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CHARITY BEGINS AT HOME

Ajay Gudka with his beloved Guru and Mentor - Bapu, the visionary behind the renaissance of rural Gujarat

CHARITY BEGINS AT HOME

Ajay and Mira Gudka are a couple with a conscience – to serve humanity and encourage a value-based ethical lifestyle. During their travels to India, they came across a young Hindu saint, Bapu, with a big vision. Sitting under a tree in an ashram (retreat centre) near Junagadh, India, he foresaw a shift in the horizon, where his village and its small community would be transformed by help from the West. Ajay and Mira became excited, and started to work on realising this vision. Since that day twelve years ago, there are now new schools, hospitals and medical care, animal shelters, old peoples homes and a large guest house and visitor centre at this Ashram, all thanks to this partnership.

Back home in England, Ajay and Mira started sharing this dream with others, and set up a charity, BEHT, to help channel the funding for this development work. They encouraged friends and relatives to travel there and meet Bapu themselves, and so many of them got inspired and encouraged to support his spiritual journey. Very soon, a team of volunteers was formed, and fund-raising activities began in earnest. In time, people came forward to sponsor whole buildings in order to help achieve this renaissance. Bapu has excellent spiritual knowledge and management skills, and was able to channel these funds and ensure that good quality buildings and personnel were hired to bring about the rural development. Hundreds of students began graduating from the schools, with new confidence and hope for their home town.

Children at one of the schools funded and built by BEHT, near Junagadh, India

In twelve years, the milestones they have achieved are remarkable, considering that they are several thousand miles away from India. The link between Britain and India has continued unabated, and many young people from Britain have gone to volunteer at the school, and discovered in the process that they learnt a lot from the children and their honesty and simplicity. While the West is full of resources, the East is packed with wisdom, and what BEHT has achieved is to open the bridge and ensure that everyone wins. In the West, meaning is missing, and community and love have become commodities to be traded and exploited, rather than nurtured and celebrated. BEHT is a beacon of hope.

To find out more about BEHT, visit www.beht.org - you can donate, volunteer or simply spread the word, far and wide. This story shows that small steps can lead to big transformations, if done selflessly and with courage.

Article added on 2nd March 2011 at 3:41pm
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