Two weeks today, on October 14th, is the anniversary of the mass conversions in India when in 1956 Dr. Ambedkar converted to Buddhism along with over 400,000 of his followers – perhaps the greatest mass conversion the world has ever seen. Every year on this day in Nagpur up to a million people gather: it’s a remarkable occasion as the photograph opposite amply demonstrates.
In celebration of this we’ll be exploring its significance through a number of articles on FWBO News, starting with two resource packs recently produced by the FWBO’s fundraising charity the Karuna Trust www.karuna.org .
The first gives a general overview of who Dr. Ambedkar was and his significance both in India and the West. It includes advice on organising an Ambedkar Day event and (on the last page) a list of resources for further study – including a link to download the English-language version of the movie ‘Ambedkar’, which is a brilliant account of his life and struggles. It’s downloadable here.
The second is a visual introduction to some of Karuna’s work in India and is downloadable here.
Karuna was formed nearly 30 years ago in response to the suffering of the Dalit (ex-untouchable) community, and today sends well over £1 million per year to a wide variety of projects in South Asia.
The majority of fundraising is generated by volunteer fundraisers who sign up individual supporters during 6-week door-to-door fundraising appeals: as a result, it has over 7,000 regular supporters!
Karuna have asked us to draw readers’ attention to a list of ways people can contribute to their work –
• Join a 6-week Karuna door-to-door Appeal in 2010 – Signing up new supporters on the doors raising funds to support projects in South Asia
• Participate in a Phone Campaign – Phoning existing supporters to communicate the benefits of Karuna’s work in South Asia with a view to them increasing their regular donation
• Join the Karuna Fundraising Community House – live, eat and breath fundraising with others in community for a whole year!