Tong-Len Charitable Trust - Compassion in Action: charity based in dharamsala supporting displaced communities in Himachal Pradesh, India. Compassion in Action
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Annual Sports Day -
28 August 2015

Rinku starts his degree course in Mechanical Engineinku -
August 2015

Ravi and Sunny start their degree course in Travel and Tourism Management in Kerala -
July 2015

Nisha Kumari starts university degree course in journalism and media -
June 2015

Third hostel building completed thanks to the generosity of the Fontana Foundation Switzerland -
May 2015

Cooking classes for the older children -
April 2015

Jamyang visits primary school in Leeds UK -
14th March 2015

New team for 'makingconnection.org' -
March 2015

Farsely Farfield visit -
February 2015

Greenhouse Project -
January 2015

Republic Day celebrated in the tent school -
January 2015

Christmas celebrated in the hostel -
25th December 2014

Rangoli competition in the tent school -
November 2014

Tong-Len's 10th Anniversary Celebrated on Thanks Day 2014 -
19th November 2014

Edinburgh School Student visits Tong-Len -
November 2014



 


Annual Sports Day - 28th August 2015

sports daty 2015


The hostel children had a great time on their annual sports dayl. A wide range of sports was held with activities for all ages. These included 500 meter races, tug-of-war, hurdles, a banana race and a balloon race. For more information see the hostel children's own blog at their makingconnection.org site here.

 

 


Rinku starts his degree course in Mechanical Engineering - August 2015

Rinku starts degree course in mechanical engineering


Congratulations to Rinku on being accepted to study for a degree in Mechanical Engineering at Punjab's 'Lovely Professional University'. Rinku has been one of Tong-Len's outstanding students consistently gaining high marks in his examinations including the state board examinations. We wish Rinku all success in his studies. For more information about the university, please see http://www.lpu.in .

 


Ravi and Sunny start their degree course in Travel and Tourism Management in Kerala - July 2015

Ravi and Sunny start degree courese  in travel and tourism management


Congratulations to Ravi and Sunny on being accepted to study for a Bachelor in Business Administration degree in Kerala (south India) at Sharaf College. Their specialism is in Travel and Tourism Management. During their study Ravi and Sunny gaining work experience at Kerala's Kanan Beach Resort thanks to the generosity of the hotel owner, Mr Martin Beslay.

For more details see http://www.sharafcollege.com/index.html (Sharaf College, Kerala)

and

www.kananbeachresort.com (Kanan Beach Resort)

 

 

 


Nisha Kumari starts university degree course in journalism and media -June 2015

Nisha Kumari starts university


Many congratulations to Nisha Kumari in gaining a place at a prestigious Indian university to read for her bachelor's degree (BMS) in journalism, media studies, politics and economics. Nisha has done fantastically well.  She had an overall mark of 76% in her final 12th year Himachal State Board Examination. Also she did so well in her SET test (used by universities throughout India in selecting students) that she was one of only a few hundred out of many thousands invited for interview by Symbiosis International University. She so impressed the panel that she was offered a place on the BBA (Bachelor of Business Administration) course.  However, as Nisha wants to become a journalist to raise the concerns of Indian slum communities such as her own in Charan, she has decided instead to accept a place on the BMS course at Christ University. According to India Today, Christ University, Bangalore, is the third best college throughout India for mass communication courses.

Nisha was among the first ten children from the slum camp who were supported by Tong-Len from 2004.  She has been one of the leading lights in the 'Making Connection' team and has carried out most of the videoed interviews.  To see examples of this, click here . Nisha answers questions about her own background and about what Tong-Len means to her. To view this click here.

 


Third hostel building completed thanks to the generosity of the Fontana Foundation Switzerland - May 2015

Fontana hostel completed


Thanks to the generosity of the Fontana Foundation (Switzerland), a third hostel has been built on the site of the other hostel buildings in Sara, near Dharamsala. This will accommodate 48 children. More children will be taken in to the hostels from the slum camps as and when their sponsorship funding can be secured. The plan is to house all the older boys in the new building.

 


Cooking classes for the older children - April 2015

cooking classes


As part of their social development the children are involved in a range of activities in the hostel at the weekend. One of the activities has been cooking classes for the older children. The children have built their own outside brick oven in order to make bread.

 


Jamyang visits primary school in Leeds UK - 14th March 2015

Jamyang visits Farsley Farfield Leeds UK


Jamyang visited Farsley Farfield Primary School in Leeds during his visit to Europe to raise awareness of Tong-Len's work. The children sang for Jamyang at the school assemby as they watched the video made by the teachers who had visited the Tong-Len hostel earlier this year. A group of children then escorted Jamyang around the school. Every class spent a little time talking with him and showing him around their classroom. Farsley Farfield look forward to developing a very special relationship with Tong-Len as has been established with other schools (Fox Covert RC Primary in Edinburgh, Crawshaw School in Leeds, Southwood Primary School in Glenrothes, Scotland and St Monica's School in Oakey, Queensland, Australia). Farsley Farfield Primary have adopted Tong-Len as its International Charity. We thank the school for the money recently raised for Tong-Len and for their commitment to continue their support of the charity. Tong-Len also thanks all the other schools mentioned for their continuing support.

See the school blog about Jamyang's visit as well as the video about the school's visit to Tong-Len here.

 


New team for 'makingconnection.org - March 2015

new making connection team


As reported in September last year, the hostel children have set up their own web site MakingConnection.org where you can read the children's blogs, news and upcoming events. Video interviews with Tong-Len supporters and visitors to the hostel have been made by the children themselves in their own purpose-built studio. The original team running the Making Connection project are coming to the end of their time in school. Consequently a new team has been set up from classes 11 and 12.

 



 


Farsley Farfield visit - February 2015

Farsely Farfield and Crawshaw Academy Leeds visit Tong-Len


Teachers from Farsley Farfield Primary School and Crawshaw Academy, Leeds UK, made a visit to the hostel and the Charan community. We are delighted that Farsely Farfield has chosen Tong-Len to be its International Charity Partner. See a video about the visit on the school's blog here. Crawshaw Academy has been a supporter of Tong-Len for many years.

 



 


Greenhouse project - January 2015

Greenhouse project

 

 


The hostel children have been involved in an exciting project over the past few months. They have built a greenhouse on the hostel complex for the growing of organic vegetables. The children did all the planning and costing of the project. They then had to level the site and build a retaining wall at one end. The actual construction of the greenhouse was also done by the children and it took about a month to complete. This involved a lot of hard work at weekends. They then worked out what vegetables would be suitable to grow. Finding natural fertilizers was a challenge. They collected a huge amount of manure from a forest where sheep and goats were grazing. They are now also using kitchen waste mixed with leaves. They decided to grow a range of vegetables including tomatoes, capsicum, beans, cucumber, chili, radish, mustard, coriander and spinach. Another difficulty was to find natural insecticides to combat the insects and diseases that had been encountered. This was achieved and now most of the vegetables are flourishing. The children have had a good crop of tomatoes and many of the other vegetables are ready to eat. See the children's own description of the project on their web site makingconnection.org.

The funding for this project came from fundraising by an Edinburgh schoolgirl, Ailish Watt, who visited the hostel in November 2014.

 


Republic Day celebrated in the tent school - January 2015

republic day celebrated in the tent school


Republic day was celebrated both in the tent school and in the hostel. The hostel children had a discussion about the Indian Constitution and their fundamental rights as Indian citizens.

 



 


Christmas celebrated in the hostel - December 2014

Christmas celebrated in the hostel


Christmas Day was celebrated in the hostel in an event organized by the hostel children. This year the tent school children also took part in the event and stayed in the hostel for a night. Although most of the children are Hindu, they are taught to respect and honour other religions and beliefs.

 



 


Rangoli competition in the tent school - November 2014

Rangoli competition in the tent school


Rangoli is Indian folk art in which patterns are created on the floor in living rooms or courtyards using materials such as coloured rice, dry flour, colored sand or flower petals. A Rangoli competition was held in the tent school for the girls of Charan. They made decorative and colourful designs on the floor. An award was given for the best design.

 



 


Tong-Len's 10th Anniversary Celebrated on Thanks Day 2014 - 19th November 2014

10th Anniversary celebrations


To mark the 10th anniversary of Tong-Len, a special celebration was held on the 19th November, also the anniversary of the inauguration of the hostel complex by His Holiness The Dalai Lama (19th November 2011).

A large marquee was installed in the central playing area between the two hostels and Tibetan prayer flags were hung across the space (see photo opposite). The anniversary was attended by Tong-Len staff, hostel and tent school children, a large number from the Charan community, local dignitaries including representatives from the Dalai Lama Trust as well as Tong-Len supporters

The three hour event started at 11 am with demonstrations of dancing by both the hostel and the tent school children, singing, the performance of a play depicting the importance of education and an entertaining mime sequence depicting how mobile phones are dominating our lives. Then followed a keynote speech by Professor Venerable Samdhong Rinpoche, previously Prime Minister of the Central Tibetan Administration and regarded as one of the leading scholars of Budhism. Jamyang then talked about how Tong-Len came to be set up and described the achievements of the first ten years. The staff, children and Charan community had decided to mark the occasion of the anniversary with giving three special awards. The first award was given to His Holiness The Dalai Lama for 'his promotion of peace, love and compassion throughout the world'. Professor Rinpoche recieved the award on behalf of His Holiness. The second award was presented to Professor Ajai Shrivastava for 'his support and empowerment of disadvantaged people especially those with disabilities' throughout India. The final award was given to Anna Owen, Director, Tong-Len UK, for 'her dedication to Tong-Len from the beginning'. Annie Benard of Tong-Len France presented a framed picture to Jamyang.

Rinku, one of the school leavers who is now preparing to go to university to study engineering, concluded the formal part of the proceedings with his own moving and heartfelt tribute. He said:

'Ever watched a seed carried by a strong wind being dropped into a heaven like place. It is due to the hard work of the strong wind. For me this strong wind is Tong-Len. Before I came to Tong-Len I was nothing. I was a simple guy who used to look for garbage in dirty bins and spread my hand for begging. I did not have hope; my future was the life of a dog. Finally I reached Tong-Len and now have every facility necessary for my life. Now the light for my future has appeared.

The children have written about the 10th Anniversary celebration on their Making Connection blog. Read the blog and see the photos here.

 



 


Edinburgh School Student visits Tong-Len - November 2014

Ailis with hostel children Nov 2014


Ailis Watt, a 17-year old student at St Augustine’s School, Edinburgh, visited Tong-Len in November for the 10th Anniversary of the charity.  Prior to her departure for India, Ailis raised more than £3,600 to help the Tong-Len children.  Some of this money will be used to build a greenhouse at the hostel so the children can grow their own fruit and vegetables.  The money was raised through baking sales, contacting family and friends and speaking at various school assemblies about Tong-Len’s work.  Well done Ailis!  Thank you for all your hard work and thanks to all who contributed to Ailis’ campaign, and a special thanks to St Augustine’s school for their generous contribution.  See Ailis’ JustGiving page here.

 


New Health Clinic Opens - November 2014

New health clinic opens



A purpose-built corrugated steel small enclosure has been installed in Charan for the sole use as a health clinic for medical examinations, treatments and the dispensing of medication. In the past, health work has had to be carried out in the tented accommodation used for the tent schools. The health team are now able to carry out daily clinics in the new premises.

 


Brother and Sister Day - 25th October 2014

Brother Sister Day 25th Oct 2014


On the 25th October, on a day of glorious sunshine and blue sky, the hostel children celebrated Bhaiya Dooj. This is the day when sisters show respect to their brothers and pray that they might have a long and happy life. The Tong-Len girls celebrated the event by praying and offering 'tika' to the hostel boys. See the hostel children's blog on their own Making Connection web site here.

For more information on Making Connection see here.

 


Hostel children celebrate Divali - 23rd October 2014

Hostel children celebrate Divali on 23rd October 2014


The Tong-Len children celebrated the joyful festival of Divali (the Hindu Festival of Lights celebrated each autumn) by performing puja (praying) and with dancing and fireworks. See also the children's own blog here.

 


Tashi Lhamo, Tong-Len's Operations Manager, gives birth to baby girl - 30th September 2014

Tashi Lhamo gives birth to baby girl




Congratulations to Tashi Lhamo, Tong-Len's Operations Manager, and her husband, Barshap Tenzin, on the birth of their beautiful little daughter, Tenzin Noryang. Noryang is lucky to have a big brother, Choezin.

Tashi is currently on maternity leave and plans to spend some time in south India with her mother and other family before returning to work.

 

 

 


Making Connection - September 2014

Making Connection set up by hostel children


The hostel children have set up their own web site called 'Making Connection'. Please visit the site to subscribe and read the children's blogs, news and upcoming events. The children now have their own studio and equipment which they can use for interviews. The filmwork, the production and editing of all the videos is undertaken by the children themselves. Navita, hostel house manager, is the staff supervisor for the children and the team comprises Nisha Kumari (Projects and Media Director), Karan Kumar (Project Development), Sunny Shinde (a/v technician and photographer), Pinki Haryan (Projects and Media Assistant) and Vijay Silwan (Programme Team Trainee).

 


Tent schooi children and hostel children celebrate Independence Day - 15th August 2014

Tent school children and hostel children celebrate Indpendence Day


India's Independence Day was celebrated by both the hostel children and the tent school children.  The hostel children were invited to join Tibetan children at one of the TCV (Tibetan Children's Village) schools. There were dance performances, singing and talks about the importance of the day.

In Charan, the tent school children entertained their communities with their patriotic displays of music, dancing and song. The tent school teachers explained to the children the reasons why the day is celebrated throughout India.

s


Small Children Care Centre Opens - June 2014

Nisha and Rinku visit French schools


A purpose-built corrugated steel structure has been installed in Charan for the use as a under-5's care centre. Many of the school age children in Charan have the responsibility of looking after their younger brothers and sisters. Having this separate facility for the little ones enables the older children to study more effectively in the tent schools. The 'care centre' is also being used as a base for health awareness sessions by the health team. It is also a larger dry space that can be used throughout the year, even during the monsoon, for various activities.

 


Nisha and Rinku visit French schools - June 2014

Nisha and Rinku visit French schools


Thanks to the generosity of French sponsors, Jamyang and the two new school leavers, Nisha and Rinku, visited France to promote the work of Tong-Len. During their stay they visited three local schools with Annie Benard, Director, Tong-Len France. They talked about what life was like for the Tong-Len children both in the hostel and at school and how it differed from the experience of French school children. Nearly 100 boys and girls between the ages of 6 and 12 attended the presentations. The children were most curious and receptive and asked many questions. Photos were shown and Nisha and Rinku spoke very well. 

 


Guitar Recital for Tong-Len - 14th June 2014

guitar concert in aid of Tong-Len June 2014 near Nice


A classical guitar recital by Luc Botta was held on the 14th June in Sophia Antipolis Biot, France, with all the proceeds from ticket sales going to Tong-Len. This was attended by of Jamyang, Nisha and Rinku. Nisha and Rinku took care of the entry tickets and also organised the soft drinks bar. The event was very much appreciated by the 60 or so people who attended. A presentation of Tong-Len's work was given by Jamyang and Annie Benard with questions.
 
The musical repertory from Luc was most exquisite and the atmostphere rich with emotion. 

Other recent fund-raising events in France include a concert by the pupils of Conservatoire Couperin in Tournan (see poster here) and a concert by the pupils of the School of Music in Nangis (see poster here).

 


Examination Successes- May 2014

Year 10 examination successes


The Year 10 hostel children (Ranjeeta, Renu, Mukesh, Vishal and Vijay) all passed the State Board Examinations with average marks exceeding 70%. All five wish to contnue their studies in Years +1 and +2 and hope to go on to tertiary educatiom.

Nisha and Rinku also did well in their Year 12 board examinations. Nisha would like to study medicine and is now waiting for her pre-medical examination results. Rinku wants to study engineering and is waiting for his results in the engineering entrance examination.

 


Mothers' Day in Charan - 10th May 2014

Mother's Day in Charan May 2014


The hostel children organised a special event in Charan to celebrate Mother's Day on the 10th May. They wanted to express their gratitude to their mothers for their kindness. They were concerned that the mothers in Charan receive little respect from the community and had little oopportunity to participate in social life. As well as providing entertainment and food, the hostel children talked about the importance of education, health and women-empowerment. They showed a video about the problems of drug addiction and spoke about the adverse effects of smoking and drinking alcohol.

 


John and Ellie arrive at Everest Base Camp - April 2014


John Stewart and his daughter Ellie arrived at Everest Base Camp on their sponsored trek for Tong-Len. See their fundraising page at https://www.justgiving.com/John-Stewart12 .

John has written a colourful report of their experiences in the Royal Bank of Scotland's in-house online magazine see here.

 


Children's Educational Tour to Rajasthan - April 2014

children's educational tour to Rajasthan April 2014


This year the older hostel children (class 9 and above) visited Rajasthan. The children organised the trip themselves, planning every detail including its costing. They were also responsible for raising the funds. Visiting Rajasthan was very important as it is the home state for many of the children's families. They travelled by train, bus, car, camel in the desert and horse in the remote areas. Places visited included Bikaner, Jodhpur, Mount Abu, Ajmer and Jaipur. The children wrote a report on their trip which is available on request to anna@tong-len.org.

 


Special Under-5 Clinic in Charan - March 2014

special under-5s clinic in Charan


In addition to the regular under-5 health clinics led by the Tong-Len health team, Tong-Len organised a special clinic in Charan with support and help from one of the private hospitals in Kangra, Balaji Hospital, who kindly offered the services of their child specialist doctor and team. About 186 people from the community attended this clinic. Out of the 186, 145 were under-5 children and of these 96 children were diagnosed with malnutrition and 37 with chest infections.

 


Dog vaccination and sterilisation in Charan - 3rd March 2014

dog vaccination and sterilisation in Charan


Due to the increased number of dogs in the Charan slum community, Tong-Len organised a dog vaccination and sterilisation programme with the help of the NGO 'Animal Rescue' on the 3rd March 2014. The dogs were causing a severe problem by biting and spreading disease. 50 dogs were vaccinated against rabies and other diseases and 18 dogs were sterilised.

 


New Year Celebration - 31st December 2013 - 1st January 2014

Hostel children celebrate New Year 2014


A great New Year's party was organized again this year for nearly 100 children of Tong-Len hostel and staff  on the occasion of the visit to Dharamsala of the members of Tong-Len Europe and one of their French sponsors.

The event took place inside the large hotel Karnika and animated by a DJ. It gave rise to a traditional dance, games and dance competitions under the spot lights for all children, crowned by a Grand Buffet prepared with the most delicious food and a huge cake.

Tong-Len Europe renew their invitation to all sponsors to join all the children celebrating the next New Year ... same place, same time ...

 


Gift of Outdoor Play Equipment for the hostel children - November 2013

outdoor play equipment in the hostel


Mold Rotary Club in Wales generously provided outdoor play equipment for the hostel children. Funds were raised by a sponsored trek in the Himalayas by one of the rotarians, Anthony Brooke Rankin, an annual quiz, a pancake party, donations from a local bank, Mynydd Isa Junior School, Wats Dyke Primary School, a district grant from Rotary International and donations from the public.

 


Thanks Day - 19th November 2013

Thanks Day 2013


Tong-Len celebrated its 8th Thanks Day on the 19th November at the hostel complex in Sarah, near Dharamsala. As last yeat this was held on the anniversary of the inauguration of the hostels by His Holiness The Dalai Lama on the 19th November 2011. About 500 people attended including those from the local community and some supporters from overseas. All the hostel children together with children from the tent school gave a programme of dance, song and drama. The proceedings were lead by Rinku and Nisha who also gave a word of thanks to all the supporters. A special lunch was served to all.

 


Children's Day - 14th November 2013

Children's Day in the Tent School 2013


On 14th November, children’s day was celebrated in the tent school with songs, dances and games. The children also received a rare treat of sweets. Everyone enjoyed the fun.

 

 


Tong-Len Picnic Party - 22nd October 2013

Tong-Len Picnic Party oct 2013


The Tong-Len family enjoyed a fun time in a heaven like place near the mountains.  88 children, aged 5 to 18 from the hostel, with staff and supporters including Anna Mum, Gareth Sir from Scotland. The weather was awesome with everything from sunshine to hailstones. There was dancing, games and a delicious meal cooked by the boys.  The only problem was the goats came to steal the chapatis.

 

 

 


Asha proudly displays her medals - October 2013

Asha with her prizes oct 2013


Asha proudly displays her collection of medals and awards. Asha, who has profound hearing loss, attends a special unit for the hearing-impaired. She has represented her school in a number of sporting and dance championships.

 


Children celebrate Gandhi Jayanti - 2nd October 2013

Children celebrate Gandhi Day 2013


Gandhi Jayanti is observed every year as a national holiday in India to commemorate the birth of Gandhi (October 2, 1869 - January 30, 1948). His non-violence continues to influence political leaders and movements to this day.

Rinku explained to all the children about Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy and contribution to the promotion of world peace and non-violence.


 


New land purchased for third hostel - September 2013

New land purchased for third hostel


The hostel and school sponsorship programme have been very successful and both hostels are now full.  In order to give more children from the slum camps an opportunity to attend school, Tong-Len has purchased land on which to build a third hostel.  This new land is adjacent to the present hostels.  Its purchase and the construction of the first wing to accommodate up to 48 children have been made possible by the generosity of the Fontana Foundation in Switzerland.  For more information about the foundation and its support for Tong-Len click here.

 


Botany Project - September 2013

Botany project



Hostel children in class 9 undertook a botany project during September.  They researched indigenous plants and studied how they grew, and what was needed for their successful propagation.  They also observed what factors damaged their development and considered what could be done to mitigate these factors.  There was a particular focus on marigolds.

 


Teacher’s Day - 5th September 2013

Teacher's Day 2013


This is a special day in India when children acknowledge all the support they have received from their teachers during the previous year.  Tong-Len celebrated ‘teacher’s day’ by organising a celebration with dancing and expressions of thanks to all the Tong-Len staff.  They made a  delicious meal and everyone had a wonderful time.

 


Tent school children welcome the end of the monsoon season - September 2013

Tent school children celebrate end of monsoon


The tent school is unable to function during the monsoon period.  This year the monsoon has been particularly long and severe (end of May to September) and the tent school children wanted to celebrate its end by having a fun time with games and a drawing completion.

 

 


Children celebrate Janamasthami - 28th August 2013

Krishna Day 2013


Janamasthami is an annual commemoration of the birth of the Hindu deity Lord Krishna.  The hostel children celebrated this day by holding sport activities, henna competitions and also by dancing.  They also did the celebration of the puja.  To see what the children did and what ‘Janamasthami’ day meant for them see the video on YouTube here  http://youtu.be/RqokSxE1L4k

 


Children celebrate Independence Day as guests of the Tibetan Children’s Village - 15th August 2013

Independence Day celebrated with hostel children at TCV


The staff and children of TCV (Tibetan Children’s Village) invited all the hostel children and staff to attend the celebrations for Indian Independence Day as their guests.  This was a great honour for Tong-Len.    The celebration included performances depicting Tibetan culture and all enjoyed a special lunch.  TCV wanted to say thank you to India and also express their desire to help Tong-Len in any way possible in its future development.

 


Family Planning Programmes - July 2013

Family planning programme in Charan Khad


Since 2008 we have been working continuously with the slum communities with family planning.  The family planning programme has been quite successful and more people are now approaching us and coming to the various family planning awareness sessions and receiving appropriate contraception.

 


Deepak, our first school leaver, starts college - July 2013

Deepak starting college for his diploma in computing at the Himachal Instiution of Engineering and Technology


Deepak was one of the first children in the sponsorship programme. In the almost 9 years he has been sponsored to attend school he has worked hard and has been one of the most responsible leaders in the hostel. It was Deepak who welcomed His Holiness the Dalai Lama to the hostel at the time of the inauguration and gave a most moving speech about how Tong-Len changed his life. Deepak has now taken one step further towards achieving his dream of becoming a computer engineer. He has been accepted at the Himachal Institute of Engineering and Technology where he will study for the diploma in computing. On completion of this, he will be able to transfer directly into the second year of the engineering degree.

 


Mother's Day Celebrated - 11th May 2013

mother's day celebrated


This year approximately 150 mothers from the Charan slum community attended the Mothers’ Day celebration at Tong-Len Hostel organized by the Hostel children to acknowledge the importance of the mother in the family and to give thanks to their mother for their love and support.

Tong-Len feels that it is important to show the mothers how appreciated and respected they are by their children. It is also hoped that other family members learn from this and realize the value of their mothers  too. It is an important goal for Tong-Len to enable the mother s to feel empowered, confident and valued, at least for a day, especially as respect for mothers is generally lacking in the slum families.

The hostel children raised the funds and organised the day. Children learnt how to market and raise funds for their special day by selling mother s day cards in the market and with the funds raised all the children were able to buy a special suit for their mothers.

The day was great fun for the mothers and the children with dance and a special lunch. Mother s were also given the opportunity to see how capable and amazing their children are, giving them another reason to be proud.

 


Career consultation session for the older hostel children - April 2013

career consultation for the older children


A career consulting session for the senior students was arranged in the hostel with the kind help from the career counselor at the Department of Education, Central Tibetan Administration. The children in grade 8 and above  were able to share and express their career goals.

 


Mobile Health Clinic Funding - April 2013

mobile health clinic funding


As the health services have so much potential to support the community people, Tong-Len has been concerned to find secure funding for the mobile health clinic programme.  We are very grateful to The Dalai Lama Trust for agreeing to fund this for the coming year and for supplying a new vehicle.

 

 


Award day in the tuition tent - 15th April 2013

award day in the tuition tent


The children from both  morning and afternoon sessions in the tent schoolsl who got 1st, 2nd and 3rd positions in their exams were given prizes. Special prizes were also awarded the best students  in the class for cleanliness and for attendance. The children’s parents were invited to receive the prizes with their children.  The intention was to allow the parents to see the value and the hard work of their children in the tuition tent school and to share in their success. Other families were encouraged to attend and witness the success of those attending the tuition tents.  About 300 people attended.  The children of school age are also encouraged to attend the nearby government schools.  Those who do are supported in their studies by the tent school staff.   Books, schoolbags and other items were distributed to these children. Nandini, our teacher, encouraged the enrollment  of 10 new children into government schooll this year. We hope that these children will experience success in their formal education journey.

 

 


Anaemia testing in Charan and Nagrota slum communities - April 2013

anaemia testing in Charan and Nagrota


Anaemia is a severe health concern in the slum communities.  This prompted Tong-Len to offer widespread anaemia testing  
170 adults took advantage of the test  and of these 105 p (61.76%)  were found to be anaemic. 143 children were tested  and 117 (81.82%) were found to be anaemic.

Tong-Len’s health staff are working on a program to distribute medicines and  continue to work on raising awareness of the problem within the camps.

 

 


Educational Tour - March 2013

educational tour 2013


The senior hostel children with Jamyang and hostel staff went to Manali and Manikaran as a part of their annual educational tour. The area is well known for its hot springs and its beautiful landscape. Manikaran is an important pilgrimage centre. It has many Hindu temples and a gurudwara which is sacred to the Sikhs. Activities were based on spiritual awareness and learning as well as developing awareness of the social and cultural differences among people and places throughout the journey. Upon arrival children visited the many religious sites. The children were asked to observe the geography and landscapes on the journey to and from this part of Northern India.

The children had a fantastic time and were amazed by the sights they saw.

 


Water Purifying Gift - February 2013

water purifying gift


Purified drinking water is essential for health and hygiene. Tong-Len is grateful to the United Nations Women’s Guild in Geneva for sponsoring a water purifying system for the hostel.

 

 


Celebrations - 9th February 2013

celebrations


The hostel children together with their parents organized a small function at Charan to celebrate the 8th Anniversary of Tong-Len Hostel and Jamyang’s birthday.

Although Jamyang’ s actual birth date is unknown, the children have dedicated this day to Jamyang. The children label this day a day of new birth.

The children spoke well to the audience and it was a great opportunity to see the children’s capacity to organize events.

The first Tong-Len hostel opened on 9th Feb 2005. The children and their families expressed their appreciation to Tong-Len for the opportunities that the hostel and school sponsorship programme have provided.

 

 


Special excursion for the tuition tent children - 12th January 2013

special excursion for the tuition tent children


Tashi and the teachers took 46 of the children attending the afternoon sessions of the tuition tents to the Kangra Fort and Gopalpur Zoo as a reward for their regular attendance and hard work. It was also an opportunity to demonstrate the enjoyment and value of learning to both the children and their parents.

 

 


New Year Celebration - 1st January 2013

hostel children celebrate the New Year


All the children celebrated the New Year with a special dinner and dance party. This was held at the Hotel Karnika and the event was sponsored by Annie and Fred, who have been longstanding supporters of Tong-Len. Annie Benard runs Tong-Len France.

 

 


Solar Cookers for the Charan Community - November 2012

solar cookers for the Charan community


Students from Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany, have supplied and installed solar cookers to 9 families in the Charan camp to see how successful this method of cooking would be as an alternative to using wood and kerosene, which is not always available and expensive. If this pilot project seems successful more solar cookers will be distributed in the Charan community.

Engineers Without Borders is an international association of groups who share a similar mission, which is to partner with disadvantaged communities to improve their quality of life through education and implementation of sustainable engineering projects.

For more information about this project see http://www.ewb-karlsruhe.de/erfolgreiche-einfuehrung-der-ersten-solarkocher-im-slum .

 

 


Thanks Day at the Hostel - 19th November 2012

Thanks Day 2012


The seventh annual Thanks Day was held on Monday 19th November, on the same date as the inauguration of the new hostels by His Holiness the Dalai Lama last year.  It was a wonderful day – the day the children expressed their thanks to their supporters and helpers and a day to share with their families. The children looked beautiful, dressed in their colourful finery.  The ground between the hostels was transformed.  Everyone had been busy the day before erecting a temporary stage and putting out rows of plastic chairs.  Colourful prayer flags, a tradition in the foothills of the Himalayas, were visible from the road and all had an opportunity to contribute.  Throughout the day these colourful streams of flags blew our prayers of peace, compassion, health, friendship and wisdom in the gentle breeze.

The children waited for their families to arrive and greeted them by painting a traditional red dot on their foreheads and showering them with flower petals.   The children put on a lovely show – dancing, sketches, singing.
 
Nisha and Rinku opened the show. Their simple words of thanks were so moving: “Thank you for giving us hope, thank you for giving us ambition, thank you for giving us life.  Thank you  Tong-Len”.

Jamyang, founder of Tong-Len, also expressed his thanks and provided an update on the projects and the wonderful progress that has been made during the year.  Brigid Whoriskey, a trustee of Tong-Len UK, said a few words on behalf of the Tong-Len family worldwide and all the supporters of Tong-Len.

Many of the families from the slum camp came, spruced up for the occasion.  The wonderful cooks, with a little help from a couple of the children, provided lunch for over 500 people. People sat in rows on the ground and were served rice and dhal on a large curry leaf, group after group, until everyone was fed – it took 2 hours.  The children, uncomplaining, waited until the end.
 All in all the day was great fun and it was heart-warming to see the children with their families.  How incredible it is that parents with no education – not even any experience of education – can see the benefit of giving their children this wonderful opportunity. 

 

 


New water supply for hostel - October 2012

new water supplied for the hostel


Since moving into the hostel last year Tong-Len has been challenged to find sufficient water to meet the needs of a community which is now more than 100 persons. An additionl 25,000 litres of water per day is required to meet current demands. An adequate source of water has now been found about 6 km away from the hostel, and The Dalai Lama Trust has generously agreed to fund the supply and installation of the water pipework over this long distance.

 

 


Children say thank you to Tong-Len staff - 5th September 2012

children say thank-you to Tong-Len staff


On 5th September all the hostel children gathered together to say a special thank you to all the hostel staff, including the house mothers, the teachers who give additional academic support to the children, the cooks and the cleaners. All the children performed songs and dances and the children competed against the staff in a number of games. Lunch was served to the staff having been prepared by the children. The whole enjoyable event was organised entirely by the older children.

 


Independence Day celebrated with sports event at the new hostels - 15th August 2012

Independence Day celebrated with sports event at the new hostels 2012

 

Independence Day (15th August) is one of the most important public occasions in the Indian calendar. The hostel children celebrated the day by organising a sport's competition. A number of events took place and the children thoroughly enjoyed their day. Some of the children also performed a dance in McLeod Ganj at the invitation of the Indo-Tibetan Friendship Association.

 


Children organise special prayers called "Hawan" - 12th August 2012

Children organise special prayers called  "Hawan"

 

As Tong-Len supporters will be aware, the majority of the Tong-Len children belong to the Hindu faith. On the 12th August they organised special prayers called "Hawan". They prayed that they would achieve their goals through hard work, for peace in the world and for a successful life ahead for all Tong-Len's supporters.

 


Children have mango eating competition - July 2012

Children have mango eating competition

 

Supporters of Tong-Len who have had the opportunity to visit the new hostels in Sarah, near Dharamsala, will have no doubt noted the enormous mango tree in the grounds. This tree is more than 100 years old and is well known in the area. This year more than one tonne of mangoes were picked from the tree. The tree is enormously appreciated by the children who believe it to be God's gift to them. They celebrated with a special mango eating competition during July.

 


Nisha's and Rinku's academic achievements acknowledged by Himachal Board of Education - June 2012

Nisha and Rinku with their new laptops

 

Tong-Len continues to be proud of all the hostel children who work so hard in their studies. Three off the older children (Nisha, Rinku and Deepak) have successfully passed their class 10 examination and are now in class 11, the penultimate class in the Indian education system. Nisha and Rinku have performed so well that they have become eligilbe for a scholarship from the state government of Himachal Pradesh. They were also given a notebook computer from the state's board of education in recognition of their high performance in the board examinations. Only 600 out of about one hundred and fifty thousand children in the state taking the class 10 board exams received notebooks. Nisha, in fact, was in 50th place overall out of the 150,000 - a tremendous achievement. Congratulations to Nisha, Rinky and Deepak and indeed to all the children in the hostel!

 


Scooters purchased for the hostel children - June 2012

Scooters purchased for the hostel children

 

Two scooters have been purchased for the hostel children in order for them to travel conveniently to school for extra curricula events held in the evenings when no public transport is available between the hostels and Dharamsala, some 12 km away.

 


Michael's ashes laid in memorial stupa - 2nd May 2012

stupa ceremony on 2nd May

 

Michael Blakey's mother and stepfather, Mary and Clive Whitford, visited India at the end of April/early May. On the 2nd of May there was a ceremony at the hostel in which Mary placed Michael's ashes and personal mementos in his memorial stupa. All the hostel children and other members of the Tong-Len family were present at this moving occasion.

Mary has sent this message:

'We would like to thank everybody for making Michaels dream a reality. How happy he would be to see so many children, healthy and happy and doing so well in their studies. It was an honour to be at the ceremony with the Tong Len family, and to see the love the children still have for Michael.'

 


Scholarships - May 2012

Nisha, Ranjeeta and Renu are awarded scholarships in May 2012


Three of the older children, Nisha, Ranjeeta and Renu, have been given small scholarships for two years from a government scheme as a reward for their academic achievements. Although the monetary value is small the honour of receiving these awards is huge. Unfortunately the Tong-Len children, despite their excellent results, are excluded from State Scholarships for tertiary education because they are not recognised as being bona fide Himachal Pradesh residents. Many of the children have the desire and potential to proceed to universities and colleges and Tong-Len is concerned that they should have the opportunities they deserve.

 


Mothers' Day Celebration - 13th May 2012

mother's day celebration in May 2012


The hostel children are expected to accept responsibilities within their community to help educate and work towards empowerment of their families and friends. As part of this process the children organised a Mothers' Day function to acknowledge the importance of the mother in the family and to give thanks to their mothers for their love and support. The children performed in a stage show and organised a fancy dress competition. 60 of the 68 mothers participated in the event. Prizes were awarded by the children to the winners. The mothers also had a chance to dance on the stage. The day gave the mums a chance to shine and to show off their good looks. Many of the mothers commented that this experience made them feel valued.

 


More children join the hostels and start school - April 2012

more children join the hostels and start school in April 2012


A further 10 children have been admitted to the hostels making 28 new entrants since the inauguration in November and bringing the total in the hostels to 68. The photo shows some of the new children leaving the hostel on their way to school on their very first day. We also want to accept more children into the school sponsorship programme as soon as possible but for this we need more sponsors.

 


Craft Workshops in Charan Tent Schools - 27th April 2012

craft workshops in charan tent schools


Tong-Len organised craft workshops in the tent schools. The children re-cycled milk boxes and juice cartons into useful purses and wallets. The children were also taught to make pieces of art from re-cycled materials.

 


Children from Charan start Government School - April 2012

children from Charan start government school


To coincide with the beginning of the academic year, Tong-Len prepared 20 children, who were regularly attending the tent school, for government school. These children have now been enrolled in Barol school, near Charan. For all of them it is their first experience of full-time education. Tong-Len provides uniforms and books and the tent school staff give support with homework. We wish these children the best of luck at their new school and we wish for them a long and successful journey in formal education. We would also like to thank the children for their hard work and their families for allowing them the opportnity to learn and go to school.

 


Promotion Exams Class 6 to Class 8 - April 2012

promotion success class 6 to class 8


9 children in class 6 passed the school's promotion exam enabling them to proceed directly to class 8. Congratulations to Birju, Pinki, Mamta, Sarika, Naresh, Kishan, Suraj, Poonam and Nisha Devi. They are now hard at work to catch up on the year they have missed.

 


Promotion Exams Class 3 to Class 5 - April 2012

promotion exams class 3 to class 5


12 children in class 3 successfully sat promotion exams allowing them to jump a year into class 5. Congratulations to Abish, Dayal, Arti, Rohit Kumar, Pardeep, Saroj, Joginda, Mamta Kumari, Neha, Yuvraj, Manjeeta and Nitu.

 


Running for the kids - London Marathon - 22nd April 2012

Amanda runs the London Marathon on 22 April


Congratulations and thanks to Amanda who completed the London Marathon in 3 hours 38 minutes to raise money for the Tong-Len children. Thank you to everyone who has supported her to achieve her target of £1500. For more information and photos see here .

 


Crawshaw students visit Tong-Len - April 2012

Crawshaw School Students visit Tong-Len


Staff and pupils of Crawshaw School, a secondary school in Leeds, England, are longstanding supporters of Tong-Len. Recent fundraising efforts have secured almost £2,000 from students, staff and their family and friends for Tong-Len's work. So many have been involved in these efforts at the school but particular mention should be made of the contributions by Ruby Tait, Mark Hopper, Sophie O'Connell and Lyndarn Harrison (left to right in the photo) who have been organising a range of fundraising events at the school. Ruby, Mark, Sophie and Lyndarn visited the hostel children and the Charan communities in early April.

For more about their experiences and impressions see http://www.crawshawschool.org.uk/News/International-Links-Taken-to-the-Next-Level/ .

 


Hostel Children's Interfaith and Culture Tour - March 2012

Interfaith and culture tour to Punjab


Every year, after the children finish their final exams, Tong-Len organises an educational tour for the older children. This year was dedicated to exploring science, religion and culture. The children were taken to the Punjab where they saw the Golden Temple of the Sikhs and important Hindu and Muslim temples. They also visited the Pushpa Gujral Science City at Jalandhar.

 


New tents for education in Charan - March 2012

new tent for Charan


New tents and equipment have been provided with help from the Institute of Village Studies from the United States and the family and friends of Christina Woo, a previous volunteer. It is wonderful for the hard working students of Charan to be protected from the harsh weather conditions in the slum.

 


Update on the new children in the small children's hostel - March 2012

new children settle in new hostel


The new children who were admitted on inauguration day have been settling in well. The older children will begin their schooling journey in April, the beginning of the Indian Academic school year, following their 5 months of preparation in the larger hostel. The younger children in the small hostel are learning social and interactive skills and all the other skills they will need when they also start school. We look forward to watching them grow and achieve.

 


Solar lighting and hot water for the hostels and Charan - February 2012

solar lights for new hostel


Solar street lights have kindly been donated by His Holiness the Karmapa's Office. 8 will be installed in the hostel complex and 10 have been installed in Charan. In addition a solar hot water system has been provided for the hostels through donations from His Holiness the Karmapa's Office and the Energee Association. As a result the children can now enjoy almost 24 hours of HOT water each day. Tong-Len is delighted that this natural source of energy is able to benefit so many people in a variety of ways.  

 


Big TV screen works as Interactive Board for the hostel children - January 2012

interactive board in new hostel


A generous supporter and sponsor from the UK has funded the installation of an Interactive Board which can also be used as a large TV screen. This is particularly useful as the hostel children are required to research and complete projects and presentations as they move through their grades at school. This board allows the children to use a big screen to learn and explore new concepts using the learning tools from the multi-media source. The topics of maths and science are currently being explored with this fun tool.  It can also be used as a large TV screen for entertainment and for displaying documentary videos and Tong-Len presentations.

 

 


Hostel Library - January 2012

Surya Yoga Logo


A longstanding supporter of Tong-Len, Liesel Briggs, has donated and set up a library for the hostel children. Children are now readily able to benefit from the joys of reading and are able to borrow books from the library. Liesel has also been helping the children in how to make effective use of their new and enriching library.

 


Large shipping of clothes donated - January 2012

shipping of clothes donated to Charan and hostels


A large clothing donation was received by our French supporters and clothes were distributed to hostel children and children in Charan.

 


October/November Yoga Retreat and Cultural Trip - January 2012

Surya Yoga Logo


A Tong-Len sponsor is organising a yoga retreat and cultural tour (Delhi, Agra and Dharamsala) from the 30th October to the 12th November. $100 USD per person is being donated to the work of Tong-Len. Please click here for more information.

 


Hewlett-Packard Donates Computers to the Hostel - December 2011

Hewlett-Packard donates computers to the hostel


The multinational electronics company, Hewlett- Packard, has generously donated ten desktop and two laptop computers for use by the hostel children, thanks to the efforts of Cristina, a previous employee of the company and a long-time supporter of Tong-Len, bringing the total available to 14. The computers arrived shortly after the inauguration and have now been successfully installed in the dedicated computer room in the new hostel for the older children. The children are excited about the opportunities that the computers provide them with as a resource for learning and leisure as well as for communicating with their sponsors. The children who study IT as a special subject are particularly fortunate.

 

 


Inauguration of the Tong-Len Centre by His Holiness The Dalai Lama - 19th November 2011

Inauguration of the new hostels by His Holiness the Dalai Lama


On the 19th November His Holiness the Dalai Lama honoured Tong-Len by inaugurating the hostel buildings. His Holiness expressed deep concern over the increasing gap between rich and poor in Indian society. He said that every human being, whether rich or poor, has the desire and the right to lead a dignified and happy life. 'All human beings are the same in the context of their birth and death. The difference between them on the basis of nationality, religion and cast is a secondary issue'. He said that both rich and poor should understand their responsibilities to lessen the disimilarity within society. Rich people should offer better facilities of education and health for the poor, and people living in the slums should appreciate that the wealth of the rich has not come from the sky but has been earned by hard work and that this should be a motivating factor for them. In his speech, the chief Indian guest, Mr Shanta Kumar, Member of the Indian Parliament and former Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh, acknowledged the important work being carried out by Tong-Len and offered a donation of 10 Lakh rupees from his member of parliament fund. Jamyang, founder and Director of Tong-Len Charitable Trust gave an overview of Tong-Len's work and talked about his vision for the future. Anna Owen, the Director of Tong-Len UK, the partner charity responsible for funding the construction of the larger hostel for 64 school-age children and for co-ordinating the child sponsorship programme, gave the vote of thanks. As well as thanking His Holiness and Mr Shanta Kumar for their presence and kind words, Anna thanked the Dalai Lama Trust for funding the hostel for the younger chidren. She expressed her enormous appreciation to the many supporters from around the world who have so generously contributed to Tong-Len's work.

 

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Memorial to Michael Blakey - 18th November 2011

Memorial to Michael Blakey

On the 18th November, a memorial to Michael Blakey was held in the new hostel. This was attended by Paul Blakey, Michael's father, and his friend Tony Bate, the Tong-Len family, including all the hostel children, Tong-Len UK trustees, Mary Hayman, a member of Michael's church in Swansea and the creator of the memorial window, previous volunteers, and representatives from the Charan communities. Paul, Jamyang, Anna, Mary, Pinki, Rinku. Nisha, and Kasmiri Lal, Pinki's father and the leader of the Charan settlements, all gave moving tributes to Michael's life and work. Anna read a message from Michael's mother and other family who were unable to be present at this time. Mary brought messages from the church and Michael's friends in Swansea. This was a most moving occasion with many of those who loved Michael in tears as they recalled their memories of this wonderful young man and his enormous contribution to Tong-Len.

Paul brought some of Michael's ashes which will be laid to rest in the especially constructed memorial stupa by Mary, Michael's mother when she visits with other family members early next year.

The dedication ceremony concluded with Paul unveling the large memorial plaque in the main entrance to the hostel opposite the memorial window. The words on the plaque chosen by Michael's family and Jamyang were read out by Paul.

In memory of Michael Blakey
27.2.83 - 26.11.06
May all our children grow in wisdom through knowledge
May their love for learning and compassion for others deepen with their years
May they strive to share their learning and serve to build a harmonious community