BODH GAYA: Social services are in full swing at the largest Buddhist congregation in Bodh Gaya where an estimated 2 lakh devotees have come to attend the Kalachakra Initiation, organised by the Central Tibetan Administration.
An army of volunteers, clad in yellow uniforms are seen offering help to old aged devotees, lost children, receiving devotees at railway stations/airports and securing the devotees’ camps day and night.
Under the maxim of ‘Service to people’, the volunteers of Tibetan Youth Congress organisation are organising one of the largest social service, aimed at ensuring ease and chaos-free teaching experience for all devotees.
In an interview with Tibet.net. Mr Tenzing Jigme, President of TYC introduced the string of services led in action from 23 December, “We are aiming to provide maximum service to all devotees gathered for the Kalachakra teachings. A special feature of our social service program during this Kalachakra is the wheelchair service through which we enable many old aged pilgrims and differently abled, to circumambulate the Mahabodhi stupa, visit nearby monasteries and make smooth passage to and fro from Kalachakra teachings to their rooms.”
This massive welfare service is being achieved through a team of 250 volunteers from 19 regional Tibetan Youth Congress and TYC chapter members from five different colleges across India.
Social Service Actions in place under the aegis of TYC
Announcement centres: A total of 15 volunteers are stationed at two announcement centres to make announcements regarding the schedules of Kalachakra proceedings, lost and found belongings of the devotees, emergency help contacts and to provide guidance and assistance requested by devotees.
Announcements are made in 8 different languages: English, Tibetan, Hindi, Nepali, Chinese, Bhutanese, Ladakhi.
Unit for newly arrived Tibetans from Tibet: This unit of 30 volunteers are stationed at the Reception Centre for 24*7 to provide interpreter assistance and to guard the devotees’ tents during teachings. The group also assist the main office at the Tibetan Reception Centre.
Emergency unit: Thirty volunteers, under this unit, provide three different services; Wheelchair Service, Medical Service; Funeral Service.
Special unit of wheelchair service for aged devotees: A set of wheelchairs can be seen at the main announcement centre, from where old aged or differently abled can request the service. The wheelchair service is provided with attendants, who assist and ensure safe passage–to and fro–from the teaching ground to their rooms. The wheelchair service can be coordinated through a first come first serve basis.
The medical service team is led by two nurses who attend to emergency calls from patients and makes arrangement to avail proper medical and ambulance service from the Department of Health, CTA.
Funeral Service: The unit render services for final rituals and cremation of devotees who pass away at the initiation.
Reception unit: A team of 40 volunteers volunteer at Gaya railway station to guide devotees who are first timers, old aged and those don’t speak the local language, from railway station to Bodh Gaya. Until yesterday the team has been operating at Patna railway station and Patna airport.
Care for aged and destitute people: 30 TYC members provide volunteer service and assistance for thousand aged and destitute Tibetans at the Tsurphu Labrang. The Department of Home, CTA has sponsored and enabled thousand destitute individuals, families and aged senior members from various Tibetan settlements to attend the 34th Kalachakra Initiation. It supports their travel and daily expenses, while the Tsurphu Labrang supports the food and accommodation.
Security Unit: As security is a major concern at such a huge congregation, this 50-member unit provides night patrolling service and guard the tents of devotees in absence of the devotees, especially during teachings.
Bus, train and flight ticket booking service: Members of the regional TYCs are offering bus, train and air ticket booking services. The purpose is to help devotees who need assistance in buying tickets at the last minute.
24/7 hotline numbers for emergency: 72618 41877 and 99068 27444