Tong-Len Charitable Trust - Compassion in Action: charity based in dharamsala supporting displaced communities in Himachal Pradesh, India. Compassion in Action
 
Charan community comes together to work on Tong-Len garden- 23rd December 2005

Christmas Campaign - December 2005

Spanish Clown entertains children in Charan - 25th November 2005

Tong-Len UK hosts Tibetan Evening - 19th November 2005

Volunteers and supporters help to save the life of a young beggar woman - 16th November 2005

A blanket for every family in Charan - 15th November 2005

Children's Day celebrations in Charan - 13th November 2005

Divali celebrations at our children's hostel - 1st November 2005

Healing Mandala Clinic - raising money for Tong-Len - 4th October 2005

Tong-Len makes headline news in Contact magazine - 1st October 2005

Tong-Len opens office in McLeod Ganj - 26th September 2005

New Operations Manager - 7th September 2005

His Holiness the Dalai Lama's 70th Birthday - Free Medical Care in Charan - 8th July 2005

Make Poverty History - 2nd July 2005

Tong-Len Mandala Hostel Inauguration - 25th June 2005

Photo Exhibition in Charan - 19th June 2005

Fundraising Developments - June 2005

World Environment Day Celebrations - 5th June 2005

Tong-Len Mandala Hostel now full - 4th June 2005

Tong-Len Tuition Tent Student Proficiency Tests - May 2005

Mini Olympics - 23rd May 2005

Fancy Dress Day at Dayanand - 21st May 2005

3 New Faces at the Hostel - 19th April 2005

School Success - 14th April 2005

Tong-Len UK becomes a Registered Charity - 11th April 2005

A New Tent and a New Teacher - 7th April 2005

Tong-Len Welcomes 6 New Children - March 2005

Indian Finance Minister Announces Pro-poor Reforms - 1st March 2005

Opening of Children's Hostel - 9th February 2005

Teacher employed to work in Dharamsala camp - 1st January 2005

Tong-Len becomes a Registered Charity in India - 13th December 2004

 


Charan community comes together to work on the Tong-Len garden - 23rd December 2005

Tong-Len's community garden in Charan was looking rather neglected after some hungry goats had broken down the fencing and feasted on the plants. Today, men, women and children from the camp joined together with Tong-Len volunteers to help fix up the garden and restore it to its former beauty.

 


Christmas Campaign - December 2005

Tong-Len UK's Christmas appeal was focused on establishing a much needed health fund and expanding Tong-Len's child education programme. The charity sold Christmas and Gift Aid cards which raised 5000. Particular thanks are due to the children, parents and staff of Fox Covert RC Primary School who helped enormously in this venture. We are pleased to say the young woman is now physically well and has been discharged from hospital.
 


Spanish clown entertains children in Charan - 25th November 2005

Tong-Len was delighted when Angel, a talented children's entertainer from Spain offered to put on a show for the children of Charan. Around fifty children came down to the tent school to watch the performance and join in the games. None of them had ever experienced anything like it before and the event was a huge success.

 


Tong-Len UK hosts Tibetan Evening - 19th November 2005

On the occasion of His Holiness the Dalai Lama's visit to Edinburgh Tong-Len UK held a special Tibetan dinner at the home of Ruth Watson, one of Tong-Len UK's trustees. Delicious Tibetan momos and thentuk were prepared by Reka Gawa and her friends who were in town for His Holiness's public address. The event raised 300 for the charity.

 


Volunteers and supporters help to save the life of a young beggar woman - 16th November 2005

Tong-Len wishes to say a huge thank-you to everyone who helped save the life of a young beggar woman. The woman, who was nine months pregnant, became critically ill after the unborn child she was carrying died in her womb. A life saving operation was performed, during which five units of blood were transfused. Over the following few days the young woman remained dangerously ill. She had developed an infection and also needed several more units of blood because of continued bleeding. Sadly the hospital blood bank was unable to provide this as its stocks were so low. In India it is usual for family members to donate blood when a relative requires a transfusion, but the young woman's family were badly malnourished and none were considered fit to donate. Tong-Len launched an urgent medical appeal - five people came forward to donate their blood, and many other supporters gave money towards her medical costs. We are pleased to say the young woman is now physically well and has been discharged from hospital.
 


A blanket for every family in Charan - 15th November 2005

Winter can be very cold in Dharamsala, with overnight temperatures dropping below zero and Tong-Len staff and volunteers are frequently asked for warm clothing and blankets. Not wanting to give to some and not others, Tong-Len decided to use the money raised by Healing Mandala Clinic (18655 rupees) matched with a similar sum from its own funds to buy a warm double blanket for every single family in the Charan. Volunteers from the Mandala Healing Clinic joined Tong-Len to distribute the blankets, one to every family tent - 139 in all. Tong-Len now estimates that around 500 people are living within the slum camp.

 


Children's Day celebrations in Charan - 13th November 2005

Former Indian Prime Minister Nehru's birthday is celebrated across India as a special day for children. Tong-Len marked the occasion with a party in its tuition tent in the Charan slum camp. Approximately seventy children from across the camp came to join in the festivities. They were joined by parents and volunteers. The afternoon began with a short talk on the life of Mahatma Gandhi, followed by a programme of entertainment performed by the children from our support hostel. The children sang, danced, and acted out a comedy play about school. The afternoon continued with dancing performances from some of children who had been attending the tent school. Asha, a young girl, who is profoundly deaf, and has been sponsored to attend a special unit at a local government school, astounded the audience with her rhythmic dance moves. Lunch and refreshments were provided for all the children.

 


Divali Celebrations at our Children's Hostel - 1st November 2005

The twenty children in our support hostel celebrated Divali, the Hindu festival of lights today. Volunteers working in our afternoon tent school came to join in the fun. They were greeted by the children bearing flower garlands and each volunteer was given a hand-made card. Everyone joined together to make decorations for the hostel and then headed out for some fun and games in a local park. In the evening all the children and some of their parents gathered together for a special Puja (prayer), and candle lighting ceremony. Afterwards the children, staff, and volunteers formed a candlelit procession to Dayanand School, where all were entertained by a dramatic fireworks display. The evening ended with a Bollywood-style dance party.

 


Healing Mandala Clinic - raising money for Tong-Len - 4th October 2005

Two young women, Anna and Elyse, both qualified natural therapists, have offered their skills to raise money for Tong-Len. The 'Healing Mandala Clinic', based at Yeti Trekking in McLeod Ganj, will run from the 4th October until mid November. Acupuncture, Reflexology, Thai Massage and Breathwork sessions will be available, and all proceeds will be donated to Tong-Len.
 


Tong-Len makes headline news in Contact magazine - 1st October 2005

Tong-Len's first article in McLeod Ganj's local community paper made front page news. To read the article online click here.

 


Tong-Len opens office in McLeod Ganj - 26th September 2005

Tong-Len has now opened an office in McLeod Ganj, close to the main temple. This office will provide a point of contact for volunteers, and will be the main centre for all enquiries. The office also provides a recycling service for local residents - paper, plastic, and metal are collected and donated to rubbish collectors from the Charan slum camp, who are able to gain a small income from their sale. Tong-Len soon hopes to open a small charity shop and book lending service from its office base, and is now seeking donations of books, clothes, household items, stationery, and medical supplies etc.
 


New Operations Manager - 7th September 2005

Rachel Owen (secretary of Tong-Len UK) has been seconded to work in India as their Operations Manager. She will oversee the projects and their funding and act as communications link between India and the UK.
 


His Holiness the Dalai Lama's 70th Birthday - Free Medical Care in Charan - 8th July 2005

As part of a programme of events to commemorate His Holiness the Dalai Lama's seventieth birthday, doctors from the Tibetan Delek Hospital in Dharamsala agreed to provide free medical consultation to the displaced communities of Charan. Tong-Len's tuition tent was converted into a clinic for the day. Everyone who needed medical attention was able to see a doctor and all prescriptions were given free of charge. The costs of the day were split between the Tibetan Delek Hospital and Tong-Len. The day was a big success. Tong-Len would like to build up its emergency medical fund to enable more collaborative work of this nature.

 


Make Poverty History - 2nd July 2005

Members of Tong-Len UK showed their support for the global 'Make Poverty History' campaign by joining in the official Peace March through the streets of Edinburgh. Around 225,000 people took part. Tong-Len UK organised its AGM for the 5th of July to coincide with this event.

 


Tong-Len Mandala Hostel Inauguration - 25th June 2005

Lopsang Jamyang, director Tong-Len in India, and Anna Owen, director of Tong-Len UK invited representatives and dignitaries from the local community to attend the inauguration of the Tong-Len Mandala hostel on the 25th of June. The inauguration was carried out by Professor P. Sharma, an eminent scholar and a close personal friend of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Professor Sharma praised the achievements of the children and the dedication of Tong-Len’s staff, and spoke about the importance of demonstrating ‘compassion in action’ in every aspect of daily life.
 


Photo Exhibition in Charan - 19th June 2005

Last October, Anna Owen, now director of Tong-Len UK, visited the settlement at Charan to take photographs for fundraising purposes. On the 19th of June a selection of these photographs were displayed at a special exhibition at Tong-Len’s tuition tent school. The exhibition caused great excitement among the residents.
 


Fundraising Developments - June 2005

It is now possible to donate online using your credit or debit cards. UK supporters can also donate using direct debit and give as you earn. In addition to car boot sales and stands a various festivals, Tong-Len UK is now running an eBay shop, and welcomes donations of saleable goods.
 


World Environment Day Celebrations - 5th June 2005

On Sunday 5th June the children from the Tong-Len Hostel participated in a special parade to celebrate World Environment Day. They learnt about Environmental issues and worked alongside their new school friends to help clean up a local park. The picture shows the sponsored children with Tong-Len’s banner which was carried with pride through the streets of Dharamsala.
 


Tong-Len Mandala Hostel now full - 4th June 2005

With twenty children sponsored and attending school the hostel is now full. We hope to open a second hostel and are directing our fundraising efforts towards this end. We would like to buy land on which we could build two hostels (one for boys and one for girls), and an adult education and skills training centre.
 


Tong-Len Tuition Tent Student Proficiency Tests - May 2005

Proficiency tests in Hindi, Maths and English have now been introduced into our tuition camp school. We are working with the Dayanand Model High School standards to prepare the children for school when the opportunity arises.
 


Mini Olympics - 23rd May 2005

Dharamsala played host to a mini Olympics on Monday the 23rd of May. All the primary school children dressed up as athletes and competed in sporting events. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the day. The photograph shows eight of the girls from the hostel. Ranjeeta takes the gold, Pinki the silver, and it is a photo finish for the Bronze.

 


Fancy Dress Day at Dayanand - 21st May 2005

On Saturday, 21st May Dayanand Model High School held a fancy dress competition for the nursery and Kindergarten classes. Twelve of Tong-Len's youngest sponsored children participated. Their costumes reflected their hopes for the future with each child dressing as the person would most like to be when they grow up. Several children dressed as doctors and nurses, but the most popular was beauty queen Miss India. The children then performed a mime of their chosen occupation before the school assembly. Four children won prizes for their performances.
 


3 New Faces at the Hostel - 19th April 2005

Kavita age 5, Suraj age 7, and Jyoti age 5 (pictured right) moved into the hostel on the 19th of April and started school shortly afterwards. The two 5 year olds are being sponsored by the primary school children of Fox Covert Roman Catholic School in Edinburgh. The Edinburgh children their families and the staff at the school are enthusiastic supporters of this interfaith project.

 


School Success - 14th April 2005

The ten pupils who attend Dayanand Model High School all finished the term with excellent results. The three kindergarten children have been promoted into second rather than first grade because of their exceptional progress.

At the school assembly at the beginning of the new term, three children - Nisha, Birju and Mamta - were presented with achievement awards, and all the children were praised by their teachers for their consistent hard work.
 


Tong-Len UK becomes a Registered Charity - 11th April 2005

Tong-Len UK was founded in January 2005 to support, primarily through fund raising, the work of Tong-Len in India. An application was made for charitable status, and we are happy to report that this has now been granted (Scottish registration number SC036383).
 


A New Tent and a New Teacher - 7th April 2005

Tong-Len continued to offer basic education classes in Hindi and English to the residents of Charan homeless camp throughout the winter months. However, the harsh weather and subsequent flooding badly damaged the flimsy temporary shelter used for this purpose. A new classroom was desperately needed, and through the generous donation of a supporter we have been able to purchase a larger and more substantial tent.

We also have a new teacher, Shankar Bhopta, pictured with the children in the new more conducive school-like environment. Shankar has very rapidly established an excellent rapport with his pupils. We continue to be grateful to the volunteers from various parts of the globe who come to help in this important aspect of Tong-Len's work. We are also indebted to the teachers of Fox Covert RC primary school in Edinburgh for their promise to support Shankar through a sponsorship scheme.

 


Tong-Len Welcomes 6 New Children - March 2005

During March, six more children joined the ten children already resident in the hostel. Their names are Savita, Sarika, Renu, Ranjeeta, Sunny, and Vijay. The photo shows all sixteen children, and was taken on a picnic outing.

The new children are settling well in their new environment. The hostel teachers are preparing them for formal schooling, which we expect to start at the beginning of the next term. The hostel staff and volunteers are also ensuring that there are ample opportunities for play which has helped them to develop friendships with the other children.

 


Indian Finance Minister Announces Pro-poor Reforms - 1st March 2005

On the 24th February, the Indian finance minister, Palaniappan Chidambaram unveiled a plan for increased spending on healthcare and primary education in India's budget for 2005-6. Following steady growth in the country's economy in recent years, Chidambaram stated that given its resilience "...it is possible to launch a direct assault on poverty".

Primary education is set to receive $1.6bn, while $2.35bn is earmarked for healthcare. The government will also be investing in infrastructure and job creation, and introducing tax reforms aimed at benefiting the poor.

Tong-Len welcomes such reform, and hopes that increased investment in the livelihoods of the poor and marginalised will enable displaced communities to enter fully into India's future.
 


Opening of Children's Hostel - 9th February 2005

Our team in Dharamsala celebrated the lunar new year with the opening of our first children's support hostel. On the 9th of February ten children moved into their new home. To mark this occasion we held a dinner party for parents, children, teachers, and volunteers. It was a great success. Some parents were very emotional on leaving their children but sincerely thanked Tong-Len for presenting this opportunity that would certainly improve their children's future.

We would like to say a big thank-you to the Mandala Trust and our teachers, supporters and volunteers for making this possible.

Over the next few months we plan to gradually introduce up to 10 more children. We hope to ensure that there is minimal disturbance and that the children are settled and happy in the hostel. The selection process for the next ten children is already underway. The children will be selected from their class in the camp on the basis of progress made over the past few months.


 


Teacher employed to work in Dharamsala camp - 1st January 2005

When Tong-Len began teaching in the Charan homeless camp a few months ago classes were held out in the open on an old piece of tarpaulin stretched out over the dry earth. We relied entirely on the good will of our volunteers who taught basic English reading and writing skills.

In November 2004 thanks to the efforts of a group of students from the USA a tent was built on the site for use as a classroom space and as a communal area for the entire community.

On the 1st of January 2005 we recruited a Hindi speaking teacher. Vijay teaches Hindi, English and Math(s) every weekday from 2pm - 4pm in the classroom tent. His classes are open to children of all ages and abilities. There are usually around 30 children in attendance. A Tong-Len volunteer acts as classroom assistant.

Thank-you to the teachers of Fox Covert RC Primary School, Edinburgh who have agreed to sponsor this project.
 


Tong-Len becomes a Registered Charity in India - 13th December 2004

Thank-you to everyone involved in supporting our efforts to register as a charity in India. Our application was approved on the 13th of December. Tong-Len is Charity No. 16284.