“Blessing of HH Dalai Lama and receiving award are still big encouragement”

Rajan with HH Dalai Lama

Seven years ago, in April 2009, director and founder of BSS Rajan Kaur Saini received the Unsung Heroes of Compassion Award from Wisdom in Action. His Holiness Dalai Lama handed out the award to her in San Francisco. Receiving this award felt as a big blessing and a great honour to Rajan and it encouraged her to continue her good work and to face many difficulties.
Rajan: “I never thought in my dreams that my work would be recognized and to receive this compassion award. As a teacher I always do my work with love and a pure heart. Receiving this blessing of His Holiness made me feel more confident, energetic and encouraged me to do more for so many children in need.”

Big challenges
Receiving the compassion award also encouraged Rajan to overcome many challenges. Rajan: ”One of the major problems is to educate these untouchable children and motivating their parents to face and overcome everyday challenges and difficulties.
In the year of 2013 I chose the children from Chaukaghat community (the slums alongside the railway tracks), who live without shelter under a bridge. I put my attention and focus on these children, and surveyed their community. It was very difficult to bring these children to BSS. They did not know what school was or a childhood life! Most parents are alcoholic and don’t bother about their children’s future; instead they send them out for begging. Fortunately we succeeded in convincing the parents to send their children to school. We now have 35 motivated students from the Chaukaghat community at BSS.

Babu, Durga and Jyoty
Rajan had to face also many other big problems and tragedies. In 2013 a boy named Babu from the Chaukaghat community was severely burnt due to an accident near the railway tracks.
Rajan told us, “Thanks to all people who gave support we were able to safe his life. It was very difficult time for me. I did not get any support from Babu’s parents, not even in blood donation. I had to declare in the hospital to be responsible for his life and death, during his treatment. I was crying internally and praying to God. Somehow a doctor saved his life.”

Unfortunately not every child can be saved. Rajan has been devastated many times because many of her students have met early and violent deaths. ”This is most difficult and so sad. There are so many problems and issues in the communities where our students live, like abuse, murder and child marriage… We lost little Durga (4) and also Jyoti (13) died in front of my eyes because of the results of the sexual violence of her husband. It made me feel guilty. I know difficulties never end. One goes another comes.”

Giving children a childhood and future
There were also many successes. Rajan: “We have 221 students in elementary school. We feel thankful and happy we can give them love and care, and a good education.” Rajan continues: “I am also proud of our students who now are in middle school, high school, higher secondary school and graduates. They are doing tremendous to achieve their goal and shaping the path for others.”

New plans
With the confidence, energy and encouragement Rajan received, she will continue to do her work and making new plans. At the moment BSS is building a small day care center for children of 0 to 3 years old siblings of girls who are, on some days, forced to stay home to care for the younger children. Rajan:”I want to run this center effectively and not let our girl students drop their studies because they have to do day care for siblings. With the day care we also provide a good environment for their little siblings to grow up.”
“My future plan and dream for BSS is to acquire a big land where we can build up middle school, run vocational classes to empower the children, who are the future of the country.”

Betsy Rose touches hearts


Recently we had the privilege to welcome American singer and songwriter Betsy Rose. For many years already she is spreading the message of justice, peace and love in the world. Where she is, she touches and moves the hearts of people. In our school Betsy Rose sang different songs in English and Hindi, and played for us on her guitar.


One of the songs she sang together with our students was “We shall overcome”. This is a special song for our students, who live under very harsh conditions.

All students of BSS sing it every morning in their class room, before school starts. It is a song about strength and hope for a better future. Singing this song with Betsy Rose was an unforgettable experience.

See on the video below how impressed the children were!

Taking care of our students in winter time

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During cold winter nights in Varanasi it is always a big challenge for our students to stay healthy. During the day the temperature is warm but as soon as the night comes, temperatures drop down to 7-10 degrees Celsius ( 44-50 degrees Fahrenheit) at night. Most of our students and their families sleep in small huts made of plastic sheeting held together with sticks, or in open air without any shelter at all. Consequently many of our students arrive at school with colds and fever. It is crucial that we help our children and their parents to stay warm at night in order to stay healthy. Thanks to BSS friends who gave donations during January we were able to distribute 170 warm blankets to our children who were in the most need of blankets.

We also had to take extra care of the youngest children of our school. Most of them come to school in their bare feet. Besides the risk of injuring themselves by stepping in a sharp object walking bare-footed, they also run the risk of getting sick during this cold winter period. We are very thankful that we were able to purchase warm cozy winter clothes and shoes and socks for our students in Nursery and Kindergarten. For some children it was a new experience: wearing shoes for the first time in their lives!

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Living under a bridge


Since October 2015 around 35 students who had been living in huts along the railroad (called Chaukaghat Community),  live under a freeway bridge in open air and without any shelter to protect them.  The photo above shows BSS students Golu, Chotu and Majnu in their  new ‘home’….under a freeway. Our students and their parents and siblings were thrown out of their little homemade tents by the railway police. Now these families have no protection or privacy. They are living out in the open.

BSS Founder Rajan Kaur Saini said: “Our Chaukaghat children are now living in very harsh conditions; their lives are in danger almost every day. This makes their attendance at BSS even more crucial for their very lives and safety.  At BSS they receive more than a good education, a nutritious meal and love. They are also safe when the come to school. This is a big concern. We truly hope that the living conditions of these children and families will improve.”

We hope these extremely impoverished families will be able to build small huts again in another neighborhood which will allow them safety and dignity.


BSS will have Day Care Center

DjeBuddha’s Smile School has started with the construction of a small day care center for children in the age of 0 to 3 years old. This new center will enable girl elementary school students to attend classes on a regular basis rather than intermittently stay home to care for their younger siblings.

Rajan Kaur Saini, founder of BSS explains: “On days when the parents of many of our older girl students find work, they insist that the older daughters stay home from school in order to care for younger siblings. That means many of our girl students fall irretrievably behind in classwork.”

One example is Buli (7), a student of the Bengali refugee community. This school year Buli did not come to school regularly. Only twice a month her mother allowed her to come to school, because she had to Buli1and baby brothertake care of her baby brother while her mother collects garbage. That’s why the school decided to put Buli off the school list, so another child can come to school. Buli came to school since Nursery and loves to come to school. When the new day care center is ready, Rajan will have to convince Buli’s mother to send Buli with her baby brother to school again.

Therefore BSS has asked their donors to help build a day care center. One foundation who responded is Amistad International. Amistad’s executive director, Karen Kotoske “We are very enthusiastic about helping this urgent need. Building a small day care center is urgently needed so that BSS elementary girls don’t have to miss classes. The BSS board of directors has made a good strategic decision. A day care center will help to keep their younger girls in school so that they can at least complete elementary school.” Human Y Terre, a NGO from France, is helping BSS with the operational costs of the day care center.

The design for the center will be a 950 sq ft. room for the main child care with bathrooms, wash-up sinks and mattresses for children’s naps. There will also be an assembly space for the elementary students and possibly a small office for BSS staff. The expected opening of the day care center will be in the summer of 2016.

More than ‘First Aid’

Sharmili, a young girl-child was hit by an auto Rickshaw a few days ago. Sharmili is from a beggar community in Sarnath near Buddha’s Smile School.

“We regularly pick-up Sharmili and her elder brother Biru with the school bus,” Rajan Kaur Saini, founder of BSS said. “They enjoy coming to school and I was told after her accident with the auto Rickshaw, Sharmili cryed all day and night,  asking her mother to bring her here. Fortunately her mother eventually did bring to BSS as Sharmili’s foot needed cleaning and a proper dressing applied. We also gave her medicine and Sharmili’ foot started to heal.

“A few days later Sharmili and her brother failed to attend school even though our bus had gone to pick them up. They were not at their hut so on the second day we started looking for them. We finally found Sharmili alone and begging at the Sarnath museum. We picked her up and brought her to BSS. Her wound was very dirty, smelling and badly infected so we took her to a Doctor.

“Now we are ensuring she has daily medicine and the wound is a clean and dresses each day,” Rajan said

“I couldn’t help myself, I went to their home and scolded her mother and father. But in truth this is what happens all the time here due to the poverty and illiteracy of the many of our children’s parents — the whole family suffers, but the children, and especially the girl children suffer most,” Rajan said.

The Most Dedicated Boy

KISHANKishan, the most dedicated boy of Buddha’s Smile School, stepped into BSS  in 2004. He is the 2nd oldest among all his brothers and sisters. He has two brothers and two sisters, all of them studied at BSS and are now grown up.

One of his brother is disable since berth and is now 21 years old.

“Kishan was 8 years old when I enrolled his name in class UKG,” Rajan Kaur Saini, founder of Buddha’s Smile School said. “Every day the family had to suffer for food. Their Father left the children and wife for 2 years. He just did not come home one day and his Mother wondered how she took care of all her children, especially since one of  was disable and needed a lot of attention and care all of the time.”

“In 2006 the situation became very serious. There was not enough for to feed all her children and the brothers and sisters started to fight with each other, they were all hungry. Kishan tried to commit suicide by taking poison — a pesticides that was used for plants in the field,” Rajan said.

“I got the news and immediately rushed to their home. Fortunately, Kishan was saved and admitted to hospital.”

Kishan left Rajan a letter in which he wrote: “Please give my books to other child so that they would be able to study.”

“This made me cry,” Rajan said. “Karen sister, from Amistad International (our major sponsor) will also remember as she was here when it happened. We shared the sad news of this boy and also the joy of his recovery.”

“Kishan Mother started to send all of her children to BSS so they all could have at least one full meal a day — BSS provides every child with a wholesome meal each day thanks to the generosity of Geir Davidsen’s family and friends from Etne, Norway.

Now Kishan is in class 10. He is also working as laborer. He has a lot of courage to face the world and is full of energy and dreams.


Raj & Shalu’s story

RAJ & SHALUWe found Raj and Shalu (Brother and Sister) at the railway station slum community in 2013. They simply caught Rajan Kaur Saini, founder of Buddha’s Smile School’s attention and were brought in and registered as students.

Presently Raj is studying in Grade-1 and his sister Shalu in L.K.G.

“It was very difficult to convince their parents to send them to school,” Rajan said. “Their father being an alcoholic and very ill mannered and their mother working as a junk picker and selling on the junk for money.

Raj and Shalu used to beg on trains. They didn’t know about school and school life and studies before coming to BSS.

Now they had fallen in love with BSS and regularly attend school.

As they had their huts illegally on railway tracks, police kicked them out from that place, they moved to a near by village.

With the constant effort of Rajan to contact and trace them out and convincing the parents BSS was able to bring back both the children to school and now they are happy and coming to school daily.


Sashi’s story

SASHISASHI is a student of Buddha’s Smile School since 2005; she belongs to Harijan Dalit community. Presently she is studying in class-9th in Kasturba Inter College.

Her father is a Rickshaw puller; he spends all his earned money drinking as he is a alcoholic. In the influence of alcohol he beats his wife and three daughters and curse them saying why they were born to him and also tell them why they don’t die.

Recently her father met with an accident which stopped him from working and the family is literally had nothing to eat.

Sashi and her two sisters had to work as daily labors/making beads/malas to earn some money for food. Again a tragedy happened SASHI fell while carrying bricks on her head on a construction site and fractured her leg. She was depressed, as she had no one to support her and her family. Her mother is also sick and unable to work.

She had shared all her problems with BSS and her medical treatment was done by BSS and now she is started walking slowly after one month of plaster and had started attending school.

She want to study further and her aim is to become a teacher in the future.