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:

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