Manuski is using its experience to develop a trained and effective all-India network of social activists from among the alumni of Nagarjuna Institute.
The Nagarjuna Institute at Nagaloka introduces Dalit and other socially disadvantaged youth from all over India to Buddhism and Babasaheb’s vision of Prabuddha Bharat. It offers a one year residential training course, and a three year BA degree course in Buddhism and Dr. Ambedkar Studies as part of Nagpur University. It teaches basic Dhamma, meditation, puja, Buddhist community life, and social action.
Most of the students come from situations of extreme poverty, degradation and discrimination. After a few months of Dhamma practice they feel transformed, with a new found confidence; they realise they can do something with their lives, both for themselves and for society.
After leaving, many share what they have learnt of the Dhamma in their villages and towns. Many have started social projects such as:
- Working with children from the much degraded Mushahar (rat-eating) Dalit caste.
- Starting a school for 400 children.
- Running hostels for children affected by calamities and discrimination.
- Conducting awareness programmes against superstition and towards gender equality.
- Running a school for disabled children.
- Responding to atrocities.
- Running kindergartens and study classes for children.
- Motivating Dalit youth.
Since 2002 almost 1,100 young people from 25 Indian States and more than 40 castes have participated in the residential training programme and make up an all-India network of Dhamma practitioners and social activists. In five years time there could be almost 2,000 alumni. This network is beginning to create ripples throughout India.
Manuski is now working with the Nagaloka alumni network in capacity building, human rights advocacy and caste-based discrimination, encouraging women’s leadership, working with the most degraded communities such as manual scavengers, and much more. It is developing the All-India Network of Social Activists and young Buddhists to enable them to carry on Babasaheb’s mission of annihilation of caste and strengthen the values of Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, and Manuski.