The Tuition Tents - see the video here
Tong-Len's primary and nursery tuition tent schools operate every weekday within the Charan slum camp. These provide free accessible education to children who could not otherwise go to school because of lack of money or work and family commitments. Classes are taught by Indian teachers with help from volunteers.
In the primary tent, children of school age learn Hindi, Maths, Environmental Studies and Art. The curriculum has been developed specifically for these children. However, since it is based on the local schools' curriculum, children can easily transfer to a formal full-time education should the opportunity arise.
The nursery programme for the younger children offers educational play activities, instruction in Hindi and English alphabets, and numeracy. The children also learn songs and games. For most of these youngsters it is the first time they have ever had the chance to play with toys. Especially popular are creative activities such as drawing and plasticene. Most of the children attending had never previously held a pencil or crayon. Although initially puzzled as to what to do, they are now enthusiastically making pictures and are delighted to show them to their families.
Through funding from His Holiness the Dalai Lhama Trust, the children receive a nutritious midday meal. This is cooked within the camp and served in the primary tent.
For many years the Charan Khad communities have had no easy access to water. 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. The project was largely funded by the Energee Association (www.energee.org). This has enabled us to introduce a hygiene programme. In the early morning the children are collected from around the camp and taken to the wash basins where they learn how to wash themselves prior to attending the tuition tents.