NY Buddhists assist South African food security project Special

Posted Apr 28, 2010 by Sharon Davis
New York Buddhists have, as part of Buddhist Global Relief, donated US$12,000 to a ensure food security for those affected by HIV and AIDS in rural areas around Underberg, in South Africa.
At the same time as gardens were being dug at rural Mquatsheni, near Underberg, in South Africa, Buddhists in a Chinese monastery near New York decided to support the Khuphuka Project, a Public Benefit Organisation that assists those affected by HIV and AIDS.
After hearing about the umbrella organisation, Dharamgiri Outreach, and the good work the Khuphuka Project is doing in the area, Buddhist Global Relief , an initiative started by one of the West's most renown Buddhist scholars, Bhikkhu Bodhi, donated USD 12,000 towards emergency food parcels, with the possibility of renewing the donation in six months time.
The money is enough to provide about 20 emergency food parcels a month for a year, enough to feed about 200 people in crisis, said Thanissara Weinberg, a director of Dharmagiri Outreach.
"All too often valuable resources that the government should be distributing to families in crisis, like those at Mquatsheni, are lost under the weight if bureaucracy, inefficiency, and sometimes corruption," said Weinberg.
Khuphuka, wich means "rise up", was the name given to the project by Abegail Ntleko, a recipient of the Dalai Lama's Unsung Hero Reward in 2008 for her tireless service over more than 50 years. A Mquatsheni resident, Ntleko has personally adopted and fostered dozens of children and started an orphanage that houses and educates many of the children from Mquatsheni, some of whom are now entering University.
The name was deliberately chosen because the building of skills and capacity within a community is an essential ingredient in community development work. "It is possible that out of the disaster and dust of AIDS, that a new generation can indeed Rise Up and take their destiny in their own hands. Such empowerment may start with somethings as small as planting a cabbage seed," said Weinberg.