Karuna means compassion in Sanskrit. My connection with Karuna Home (www.karunahome.org) goes back to 2001 when I was introduced to this special project by my previous yoga teacher, Erika Khoo to a very generous lady, Linda Yong who is one of the founding members of the Karuna Home for the disabled. On Erika’s 50th birthday celebration, Linda gave a slide presentation to the audience as a part of her fund raising drive for Karuna Home. In that presentation, I experienced a deep compassion for the disabled Tibetan children and had since been supporting them in my little small ways.

Karuna Home was founded by a Tibetan Lama, Khube Rinpoche in 2000. Having completed his studies for a Geshe Larampa degree, he looked around the refugee camps and realised that something had to be done to help the disabled, especially the children. Often these disabled children were locked up at home whilst their parents worked the fields or peddled handicraft in the villages.  Despite the initial challenges, Khube Rinpoche and together with a group of dedicated founding members created this miracle of compassion by turning this divine vision into a reality.

Karuna Home was officially declared open and blessed by His Holiness XIVth Dalai Lama, Tenzin Ghiatso of Tibet, on Saturday 3rd December 2004 after 4 years since its inception. Today, Karuna Home is a rehabilaitation and residential center catering mainly to the young, physically and/or mentally disabled, of Tibetan refugee parents in India. The range of disabilities include autism, dyslexia, epilepsy, polio, Down Syndrome and celebral palsy. These children are  given a proper medical care and therapy in a loving and nurturing enviroment so that they can grow and be happy. The Home combines the Western medicine and Tibetan medicine together to treat the residents. Programmes include daily physiotherapy & occupational therapy, Tibetan oil massage & aqua exercises, educational and enrichment programs such as drama & sports.

To keep up with the running costs, Karuna Home welcomes different assistance and support from all over the world in the form of  

  • Giving a donation or sponsorship of a child’s entire monthly cost or just the education or lodging or medical assistance
  • Volunteering your expertise such as doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, educationists for children with special needs, occupational therapists
  • Helping to raise funds for next phase expansion plan
  • Raising awareness of Karuna Home (which I am doing now)

 In July 2006, I finally made my first visit to the Home from Bangalore after a 4-day meditation programme in an ashram. To get there, I had to travel by car for about 5 hours, I was rather tired but the moment I arrived, I was received with so much warmth and love that I forgot about my tiredness. I got to spend some time with the children and walked around the premises and well-planned facilities. In fact, I was utterly impressed by the way it was constructed with natural cost-effective raw materials and its management. The people in the community are compassionate and dedicated to this worthy cause. I was left with some fond memories that I knew someday I would return with my family.

I feel that 2012 is perhaps the year I shall make a return to this miraculous place. As a parent, my aim is to bring different meaningful experiences to my 8 year-old son so that he can have a balanced view of life and the world we live in. So this trip will be both an educational-cum-spiritual holiday, unlike the typical commercial or free-and-easy holiday packages we experienced in the past. A trip to Karuna Home will certainly be very grounding and healing for anyone because we will realize how fortunate we are and not take life for granted.  It is in such moments that we begin to realize how tiny our problems are in the context of the whole. I’ve seen that when we give out love and compassion, it not only heals the person but also ourselves. Through sharing and giving compassionately, we begin to heal ourselves from ideas of separation and realize how connected we are to each other, the whole.

The plan is to visit Karuna Home in September 2012, tentatively from 10-14 Sept, during the one-week term break in Singapore on a 5- day trip for a group of 15 people, both adults and children. Besides getting to stay in the peaceful and beautiful Home with the children, we will be able to share joyful moments with them through activities like sports, story telling, art and more. On the itinerary, there will be sight-seeing tours to the Tibetan monasteries and school just to understand how the Tibetan community settles in India after the exile.  It would be a very meaningful family vacation! If you are keen to be a part of this special tour group, feel free to contact me via email [email protected] to indicate your name, contacts and the number of people joining the tour. The cost will be finalized once we are able to confirm the total number of people.  I sincerely welcome all of you to come and experience the miracle of compassion – Karuna Home.