Tong-Len Charitable Trust - Compassion in Action: charity based in dharamsala supporting displaced communities in Himachal Pradesh, India. Compassion in Action
 

John and Sharan Brown set off on their 'Half Way Around the World' Motorbike trip in aid of Tong-Len  -  26th December 2009

Christmas Carols at Edinburgh Airport in support of Tong-Len  -  15th December 2009

Children's Day
  -  21st November 2009


New Hostel Building  -  October 2009

Drama Project -  October 2009

Children's Art Competition -  September 2009

Child Education and Nutrition Project  -  August 2009

Fresh Drinking Water Flows in Charan Camp – August 2009

Hostel Children perform for His Holiness the Dalai Lama's Birthday - 4th July 2009

Tong-Len Thanks Day - 2nd July 2009

Circus Project - May/June 2009

His Holiness the Dalai Lama receives all the Tong-Len hostel children and staff in private audience - 14th May 2009

Running for Tong-Len - April 2009

Crawshaw School Staff visit Tong-Len - April 2009

29 Hostel Children win Top Awards - April 2009

Mobile Health Clinic Update - March 2009

Tong-Len children get top places in Art competition - 15th February 2009

Rinku and Nisha receive an award from The Director of the Board of Education in Himachal Pradesh - 8th January 2009

 



John and Sharan Brown set off on their 'Half Way Around the World' Motorbike trip in aid of Tong-Len  -  26 December 2009

John and Sharan Brown depart on their Half Way Around the World trip in aid of Tong-Len

John and Sharan Brown set off on their trip on Boxing Day from the UK. They will be travelling through France and Corsica and then on to Italy. After this they plan to travel the length of Africa and then on to the USA. Their route then takes them through Central America, Ecuador, Peru and Chile, finally ending up in Ushaia, Argentina - the southernmost city in the world. Their trip will take in 23 countries in four continents. We all wish John and Sharan a safe and wonderful trip. Tong-Len is hugely grateful for the money they will be raising for Tong-Len from this challenging enterprise. Help them raise their target for Tong-Len by visiting their JustGiving web page at http://www.justgiving.com/halftheworldbikeride . See the route plan on their facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/photo.php?pid=2774&id=100000131282003 .

 



Christmas Carols at Edinburgh Airport in support of Tong-Len  -  15th December 2009

Carol Singing at Edinburgh Airport in aid of Tong-Len

Once again, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, sang Christmas carols to raise money for Tong-Len. This time it was at Edinburgh airport. Money was donated as travellers arrived in Scotland from around the world.

Tong-Len thanks everyone who in 2009 supported Tong-Len through sponsorships and regular donations and through raising money through special events such as this one.

 



Children's Day  -  21st November 2009

Children's Day 2009

The hostel children celebrated 'Children's Day' on the 21st November by watching a song and dance performance by each member of the Tong-Len staff. On the day before, the children in Charan Khad enjoyed a games competition on a piece of land that has recently been cleared for regular use during the period of the daily ' tent school' classes

 



New Hostel Building  -  October 2009

Group meet to discuss construction of new hostel building

A start has been made on the foundations off the new hostel. To ensure that the construction conforms to the very highest safety standards including the most up to date earthquake codes, Tong-Len invited a seismic specialist, Dr Rao of the Central Building Research Institute in Roorkee, to meet with the Tibetan constractor, Lobsang Therchin, and the Australian architect, Ryan Strating of Core Collective, who with his partner, Dr Ceridwen Owen, is giving his time freely to this project. Lobsang Jamyang, Director of Tong-Len Charitable Trust, Tong-Len UK Director, Anna Owen, and Tong-Len Treasurer, Professor Gareth Owen were also present for these meetings.

 



Drama Project  -  October 2009

Hostel children receive training in Theatre of the Oppressed

A longstanding volunteer from Norway, Runa, a specialist in dramatic art, is giving the hostel children training in Theatre of the Oppressed, a method used all over the world for social change.The method was developed by the Brazilian theatre practitioner Augusto Boal, who started out working in the favelas of Rio and amongst poor people in village areas of Brazil. His techniques have spread all over the world, and in India the Theatre of the Oppressed movement is one of the world's largest.

Theatre of the Oppressed is a deeply democratic method where dialogue is everything. The hostel children will make a so-called forum play with a sad ending based on some of the various difficulties faced by the people of Charan. After performing it once, the play will start all over again, but this time the spectators have to intervene, come on stage and help the oppressed to break the oppression in a realistic, non-violent way. A forum play is a rehearsal for real life, and it is hoped that through participating in it the 'spect-actors' will help each other see more options when they face the same difficulties in their own reality.

The children regularly use the medium of drama to educate their families and other residents of the slum settlements as to the importance of health awareness and disease prevention.

 



Children's Art Competition  -  September 2009

Children's Art Competition

The older hostel children organised an art competition open to five local schools and the tent schools in Charan. The children themselves approached local businesses and individuals for sponsorship for the art materials and appropriate prizes. Running this event gave the children an insight into fundraising and helped to develop their organisational skills.

 



Child Education and Nutrition Project  -  August 2009

Child Education and Nutrition Project

Through funding from His Holiness the Dalai Lhama Trust, all the younger children in the Charan Khad camp in Dharamsala are now benefiting from a daily programme of hygiene, education and the provision of a nutritious mid day meal.  For a long time Tong-Len has been aware of the needs of the very young children in the camp, aged 1 year and upwards, who are often left unsupervised as their parents try to earn the few rupees the family needs to support its meagre standard of living.

The day begins at 9 am when the children are collected from around the camp and taken to the wash basins where they learn how to wash themselves.  This is now possible because of the plentiful supply of water made available through the water project (see the item of news immediately below this one).

From 11 am to 1 pm the children (about 100 at present) engage in active learning which includes basic Hindi, English and Arithmetic.  The children are already engaging in their activities with great enthusiasm.  All these activities take place in the primary tuition tent.  During this time, the very young children have their own activities in the nursery tent, which involve play and games with less emphasis on formal learning. At 1 pm all the children gather together for a nutritious meal of rice and mixed vegetables.  After lunch the older children have their usual lessons.

 



Fresh Drinking Water Flows in Charan Camp – August 2009

Fresh Drinking Water Flows in Charan Camp

For many years the Charan Khad communities have had no easy access to water, let alone drinkable water.  Although a connection to mains water was set up a few years ago, this was unreliable and never sufficient for their needs.  In August 2009, Tong-Len received permission from the local authority to install a submersible water pump in a disused well.  This has been connected to three water stations conveniently located which ensures that every family has access to running drinkable water throughout the day.  Storage tanks provide backup in the event of any interruption of supply.  The project was largely funded by the Energee Association  (www.energee.org).


See the video here.

 



Hostel Children perform for His Holiness the Dalai Lama's Birthday - 5th/6th July 2009

hostel children perform for His Holiness the Dalai Lama's Birthday

On Monday, the 6th of July, the children were given the opportunity to perform at the birthday celebrations for His Holiness the Dalai Lama, at the main temple. The older children performed in front of a large crowd which included many dignitaries from the Tibetan, Indian and foreign communities. The girls performed traditional Indian style dancing and the boys moved Tibetan and Indian flags to the music.

On the previous day, the children performed at a concert in TIPA (Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts Centre) in McLeod Ganj. The concert was organized to show the mix of Indian and Tibetan cultures. The small children from the hostel performed a dance which incorporated samples of dances from different cultures within India. The children were presented with a trophy at the end of the performances. The guests present at the performance were from both the Tibetan and Indian communities and included the District Commissioner, the Superintendent of Police, the Chairman of the Himachal Pradesh Board of Education, and the Tibetan Parliament Speaker.

 



Tong-Len Thanks Day - 2nd July 2009

Hostel children learning circus skills

On Thursday, the 2nd of July, the hostel children performed dances, drama and showed off their circus skills to a crowd of approximately 250 people at Tong-Len's fourth annual Thanks Day. Over 100 people from Charan joined members from the local community for this event. The Tibetan Settlement officer, who has been the link and contact for our communications since learning of His Holiness’ wish to support our programmes, also attended. The officer spoke in Hindi at the end of the programme, expressing support for Tong-Len’s work, and presented the children with gifts.

Local press reporters also came to the function. Many articles have appeared in the local newspapers since the Thanks Day. The reporters interviewed the parents and the families of the hostel children. The articles show that the parents were proud and emotionally responsive to their children’s development and talent.

 



Circus Project - May/June 2009

Hostel children learning circus skills

Tong-Len was delighted to welcome Chris and Alex, two skilled circus performers. They have given two months of their time to work with the children in the hostels and the camp teaching them skills that are good for mind and body. In addition to providing entertainment, circus is now widely recognised as having a place in education, promoting strength, concentration, stamina, flexibility, confidence, dexterity, balance and team work. For more information on the project visit http://tonglencircus.blogspot.com/ .

 



His Holiness the Dalai Lama receives all the Tong-Len hostel children and staff in private audience - 14th May 2009

Tong-Len children and staff have audience with His Holiness on the 14th May

Since its conception, Tong-Len has been eager to meet with His Holiness the Dalai Lama and receive his blessings for the children and the projects. On May 14th 2009 Tong-Len’s wishes were granted. All the hostel children and the Tong-Len staff were invited to His Holiness’s monastery for a private audience. The meeting took place in the garden area of His Holiness’s residence. He spoke to the children, asked about their background and families, and encouraged them to work hard at their studies. He also expressed a desire to do something to help the children living in the Charan settlement.

Tong-Len was invited to submit a proposal to His Holiness’s private office for consideration for funding. The proposal submitted extends the tent school programme to include morning activities, particularly for the under fives, and also the provision of a nutritional midday meal prior to the start of the more formal afternoon educational programme. We have now heard that the proposal is approved in principle.

 



Running for Tong-Len - April 2009

Tom Hasings running for Tong-Len

Tom Hastings, previously a volunteer with Tong-Len in Dharamsala, went all out to bring in funds for the new hostel by running in the Paris Marathon on April 5th, raising almost £2000.   This was a magnificent effort, and we are very grateful to Tom and all who sponsored him. We would also like to take this opportunity to thank Chris Wallace and his sponsors for the money raised through running in The Great North Run this year and in 2008, and to everyone else who has given generously of their time, energy and effort in sponsored events, large and small, to support Tong-Len’s work.

 



Crawshaw School Staff visit Tong-Len - April 2009

29 of the hostel children win top awards at school

The hostel children were delighted to see Steve Smyth, teacher at Crawshaw School, and his friend Colin Mawhinney with his fourteen year old daughter. when they visited the hostel in April.

Crawshaw School is a long term supporter of Tong-Len. The pupils currently sponsor 8 of the hostel children to attend school.

 



29 Hostel Children win Top Awards - April 2009

29 of the hostel children win top awards at school

29 of the 40 hostel children have won top awards from their school because of their recent end of year examination performance. This wonderful achievement is due both to the children's hard work and the dedication of the staff of the hostel who help them with their studies.
 

 



Mobile Health Clinic Update - March 2009

The staff of the mobile health clinic have completed a survey of other slum communities in the Kangra valley. They have visited homes and held health clinics in these communities. Common problems are lack of access to clean water, no sanitation facilities and no means to dispose of waste, all of which are contributing to the poor health of the families living there. Most of the children have not been vaccinated and also suffer from anaemia. Tong-Len has now started a programme of vaccinations amongst children in these neighbouring communities working alongside the local government. Clinics both for adults and special under-5 clinics have been held in Nagrota and Palampur. This work is being carried out in collaboration with the local government medical officers. General health clinics have also taken place in Jawalamuckhi and Chintpurni with the help of volunteer doctors. Tong-Len is continuing its regular health clinics in the slum settlement of Charan Khad in Dharamsala. Special attention is also being given to the needs of pregnant women through advice and vaccinations. The mobile health clinic is supported by Rotary International and in particular by the Rotary Clubs of Dharamsala and Greenville Noon, USA.

 

 



Tong-Len children get top places in Art competition - 15th February 2009

Tong-Len children get top places in Art competition

Children from the Tong-Len hostels took the first three places in a competition organised by a local company, Amway. Vijay took the first prize and Naresh and Vishal came in second and third places respectively.

 

 



Rinku and Nisha receive an award from The Director of the Board of Education in Himachal Pradesh - 8th January 2009

Rinku receiving award from the Director of the Board of Education Nisha receiving award from the Director of the Board of Education

The Director of the Himachal Pradesh Board of Education presented an award to Rinku and Nisha at a ceremony in Dharamsala on the 8th January for their exceptional examination results. They have also been promoted to Class 7 because of their term 2 results.