Monday, October 1st, 2012 at 4:34 pm
By Emma Sykes
Beginning my first visit to India to volunteer at Shikshan Gram, I touched down in Mumbai expecting to be overwhelmed by the number of people, the volume of noise, and the sheer scale of the vast and varied country I had read so much about.
And certainly that was my experience on the two and a half hour drive to Shikshan Gram, along an express-way where signalling is rare and appropriate ‘stopping distance’ is an apparently unknown concept!
Nonetheless, Shazar’s calming presence served to assure me that nothing was wrong, and that the constant beeping of horns and white-knuckle overtaking was all actually quite normal…
The environment I woke up to was, however, entirely different. My first few days in the Shelter have been incredibly peaceful. Of course the kids are dynamic, excitable, and constantly chattering. But out in the hills, their pace of life is slow, and considered- everything that needs to be done is done, but not with the urgency and impatience I’m used to. It’s definitely an adjustment I will enjoy making!
Already I can see how valuable the relationship between the children and the Shaolin students is. It’s great for the kids to have such kind and disciplined role models.
And it was a lot of fun to watch them lead Kung-Fu practice this evening around the volleyball net! I have felt welcomed by everyone in the Shelter, and I am so grateful to have been taken into a family when I am so far from home.
Note from the editor: If you would like to volunteer here with us at Shikshan Gram.. you would b every welcome. We love having overseas volunteers for a short stay or a long stay. Contact us today to find out more about volunteering and helping our children.
Thursday, May 10th, 2012 at 1:56 pm
The Shaolin Masters have arrived in India.
The Pune Mirror has covered the Shaolin Masters from China at Shikshan Gram. Their article which is worth reading can be found here.
The Shaolin Masters are here to work with the 1000 children from all over India who have gathered together for a Shaolin Summer Camp at Shikshan Gram. They will also be inaugurating the construction of the Shaolin India Temple which will be built at the site of the new Shelter.
This Shaolin Summer Camp has been the vision of Satish and Yogita Moon.. who have worked ceaselessly over the past couple of months to bring this wonderful event together.
From tomorrow 11th May – the Shikshan Gram Shelter will become a place of celebration, high activity and an experience 1000 underprivileged children will never forget!
I am here in Australia and I can feel the excitement from here!!
If learning Kung Fu from the real Shaolin Masters is something that you have always wanted to do – your opportunity is coming. The Shaolin India Temple will be opening for live-in residential Kung Fu Shaolin Training within the next few months. They will take both Indian and International students. It will be a training that will become world renowned.
Let the games begin!!!
Saturday, October 15th, 2011 at 3:56 pm
The monsoon rains are still with us today.. the land around the new Shikshan Gram site is vibrantly green – and the crickets are screeching their legs together.. seemingly in joy for the steady beat of the huge rain drops.
A couple of them came into my room the other night – uninvited because as they started their racket neither Satish nor I could hear ourselves speak!
Since I was here last in April – the building is almost unrecognizable .. it has grown so much .. and perched right on the top they have built the guest house for me. Including a bathroom with running water and a flush toilet!
What a luxury ..and what joy it was to return to a welcome that overwhelmed me.
The place is buzzing with energy .. thirty young people are living and working here.. training to become Black Belt Karate Masters – and to support the Strong Village Project – the far reaching vision of Satish that sees the possibility of working with the children of the rural villages to educate them, and give them role models that are strong, healthy and respectful to their rights as human beings.
You will be hearing much more about this project in the coming months as it comes to fruition.
And so I have returned home.. to my Indian family … who live the principles that they teach.. that of respect for all human beings and teaching and living by example. It is with great gratitude that I write today as it is rare to have an opportunity to live and work in a place that is so filled with laughter and joy while going about the work that is here to be done with selfless and total commitment. That commitment is seen in every face and and in the energy they put into every task that is presented.This young man had just completed the gruelling workout required for the grading for brown belt from his
Karate Master Sensai Aryabal – 2nd Dan Black Belt.
Being students of the Shaolin Temple in the Shaolin Martial Arts Training Project is not easy.. they are up at 5.30 .. for a 6am meditation followed by sometimes as much as three hours intensive work out on the training ground.. and then they work on the building project.. these young people are amazing! They are our future leaders.
Watch this space!!
Tuesday, May 24th, 2011 at 4:22 am
Ready for Meditation
Here are some more images sent to me from Satish Moon.. of the very successful Summer Camp that was just held at the new site of the Shikshan Gram Shelter.
They had 350 children attending – cared for by the group of 30 Shaolin Temple members who are in training as role models at the Shelter. Of course the staff of the Shelter all pitched in and were incredibly busy over this five days.
Being given a dance lesson from a Bollywood Choreographer.
It was a wonderful success, with visiting Bollywood film star – Yusuf Hussain as well as dance demonstrations, Karate training, Chi Gong meditations and so many wonderful activities for the children.
At the end of the camp, all the children were veryproud to receive attendance certificates.. here being presetnted by Nandini Chandraratam – Satish Moon and suported by Yogita Moon. It was a wonderful end to the celebrations.
Monday, May 16th, 2011 at 11:41 am
The Shaolin Summer Camp for Children of many villages is happening now at the new building site for the Shikshan Gram Shelter .. click on the link here to see the flyer for it.
And now we have the first photos in.. this has been clearly an inspirational event – and when you understand the motivation behind this event, it becomes even more exciting.
It is the vision of Satish Moon to create role models for the Strong Village Project. This project is a far reaching plan to help the villagers of Maharasthra to have a better life – to reduce alcohol and tobacco additiction, to educate the people, to minimise violence and to set new standards so that the children are cared for and do not need to end up in care facilities such as the Shikshan Gram Shelter.
The aim of the Shaolin Summer Camp is to bring the children of as many villages as possible together to give them new role models and demonstrate healthy patterns of behaviour. The leaders at this camp intended to gain the trust of the children so that future connection with the villagers will come from a position of trust and respect.
These a few of the pictures just in from the Camp which concludes tomorrow morning. We are looking forward to sharing much more with you in the coming time.
Sunday, April 3rd, 2011 at 11:13 am
Yesterday 30 people gathered at the new Shikshan Gram site – the first group to come who are in residence for five days. They are a group of committed individuals from all over Maharasthra and for this five days will follow an intensive program designed to begin their one year training to prepare them to take on their position as leaders and role models for the children of the villages.
The Strong Village Project is launched with this five day camp for the leaders.
They are all well educated, and adepts in karate and spiritual Buddhist practice. They have taken on this work willingly and with a deep committment to help to change things in rural Maharasthra.
All of them have the potential to be employed in good paying work – however they have chosen to assist in this Strong Village Project - where they will receive nominal pay and lodging, as they have been inspired to join Satish Moon’s team to make a change in their land and the people of their land.
We will be bringing you much more news of this project in the coming time but for now let me leave you with an image of a team united in their purpose and ready to move forward.
And the kitchen is being used for the first time during this camp..
basic, but producing good wholesome food for the team.
The Kitchen at Shiksham Gram New Site