Abiley Padma Lhaskit was an old lady who had fallen victim to such changes in family life in Ladakh. She had been abandoned at the Government Hospital in Leh. She had lived in the hospital for over 7 years due to the sympathetic allowances made by the doctors who realized she was destitute.
Ven.Sanghasena Mahanayaka Thera, our Guruji and founder of Mahabodhi organizations, Leh, Ladakh, heard of Abi Lhaskit (Abi = Grand Mother in Ladakhi language), he immediately brought her to Devachan Campus – centre of various social and humanitarian activities started by Guruji. After seeing Abi Lhaskit and many other elderly people needing a secure home to lead rest of their lives in dignity, and in peace, Guruji determined to start a facility for them at Devachan.
In July 1995, finally the day came and the Maitri Old Age Home was established with 3 women, including Abhi Lhaskit. The Old Age Home grew as a response to people like Abi Lhaskit. Over the years in addition to induction of aged people, the Home had to also offer the facility to quite a number of physically challenged and mentally handicapped people of Ladakh. This program indeed translates the Buddha’s teachings of loving kindness and compassion into action.
Under the loving guidance of our Guruji, the Mahabodhi has been successfully operating the Maitri Old Age Home past 17 years. Though Abhi Lhaskit is now no more, but there many like her who are spending dignified and secure life at the Home. The purposes and objectives of the home has now become more accommodative and are to provide the aged, destitute and handicapped people with a homey, peaceful, secured, healthy and spiritual-worshipping environment.
Since the inception of the Home many have left the Home including Abhi Lhaskit, but they have spent their last phase of lives happily and passed away peacefully in their warm bed with their roommates and other members around them.
At present there are 37 elderly residents along with 8 mentally and physically challenged young adults. They all lead a peaceful and secured life at the home. The facility is one of the best the whole of Himalayas for the needy elderly. Open space, glassed verandah/solar corridors, Dinning and Prayer Hall, in company with the school children, in proximity of the hospital and of the provision of other necessary amenities, ensures the residents a happy and peaceful life at the Home. The elderly and children are not allowed to feel separated from each other. They mingle and support each other as in a traditional environment.
In addition to providing the residents a safe physical and emotional environment, the Mahabodhi International Meditation Center also hopes to create greater social awareness by educating the younger generation, family members and others, who are concerned with the welfare of the elderly, on the problems faced by the aged. Physiotherapy Centre is also being established at the Home with the help of Help Age India.