Educate Hearts and Minds will also help build nourishment libraries amongst youth at schools and organizations in Bhutan, Nepal, Northern India, Africa, Tanzania, and select schools in the United States. Our goal is to spark a conversation that puts cultivating happiness as a skill at the forefront of 21st century education for children.
One of the tragedies for villagers living In the Himalayan regions is the dearth of schools. They are few, far between, and frequently not going beyond the primary grades or junior high. Children must walk many kilometers per day to school, something which is not feasible during the snowy winters or rainy summers. For this reason, the children of the Himalayas must either leave their villages for urban areas or remain uneducated (or barely educated), rendering them unable to get proper employment later in life. Giving these children access to education is crucial.
Divine Shakti Foundation currently has built, renovated and expanded schools in a few regions of the Himalayas. There is need for much, much more. This can begin with school buses that can carry children from the villages to the nearby schools, and then expand to include the construction of more, better quality, schools in more villages.
Divine Shakti Foundation has been running, sponsoring, and assisting schools in the Himalayan region for more than two decades. We run free children’s schools as well as women’s vocational training programs. However there is a great need to scale up dramatically.
The ICV Inner and Outer Peace Fund is pleased to support the programs of the Peace Service USA, Shanti Sewa Ashram, which is spreading spiritual awareness globally through charity-based schools for holistic educations and spirituality-based community centers, for peace and selfless service, for all social groups in need of assistance in Nepal.
Women’s Education Program (WEP)
For more than 15 years, WEP has served to educate underprivileged women who were not provided any basic literary classes when they were young and living in remote villages. Teaching one women means teaching a whole family. The Ashram hopes to expand its services by providing focused education through a women educations program. To date, more than 600 women have been graduated.
Amount needed: $250 / month for WEP to hold informal classes at the Shanti Sewa Ashram in Kathmandu.
“If we can educate one woman, we can educate her whole family. If we can educate her whole family, we can educate an entire community.”
– Dr. Chintamani Yogi
Children’s Peace Home (CPH)
There are currently 35 orphan children, victims of war and abuse, who are staying at the CPH in Dang, a small village in western part of Nepal.
Amount needed: $50 / month to provide education, food, accommodations and clothes to each child of the CPH. The CPH hopes to support 50 children, a cost of $2,500 / month.
Children Study Club
This project is aimed at helping neighborhood community children. Volunteers and teachers of the Club are trying their best to engage children in many indoor activities along with their regular homework.
Girls Scholarship Program (GSP)
Every year, approximately 20 girls from deprived communities are given scholarships to a 2-year college program. Education helps to reduce the cases of early marriage, which is a serious problem in Nepal.
Amount needed: $20 / month for each girl of the GSP.
Transit Home for Children
In Dang located in the western region of Nepal, poverty, illiteracy, social injustice, and conflict is common. The Peace Service USA, Shanti Sewa Ashram hopes to establish a Transit Home for Children with five bedrooms to provide shelter and save children from victimization.
Amount needed: $50,000
“Children are the world’s most valuable resource and its best hope for the future.”
– John F. Kennedy
We work mainly in the area of the capital, Kathmandu. One of the poorest countries in the world, with a daily income of less than a dollar, most people find themselves living on the threshold of extreme poverty. However, the Kathmandu Valley still attracts thousands of poor people from the countryside who are in desperate need of work. But, as the economic situation of the country continues to worsen the numbers of unemployed and hungry grow; in the capital vast areas of degradation exist where the rising number of poor live in precarious homes that lack water, sanitation, electricity, food, mattresses, blankets… Public services, when available, have a fee and so it is the poor who often remain excluded.
Parents have to pay to send their children to school, but families who have a sufficient income are rare so many children start work at an early age and the illiteracy rate in the country remains high.
Thanks to this project approximately 900 children are enrolled into schools in the Kathmandu area. These children, from the poorest families, are guaranteed education and medical care. Some of the children who first entered into the long distance adoptions programme, are now studying in further education.
Schools in Tibet
This project takes care of some already existent infant schools in the Shigatse area of Central Tibet. These extremely poor schools, made up of 3 to 4 rooms, are constructed of mud bricks with beaten earth floors and are almost completely without equipment or furniture.
Village schools offer instruction only up to the third year. The school of Nye is the only one in this district that offers education up to the sixth class and therefore also has to offer very basic residential facilities, because of the lack of transport, to the 200 children who come from surrounding villages.
The schools often lack desks, chairs, money for heating, to buy books and scholastic materials, to carry out basic maintenance such as roof repairs and the replacement of broken glass that is so necessary due to the extreme climate of Tibet. Donations received by the Association are used to cover these expenses. Thanks to funds raised for the schools project, the Shongma Shang Village school was completely rebuilt in order to replace the existing dangerous building. Other donations were used to buy blankets and mattresses for the children of Nye School, who slept on wooden palettes and were badly covered, due to the lack of blankets, against the extreme climatic conditions. Many of the children “adopted at a distance” in Tibet attend one of these schools, and in these villages the numbers of children able to receive an education is growing.
For children who do not receive any help it is very difficult for them to attend school, because their families have no income and therefore not even the small amount of money needed to buy school materials, but these parents also need to give up help in the fields, with younger siblings, with the animals, for the collecting of fuel and so on.
Thanks to the generosity of donors, schools have been built in villages that the Association helps.
The Emergency Fund
In Nepal, Tibet and India, we are approached by people in desperate need of immediate assistance: some need money for basic medical care for themselves or their children (there is no free medical care in these countries) and others for urgent life-saving operations; some people because they have no work or have lost their harvest and have no other way to feed their family or pay the rent; others because they are elderly and alone, not able to work they are left abandoned to themselves.
The Emergency Fund also takes care of sustaining temporarily those children whose sponsorships have been interrupted. In this way children are not forced to leave school or to return to their initial difficult living situations.
Photo credit: National Geographic
Our experienced team has the character, courage and commitment to solving the world’s greatest challenges. We operate on the ground to facilitate essential research. Conducting large-scale interviews and clarifying risks and opportunities, we create engagement with community leaders to establish sustainable solutions.
Shelley Lewis is the Executive Director of the Inner and Outer Peace Fund. Her will to effect positive change and empathic nature have led her to be at the forefront of designing forward-thinking lifestyle brands in publishing, wellness, and the arts with the mission to help people live well for close to two decades. Noted by her contemporaries as the Doyenne of Inner Calm, Shelley is well known for directing community based initiatives in New York City that foster compassion and authentic connection. She is a recognized thought leader in the field of wellness founding healing brand Sacred Space NY as a means to help New Yorker’s find their inner calm and discover practices for inner peace. She is the founder and host of The Equanimity Expert teaching a methodology for living based on wisdom based principles and Stoic Philosophy; mission based publishing company, Chocolate Sauce, devoted to nourishing the inner worlds of children; the Hedonic Lab a reflective laboratory for people pursuing their passion with purpose and is currently launching an empowerment fitness concept for tween girls called Wonder Gal. Her entree into the world of philanthropy came when she was appointed Director of new funding initiatives for a private foundation that worked closely with the National Science Foundation. The Sari Filtration Project in Dhaka Bangladesh for which she was appointed field officer was a trip which changed the trajectory of her life. Through her role she was privy to multiple early stage studies in the fields of neuroscience and mindfulness based stress reduction. Becoming well acquainted with many of the key academics in the field and their research, a particular interest at the cross section of insight and human flourishing led her to a six months teaching program at Teachers College, Columbia University designing socially and emotionally intelligent curriculum for children. She has made appearances on Al Jazeera, BBC News Worldwide, Deepak Chopra’s Sirirus Radio discussing her humanitarian endeavors and was a featured contributor for the social impact section of the Huffington Post. Originally from the UK she moved to London where she received her RSA diplomas at Christies. Once graduating she relocated to New York to continue her career at Christie’s and later on at The Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco before her trip to Bangladesh whilst working in conjunction with the National Science Foundation led to the creation of her first entrepreneurial pursuit, an award winning bi-lingual children’s book to help raise money to rebuild schools in Ghazni province Afghanistan. Blending her background in the arts, philanthropy, publishing and wellness, Shelley applies her holistic experience — she is a certified positive psychology coach, crisis counselor, and yoga teacher — with her creative talent and entrepreneurial drive. A quiet force of nature her formidable network of influencers make her well suited to spearhead the development of IOPF and cultivate its vision as a hub for impactful initiatives that help aid world peace by cultivating inner peace. Shelley holds a Master of Arts Degree from University of Glasgow and is a graduate of the Columbia School of Journalism.
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“If we are to ensure a peaceful future for our world, I believe that it is important that we foster positive values like compassion, kindness and love in our children’s minds from an early age. Certainly, books like these can help us do that.”
– His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama