Ahimsa is a volunteer driven, non-profit organisation geared towards cultural, social development and educational work aimed at creating peace and harmony within oneself, ones' family and in society. Ahimsa aims to spread the ethics of peace and non-violence through alliances and programmes in the areas of mindfulness in education, culture, environment, gender sensitization, responsible tourism and sustainable livelihoods.
Ahimsa Trust has worked with and been supported by The United Nations Development Programme, United Nations Volunteers, Australian Aid, Irish Aid, Seth Consultants Pvt Ltd, Governement of NCT of Delhi, Spice Foundation, MAX India, Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR ), Government of India and from a number of individual donors including the royalty of books from Thich Nhat Hanh.
We have also worked in collaboration with a number of government and non- government organizations such as the Minsitry of Culture, Government of India, Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Samiti, Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, Times Foundation, WASS- Sir Garga Ram Hospital, The Doon School, The Vasant Valley School, Kasiga School, India International Centre, Confederation of Indian Industries (CII), Full Circle, the Sports and Cultural Club, Sector 15 A Noida, the Aspen Institute, the Maha Bodhi Society of India, Nava Nalanda Mahavihara, The Tibetan Institute of Higher Studies, Alliance Francaise and Sanskriti Foundation.
Ahimsa Trust is involved in a Mindfulness in Education initiative, inspired by Thich Nhat Hanh which is based on mental training to bring a moment to moment awareness of what is going on within oneself and outside oneself. This mind training allows students, teachers, parents and administrators to develop well-being and social emotional learning (SEL). Following Mindfulness practices on a daily basis allows children and others to develop stillness, calm and ease so as to look deeply at the body, emotions, perceptions, volitions, mental formations, thoughts, speech etc. This not only helps in mental processes of concentration, attentiveness, memory, judgement, impulse control and reasoning but also helps enhance academic performance, decrease stress, resolve conflicts and build community. Towards this Ahimsa Trust is setting up a Mindfulness Practice Centre in the village of Rajpur near Dehradun in Uttarakhand, India.
This 4 ½ acre centre (land has been purchased) would be developed as an educational, spiritual and socio-ecological centre; a place of refuge, training and compassionate action. There would be a community of teachers and practitioners who will help instruct in mind training, inner management, spiritual education, and mindful living. The land was blessed by Thich Nhat Hanh at the end of September 2008.
Thich Nhat Hanh's visit to India in September/October 2008 was under the Mindfulness in Education programme. He led a national retreat for teachers at The Doon school in Dehra Dun, and taught in various other cities including Delhi, Nagpur and Varanasi at both educational and other institutions. Accompanying him for 37 days were around 30 other senior teachers of Mindfulness from his centres around the world.
His senior teachers visited six schools in Delhi and led two day workshops with teachers and children.
As one of the follow up activities of his visit, the book, “Calming the Fearful Mind – A Zen Response to Terrorism” was launched by the Chief Minsiter of Delhi on the 14th of February 2009. After the book launch there was a panel discussion with a special focus on education where a number of educators had a discussion on “Appropriate Responses to Terrorism”
One of our other main projects, 'Creative Manual Skills for Self Reliant Development' in West Bengal, is involved in strengthening existing village skills and knowledge base, so that people can become self-sufficient through their own efforts. Farmers, women and youth are involved and the focus is on areas such as organic farming, kitchen gardens, seed funds, medicinal plants, craft training, product improvement, and barter of essential goods and services, and for cultural strengthening and functional literacy. The Trust believes that we need to look to our huge pool of skilled artisans to provide the answers to move towards a sustainable development path that is based on local knowledge systems, cultural diversity and inner contemplation.
Besides this project, Ahimsa is working on various efforts which include helping individuals with medical/educational assistance, improving livelihoods and habitat, peace education, schools, artisans, environment (like spreading awareness on cleaning up our rivers, especially the Yamuna), mindfulness practice and teaching, organizing talks, distribution of books etc. in various states in India.
We feel privileged to be able to draw on the support of our Trustees and Advisors from such diverse fields as international development, local habitat and village regeneration, education, law, tourism, heritage and craft development and meditation and mindfulness practices.
We, at Ahimsa Trust believe firmly that the eternal message of truth, peace and nonviolence is even more relevant today than ever before, considering the ecological catastrophe we're facing, and the increase of different forms of violence in both personal and public life. We hope to address such issues on peace using both inner and macro/community-based initiatives.