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

Hostel and Tent School children celebrate Christmas -  24 December 2010

Health Team from GSK R&D Visit to Charan -  15 November 2010

Message from the Directors of Tong-Len -  October 2010

Hostel children and staff celebrate Gandhi Day -  2nd October 2010

Baby Sangeeta makes good progress -  October 2010

Hostel children have audience with His Holiness The 17th Karmapa -  15th September 2010

Tent school children visit Gopalpur Zoo -  1st September 2010

The children celebrate Independence Day -  15th August 2010

Hostel children perform for His Holiness the Dalai Lama at his 75th birthday celebrations  -  6th July 2010

Thanks Day  -  2nd July 2010

Memorial stained glass window for Michael goes on show in Swansea  -  June 2010

First Shower in Charan  -  May 2010

Baby Sangeeta finds refuge in Tong-Len office  -  May 2010

23 Hostel children successfully sit promotion exams  -  April 2010

20 Children from the Tent School start Government School  -  April 2010

Support from Rotary Edinburgh Breakfast Club for Tong-Len  -  April 2010

Renu and Ranjeeta get top positions in State Board Examinations  -  13th April 2010

Hostel children's success in school examinations  -  13th April 2010

The children celebrate the end of the school exams by exercising mind and body on Mount Triund  -  10th April 2010

Tong-Len launches French web site  -  April 2010

Hostel children take educational tour of the Taj Mahal and Delhi sights -  26th to 30th March 2010

Hostel children give puppet theatre show in Charan to promote awareness of domestic violence issues -  25th March 2010

First Toilets in Charan  -  15th March 2010

New Location and Tent for the Nursery  -  9th March 2010

Tong-Len Hostel Day  -  9th February 2010

Republic Day Celebrations  -  26th January 2010

 


Hostel and Tent School children celebrate Christmas - 24 December 2010

hostel children celebrate Christmas 2010

The hostel children are always keen to explore and learn about different cultural experiences. The children enjoy learning about different traditions. On the 24th of December the hostel children celebrated Christmas in the hostel.  Several guests attended and the hostel children participated in party activities such as cooking competitions. The food was delicious and as they had been participating in cooking lessons on their Sunday holidays they were able to show off their skills. The children were also very grateful to receive presents from sponsors and supporters of Tong-Len.

Christmas celebrations in the Charan education tents were also very enjoyable and gifts were distributed to the students from the kind donations of supporters and the hostel children.

See the video of the celebrations here.

 

 

 


Health Team from GSK R&D Visit to Charan  - 15 November 2010

A team of 38 Indian people from GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) R&D, Gurgaon, visited Charan on 15 November to help Tong-Len in running a general clinic and health awareness seminars. In the GlaxoSmithKline team were doctors and health workers including those who specialised in the care of mothers and children. GSK is a world-leading pharmaceuticals company dating back to 1700 and with a presence in every corner of the world. About 250 people from Charan attended the day's programme. The community was divided into three groups who attended a number of seminars in turn - awareness of health and hygiene, mother and baby care, daily diet, immunization and domestic violence. At the end of the day the company donated boxes of Horlicks, biscuits and some towels and soap for use by the tent school children. Everyone in the group was impressed by Tong-len’s projects and some of them also expressed an interest in the child sponsorship programme.

The team stayed at a local hotel, Club Mahindra, during the time of their visit. Club Mahindra generously provided a meal for the children in the tuition tents which the children enjoyed a great deal. The hotel plans to donate meals in the future. Tong-Len is delighted that this important visit from a major multinational company has helped to generate local interest in its work.

 

 


Message from the Directors of Tong-Len  - October 2010

Tong-Len Newsletter October 2010

Thank you for your interest in and support for the work of Tong-Len.

In the last 6 months there have been some exciting developments particularly within the slum settlements at Charan.  We have two shower blocks, one for men and one for women, each with four shower taps.  The water for the showers is heated by a solar panel.  There are now four Indian teachers employed in the tuition tents and two Charan ladies are employed in the hygiene project.  All the children are given a shower before attending classes. The tent schools have continued to be well attended, with an average of 70 children coming to the morning sessions and 50 to the afternoon sessions. The morning sessions in the primary tent provide elementary education in Hindi, English and Numeracy, whilst in the nursery tent the very young children learn through educational play. In the afternoon sessions the children follow a structured primary school curriculum, with the children divided into 3 classes according to ability.

The mobile health clinic has provided a regular service to 6 slum camps in the Kangra valley with more than 5,000 patients having been treated. In addition to the general clinics, there are specialist clinics for the under-5s, pre-natal and post-natal clinics and vaccination clinics. Family planning advice is regularly given in one-to-one contacts with the families. A wide range of health awareness events have been held.

One disappointment is that of the 20 children who started government school in April, only 5 have continued to attend regularly. The reasons for this include families moving to other areas in search of work, ill health, books and uniform being lost/destroyed, lack of encouragement and support from the family, and pressure to return to begging and rubbish collection to assist family income. It is evident that the majority of the Charan children need the support of a caring hostel environment if they are to succeed in school.

The hostel children have done really well yet again, with 23 of them being allowed to jump a year because of their excellent examination results.

The new hostel building is progressing well with all the seismic safety measures in place.  It is expected that the 2 storey building will be ready for occupation by July 2011. We still hope it will be possible to commit to a 3rd floor, but for this we have to raise another £40,000. We need to give the go ahead by early next year if it is to be part of the present construction process. If we have to delay then the cost of the 3rd floor will be considerably more, and also it will be more difficult to continue building when the hostel is occupied.  If anyone can help with any fund raising activities over the next 2-3 months it would be greatly appreciated. Tong-len subscribes to Just Giving (http://www.justgiving.com/tong-len) , which you can use to create your own page for any fundraising event, big or small – it all helps!

With all good wishes and Tashi Delek

Anna and Jamyang

 

 


Hostel children and staff celebrate Gandhi Day  - 2 October 2010

Hostel children and staff celebrate Gandhi Day

The 40 hostel children accompanied by the hostel staff, volunteers and Gareth and Anna Owen from Tong-Len UK celebrated Gandhi Day with a picnic outing to Kangra.

Rinku and Nisha spoke in both English and Hindu about the life and work of Mahatma Gandhi and Jamyang gave a lesson about the teachings of Gandhi and the importance of non violent communication which includes non only physical non violence but the absence of all bad feeling towards others.

The children enjoyed competitions and team sports, proudly wearing their new Tong-Len sports strips.

 


Baby Sangeeta makes good progress  - October 2010

Baby Sangeeta makes good progress

Baby Sangeeta, who has been cared for by the office and health team staff for more than six months, has made excellent progree. At 19 months she weighed only 3 kg. Now, thanks to the loving care of the Tong-Len staff and a nutricious diet supplemented by vitamens, she weighs 5.5 kg, is bright and alert, and is beginning to walk and communicate. It is hoped that she will soon be able to be returned to the care of her mother. Sangeeta is one of five infants who were identified in the under 5's clinics as being at extreme risk. All five have been part of a special creche within the Tong-Len office. Besides the care given by the professional team, one of the mothers from the Charan slum has been employed to help in the creche.

For more information about Tong-Len's health work see the video.

 


Hostel children have audience with His Holiness The 17th Karmapa  - 15th September 2010

The hostel children were granted a private audience with His Holiness The 17th Gyalwang Karmapa on the 15th September. He is the head of the Kagyu lineage in Tibetan Buddhism. The children were able to talk to His Holiness about their lives and His Holiness expressed his desire to help Tong-Len in its work.

 


Tent school children visit Gopalpur Zoo  - 1st September 2010

Tent school children visit Gopalpur Zoo

The regular attenders at the morning sessions of the tent school were given a special treat. The tent school staff arranged a visit to Gopalpur zoo, about 30 kilometres from Dharamsala. There was great excitement as the children had their first every experience of seeing animals such as the Himalayan black bear, leopards, asiatic lions, barking deer, hog deer, red foxes, sambhar and angora rabbits.

The morning sessions of the tent schools are intended primarily for the under 5s although older children are able to join in the activities when they are in the camp. Classes take place in two tents, one for the very young children who have opportunities for educational play and one for the slightly older ones who follow a pre-school curriculum designed to develop the skills they will need when they start more formal learning.

The afternoon sessions, which begin when children return to the camp after whatever activities they have been engaged in during the day, follow the standard primary school curriculum. The children are divided into three classes according to ability.

See the tent school video here.

 

 


The children celebrate Independence Day  - 15th August 2010

The children celebrate Independence Day

The hostel children celebrated Independence Day on the 15th August. Mrs Chouhan, past Principal of Dayanand Model High School and the person who was instrumental in accepting the children from Charan Khad into full time education at the school in 2005, gave a party for the children in the hostels. The children organised quizes, dances, dramas and songs and held a poem competition between the boys and the girls.

 


Hostel children perform for His Holiness the Dalai Lama at his 75th birthday celebrations  -  6th July 2010

Hostel children perform for His Holiness the Dalai Lama at his 75th birthday celebrations

The hostel children were invited to perform for His Holiness the Dalai Lama at his 75th birthday celebrations. This really was a momentous occasion for Tong-Len. His Holiness expressed his sincere and ongoing support for Tonk-Len. He was especially supportive of the continued achievement of the children under Tong-Len’s education programmes. See the video of the children's performance here.

 


Thanks Day  -  2nd July 2010

Thanks Day July 2nd 2010

This year approximately 300 people attended the Tong-Len Thanks Day. Representatives of the office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, local dignitaries and other supporters joined members of the Charan community in the celebrations. Everyone enjoyed the performances of the children from the hostels and from the tent schools. Films were also shown of Tong-Len's projects and the achievements made during the year. You can see a video of the dance performances on the Tibet TV website at http://www.tibetonline.tv/videos/169/tibetonlinetv-news-july-2-2010 .

 


Memorial stained glass window for Michael goes on show in Swansea  -  June 2010

Stained glass window in memory of Michael Blakey

Mary Hayman, a graduate of the Welsh School of Architectural Glass and a member of Michael's church in Swansea, has designed and produced this beautiful stained glass memorial window.This window will have pride of place in the main entrance to the new hostel building. Mary travelled to Dharamsala to visit Tong-Len's projects and find inspiration for the window's design. She worked both in the tent schools and with the hostel children. The hand is taken from the children's drawings and is reaching out to help, demonstrating compassion in action. At the centre of the hand is the Buddhist Dharma Wheel, which is also the Tong-Len logo. For the month of June the window has been on display in the National Waterfront Museum, Swansea.

 


First Shower in Charan  -  May 2010

First shower in Charan

The hygiene project has taken another step forward through the provision of a shower. Cristina from the Energee Association has been working with Tong-Len. With her help and financial support from the Energee Association we have been able to create a shower with two cubicles, one for men and one for women, and also a space for laundry. Solar energy is used to heat the water and to provide light.

 


Baby Sangeeta finds refuge in Tong-Len office  -  May 2010

Baby Sanjeeta finds refuge in Tong-Len office

The office staff have been looking after a baby from Charan. Sangeeta is about 19 months but weights only 3 Kg. The health team have been following this baby since she was five months old. The mother of this baby gave birth to another baby three weeks ago. Sangeeta has needed intensive care and nutritional supplements. She is now making some progress.

 


23 Hostel children successfully sit promotion exams  -  April 2010

23 hostel children successfully sit promotion exams

Promotion exams were held in Dayanand Model High School to select children whose educational prgress was such that they could jump a year. All the 11 kindergarden children were promoted to class 2. Mamta Devi, Rohit, Rano and Ajay were promoted from class 1 to class 3. Poonam, Nisha Devi, Kishan, Suraj and Naresh were promoted from class 3 to class 5, and Ranjeeta, Renu and Vishal were promoted from class 5 to class 7. Congratulations to all!

 


20 Children from the Tent School start Government School  -  April 2010

20 children from the tent school start government school

The new developments of clean water, nutrition and emphasis on hygiene has enabled 20 children to be accepted into a local government school. The teachers in Tong-Len's tent schools provide extra support for these children when they return to the camp. If this pilot project is successful it is hoped that more children will have the opportunity to benefit from full time education.

 


Support from Rotary Edinburgh Breakfast Club for Tong-Len  -  April 2010

Edinburgh Rotary Breakfast Fundraising Event

We are delighted that Edinburgh Rotary Breakfast Club decided to support Tong-Len as its overseas charity this year. Brigid Whoriskey, one of the Tong-Len UK trustees, gave a presentation at the fundraising breakfast organised by the club on the 28th April. This raised £1500 for Tong-Len. This money is being used to support the work in Charan slum camp and has provided the funding for the new teacher in the tent school.

 


Renu and Ranjeeta get top positions in State Board Examinations  -  13th April 2010

Ranjeeta and Renu receive awards for their success in the March 2010 state-run Board Examination coming in 2nd and 3rd positions

Congratulations to Renu and Ranjeeta! As well as coming 1st and 2nd in their class, they also came 2nd and 3rd in the Dharamsala section of the State Board examinations in which 8,000 children participated.

 


Hostel children's success in school examinations  -  13th April 2010

23 children win prizes for their success in the March 2010 examinations

On the 13th April, their school annual function day, 23 of the hostel children were awarded prizes for coming in the top positions in their end of year examinations.

 


The children celebrate the end of the school exams by exercising mind and body on Mount Triund  -  10th April 2010

yoga on Mount Triund

On the 10th of April all the hostel children hiked up Mount Triund, the mountain that overlooks Dharamsala. They were accompanied by two sponsors from France, Magali and Florence, as well as hostel staff. The children were excited about camping overnight especially as this was the first time that the younger children had been allowed to do this. Magali, a professional yoga teacher, had given yoga lessons to the children during the previous week. A further yoga lesson was given by Magali on the top of the mountain. The children considered this a wonderful way to celebrate their achievement.

 


Tong-Len launches French web site  -  April 2010

Tong-Len launches French web site

From the outset, Tong-Len has had a number of French supporters. Largely due to the efforts of Annie Benard (annie@tong-len.org) this number has increased considerably over the last few months. Annie took on the task of translating the web site into French and this is now operational. The language can be selected on the home page. Annie has also registered Tong-Len as a charity in France, registration number W061001498.

 


Hostel children take educational tour of the Taj Mahal and Delhi sights -  26th to 30th March 2010

Hostel children in front of the Taj Mahal in March 2010

Jamyang and Navita took 15 of the more senior hostel children on an educational tour of Delhi and Agra. The children had a fantastic time and were amazed by the sights they saw. They have written their own report on their experiences which can be viewed here.

 


Hostel children give puppet theatre show in Charan to promote awareness of domestic violence issues -  25th March 2010

hostel children give puppet theatre show in Charan camp

The hostel senior children created a puppet theatre with help from Tong-Len volunteers, Sophie, Will and Roger. The children prepared stories based on those explored in the Theatre of the Oppressed (see the October 2009 news item by clicking here) with the emphasis this time on making people aware of issues surrounding domestic violence. On the 25th March the children gave a performance of their puppet theatre show in Charan camp when more than 200 people participated. The children plan to use the tool of puppet theatre for future awareness campaigns to the Charan community.

 



First Toilets in Charan  -  15th March 2010

Toilet for tent school installed in March 2010

For a long time Tong-Len has been concerned about the complete lack of sanitation in the Charan settlement. Until now requests to allow us to install even basic composting toilets have been refused. Permission has now been given to erect two toilets to be used by the children attending the tent schools. If this proves successful we hope it may be possible to provide further facilities. 

 



New Location and Tent for the Nursery  -  9th March 2010

New Nursery Tent installed in Charan in March 2010

Due to a shortage of space it has been necessary to relocate the nursery tent. We have been allowed to use space on the far side of the primary tent. The nursery tent was in a bad state of repair and the opportunity was taken during the move to replace it. We are grateful for the support of the Institute of Village Studies towards this and also to the help we were given by individual students.

 



Tong-Len Hostel Day  -  9th February 2010

Hostel Day 9th Feb 2010

The first Tong-Len hostel opened on 9th February 2005. To celebrate the 5th anniversary the children prepared speeches for the staff and supporters. Some children were quite emotional in their recounts of the changes they have experienced. They decided it was also a day to celebrate Jamyang's birthday. As is common in Tibetan culture, Jamyang has no knowledge of the actual date of his birth.

If you want to how the children's lives have been changed, see the short video they prepared here.

 

 



Republic Day Celebrations  -  26th January 2010

Hike on Republic Day 25th Jan 2010

26th January 1950 is one of the most important days in Indian history as it was on this day the constitution of India came into force and India became a truly sovereign state. In this day India became a totally republican unit. The country finally realized the dream of Mahatma Gandhi and the numerous freedom fighters who, fought for and sacrificed their lives for the Independence of their country. So, the 26th of January was decreed a national holiday and has been recognized and celebrated as the Republic Day of India, ever since.

Republic Day is a National Holiday. The older hostel children chose to celebrate their day off school by hiking up Triund, the mountain overlooking Dharamsala, from where there are magnificent views of the Dhauladhar range of the Himalayas.