Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Tong-Len Charitable Trust: Fighting poverty by aiding the homeless children in India

In Dharamsala, India, the home of the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government in exile, a Tibetan monk from Sera Monastery has founded a charitable organization dedicated to helping the children of homeless beggars in India. He came across this idea after seeing children rummaging for food among refuse at a garbage dump, eating leftovers that would be considered inedible by any person under normal conditions. Moved by compassion, he began feeding a few of the children every day, but then became aware of other communities of beggars where the children were in even worse shape than those he had seen. He then established the Tong-len Charitable Trust, a program that takes the homeless children of beggars and offers them education, as well as offering compensation to their families (who would otherwise use them to beg for money) and engaging in other activities to promote systemic change to fight poverty, one child at a time, in India.

According to international organizations such as the World Bank, around two billion people in the world live in poverty, if one defines that as earning under $2 a day, and one billion live in extreme poverty, defined at less than $1 a day. According to UNICEF, thirty to forty thousand children die each day of starvation. When thinking about how to address such deep and troubling problems, the issues can seem staggering, but Ven. Jamyang and his supporters at Tong-Len are tackling the problem in the only way that is truly practicable: by taking action and helping individual children in an individual area one child and one family at a time. If more people look to his example and start more organizations like this, that would be a major step towards addressing this terrible situation.

Here's the link to their website:

Women's World Cup

Fantastically, ESPN is broadcasting all the games from this year's Women's World Cup in Germany. The quality of the soccer thus far has been very good; as well as the quality of the refereeing, the stadia, etc. And ESPN is doing a good job with coverage, with comments and interviews by Viola Odebrecht, Julie Foudy, Cat Whitehill, and others.

At present, women's professional soccer in the US is struggling with only 6 clubs left in the WPS (Women's Professional Soccer) league; it seems two teams on average are folding every year, and at that rate, the league is not going to last long, which is a real shame. My own team, the Atlanta Beat, had an incredible international squad last year, but still finished last, and due to budgetary reasons the squad and staff have been decimated, so that we're operating on a skeleton set-up at the moment (and are in last place, with one win in twelve games). There are rumors that the Puma sponsorship is being withdrawn from WPS (or discontinued), which is again a bad sign for the league. It's going to take a while to establish women's professional soccer in the US, so I hope the WPS will survive for a few years more, but the economics of it are tough. It's important that owners not look for a quick turnaround in profits, but take a long-term view with the best interests of the women's game in mind. Hopefully the USA will go far in this year's Women's World Cup, and that will go some small way to promoting women's professional soccer in this country.

My favorite player in the WWC thus far: Louisa Necib (Olympic Lyon), the women's game's "Zinedine Zidane" (like him, she's of Algerian descent and is from Marseilles). A very nice and skilfull player to watch!