Purpose and role:

Aryaloka is trying to create an ideal society in India, based on the principles of liberty, equality, fraternity and justice, as taught by Dr. B. R. Ambedkar[1].  In such a society every human being will have the opportunity to fulfill their genuine needs, and they will not be discriminated against on account of their background or beliefs.  Although this may be a very distant goal for India, Aryaloka is committed to playing its part in trying to bring it about.

One of the most conspicuous problems in modern Indian society is the extent of poverty.  The level of disparity between rich and poor is one of the largest in the world.  Children from deprived backgrounds find it virtually impossible to obtain a good quality education, and thus the cycle of inter-generational poverty continues.  Aryaloka contributes to breaking this cycle of poverty by providing career training, mainly in computer education[2], to young adults[3] from deprived backgrounds.

Aryaloka opened up it’s first branch in year 2000 and 2nd branch opened up in year 2005 and 3rd branch opened up in year 2009 at various parts of Nagpur city in Maharashtra state of India. And 4th branch open up in year 2014 at Raipur in Chattisgarh state. Really it’s a big step to expand its branch in other state of India. So far nearly 10000 students learned various kinds of IT courses from basic to advance i.e. MSCIT (Maharashtra State Certificate course in Information Technology) includes MS-office, Internet, Computer typing, DTP (desktop publishing), Graphics design (Photoshop, Corel draw), Hardware networking course and runs special batches for English speaking, life coaching skills.

About 80% of those who’ve been through its courses get jobs related to what they learnt at Aryaloka.

Aryaloka has a greater number of women students than men[1].  This is deliberate, and is a reflection of the fact that in India job prospects for women from disadvantaged backgrounds are extremely poor.  Many girls do not complete their education, and are married off at a young age.  The young women who attend Aryaloka’s courses provide an example to the wider society.  They are role models for their siblings and the community they come from.

As well as the training that is made available to day students who commute from their homes, Aryaloka runs six month residential courses for 20 students per year, based in Nagpur.  Those on Aryaloka’s residential courses live in single sex communities, and run their own affairs within their community.  Through this experience they learn various life skills.  They also develop friendships that generally endure after their courses have finished.

Students on the residential courses are not only given career training, but also training in personality development and self-defence, and guidance in Buddhism and meditation.  Providing guidance in Buddhism and meditation is in line with Dr Ambedkar’s view that religion is necessary bringing about social change[2], and that Buddhism is the most appropriate religion for the modern world[3].  In providing guidance in Buddhism and meditation, Aryaloka draws on the resources of the Triratna Bauddha Sangha.

The number of people (1000 young students every year ) Aryaloka is able to help is obviously extremely small in comparison with the number of people in India who suffer social and economic degradation.  But for those few who do benefit from Aryaloka’s training, the effects are usually life changing.  There are also consequential benefits for their families.

As well as benefiting students who attend its training courses, Aryaloka endeavours to provide ideal working conditions for its staff and workers.  Aryaloka currently has 24 workers, of which 13 are full time.  The number of staff is expected to increase in the years ahead as in future Aryaloka has planned to expand its branches in other worst and poor states of India i.e. Chattisgarh, Orisa, Bihar etc.

[1]These principles have been elucidated by Dr Ambedkar elsewhere, for example in section 14 of his work The Annihilation of Caste 1936.
[2]Aryaloka provides other types of training too, such as tuition in English language.
[3]Although the focus is on young adults, and on computer and animation training, it is possible that in the future Aryaloka could also become involved in teaching younger students, and teaching a wider range of career skills.
[4] About seventy percent of the students are female.
[5]  The Annihilation of Caste 1936.
[6] The Buddha and the Future of His Religion,  May 1950.