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BIA Shelter: Hopeful Promises, Disheartened Realities

BIA Shelter: Hopeful Promises, Disheartened Realities

Kathmandu, Nepal: In 2015, the Bodhisattvas In Action (BIA) Foundation founder, Chogyal Rinpoche, made grand promises to empower differently-abled individuals in Nepal. He pledged to expand businesses, share profits, establish centers across the country, and even create a dedicated village for their livelihood. However, nearly a decade later, these promises remain unfulfilled, leaving many wondering if BIA operates more like a fundraising machine than a genuine support system.

Management under Fire: Sources allege that an incapable management team is at the heart of BIA's shortcomings. They claim the team struggles to produce goods that reach break-even points, hindering profit generation and the promised profit-sharing with the disabled. Marketing efforts for these products are also reportedly absent, further stifling potential growth.

Questionable Activities: Instead of concrete initiatives, BIA's activities seem concentrated on social gatherings. Critics denounce these events as elaborate shows aimed at confusing and impressing donors with celebrity appearances and large gatherings of disabled individuals. These gatherings, hosted at the BIA Shelter in Jorpati, are seen as mere tactics to secure donations from domestic and international sources.

Donation Discrepancies: Reports suggest BIA gathers significant donations, yet utilizes only a fraction for actual support. While around 150 disabled individuals reside in the Jorpati shelter, their wages vary drastically, ranging from a meager NPR 1500 to 4500 – far below the government-mandated minimum wage. Concerns are further amplified by BIA's alleged preferential treatment of individuals with Tibetan connections, granting them residency in the shelter.

Transnational Ties and Opacity: BIA's executives are suspected of maintaining strong ties with Chinese donors, receiving substantial, untransparent funds. The organization also accepts donations from democratic nations, raising concerns about potential discrepancies in its stated humanitarian mission and its financial practices. Additionally, Rinpoche's frequent travels to China and his residence in Switzerland add to the opacity surrounding BIA's operations.

Disabled Speak Out: The disabled community directly affected by BIA is disillusioned. They allege Rinpoche's promises were mere "pleasant confusion," creating false hope that soon morphed into heartbreak. They feel exploited by the management team's profiteering while receiving minimal support themselves. They see Rinpoche and BIA executives as engaged in a global performance of philanthropy, solely aimed at amassing donations.

Read more: Hope to Heartbreak: the Broken Promises of Empowering Disabled People in Nepal

This news story highlights the importance of responsible journalism and investigative reporting in uncovering potential exploitation and injustice within organizations purporting to work for social good. It is a call for transparency, accountability, and a renewed commitment to genuinely empowering vulnerable communities through ethical and effective practices.

BIA Foundation Chogyal Rinpoche