villages to western standards, rather ensuring basic needs are met, and life made pleasant with a minimum of technology. The goal is that each village be self reliant, self managed, organised, and act independently.

By meeting the basic human needs each village is in a position to support itself, and allow its villagers to achieve their potential as human beings. This comprehensive, multidisciplinary approach not only meets the physical needs of the villagers, but also gives them the basis to allow spiritual and cultural developments based on an approach of equality, supported by shared moral values.

1. A clean, healthy and beautiful environment.

2. Provide adequate supplies of clean drinking water.

3. Supply of basic clothing needs.

4. Sufficient locally sourced nutritious food for a balanced diet.

5. Safe secure basic housing.

6. Accessible basic healthcare

7. Holistic education

8. Basic communication facilities to connect with the rest of the country

9. A minimal supply of energy.

10. Satisfaction of intellectual and cultural needs.

With over 15,000 villages now participating in this program at some stage or another, the movement is having an effect on the national level. Once a village has become self sufficient, instead of bringing more villagers from other areas to join the community, the village becomes the support hub for ten more villages following the same steps. This allows the village to give back to others for the help it received. Unlike most programs which require assistance to be returned to the aid agency in one form or another, this one allows the citizens to build capacity to help others up.

For more information: http://www.sarvodaya.org/

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