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Sarvodaya

Sarvodaya (‘The Awakening and Welfare of All’). Buddhist-based rural self-development movement, initiated in Śri Lankā and mainly found there. The movement is based on śramadāna, community work projects, and is sometimes known as Sarvodaya Shramadana. The concept was endorsed by Gāndhī, but the specifically Buddhist movement began in 1958, when a young teacher, A. T. Ariyaratne, encouraged his pupils to engage in a fortnight's holiday work camp, starting from the needs as perceived by the destitute villagers themselves. Many other schools and colleges followed this example, and before long bhikṣus were involved. As the movement grew and became formalized, it took care to keep decision-making decentralized, establishing Village Awakening Councils (samhiti) which administered their own budgets and decided their own programmes. About a third of all Śri Lankā's villages became involved; and in 1981, Sarvodaya Shramadana International was instituted, with a concern, not only for Third World development, but for errors in developed societies as well.

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